A beautiful view of Federation Square and the city skyline, convenient central location, extensive menu, and long opening hours (Sun-Thurs noon-10pm; Fri-Sat noon-11pm) are the best aspects of Chocolate Buddha, located in the Alfred Deakin Building, Federation Square. Long communal tables make for at times interesting conversations and exchanging glances at neighbouring orders of Japanese cuisine.
Green gyoza, Chocolate Buddha
Previously a favourite place of mine (for the Unagi Don which is missing from the menu these days), I decided to ignore the recent bad reviews from friends, and revisit this popular venue.
Shake Don, Chocolate Buddha
Providing a fairly extensive menu of choice ranging from sushi/sashimi ($13-$29), Bento boxes ($17-$20), zensai ($6-$20), soup based noodle dishes ($20-$25), rice based dishes ($20-$25), and dessert ($3-$14), as well as a few vegetarian options and a separate gluten free menu, there should be something to suit most people seeking modern Japanese cuisine.
We started with vegetarian green gyoza ($10) which seemingly were double deep fried; a steamed option would have been preferred. For mains, I chose the Shake Don ($25), seared salmon with rice, nori, sesame seeds, shiso leaf and tobiko, disappointingly lacking flavour, and cold upon arrival.
My dining companion, satisfied with her selection, chose the Teriyaki Gyu Don ($22), char-grilled beef fillet served with braised onions, mixed salad, pickles and rice.
Both our mains were accompanied with a bowl of delicious white bean miso soup, pleasing to the taste and warming to the body.