Yogi, Foodie, Editor and Writer. I blog/edit at thescientificyogi.wordpress.com
Published March 3rd 2013
I am always on a constant search for quality Asian food that comes with a reasonable price-tag, since I am but a poor student and budding writer.
Enter Isshin Café. Located at Francis Street, Northbridge, it has been pretty nondescript as its owners had not been advertising themselves online. It is almost like a secret among the Central TAFE students, perhaps of a hush-hush nature since they may be giving up the greatest hidden Asian food spot.
Isshin Café serves Japanese food. Oops. Not by Japanese. Now, I would not flinch about this – primarily because the Asian owners have put in tremendous effort in maintaining the freshness of the food that they serve.
Isshin Cafe Menu
I walked in asking what is their best dish and I was recommended to try their chicken udon noodle. I was not sure what to expect, since the café is not run by Japanese – there are just no possible benchmarks for it!
I was blown away by the fantastic soy-soup base. It tasted what I would describe as "clean-cut" and tastes as good as a Japanese chef would have made it. The udon noodle was chewy in texture and does not look or taste like the udon you get from the nearby Asian grocers at all. And finally, the fried chicken pieces are incredibly tender and wonderfully flavoured. I asked the owner – how did you ever make the chicken so tender and well marinated? She replied that they use very fresh chicken thighs.
Ah, the simplicity of the dish is just such a winner. The dish felt home-made with Mum's goodness.
I ordered a spring roll as well. They serve it "fresh" i.e. not fried; alike a Vietnamese spring roll. The filling isn't quite what I expected. I usually have it either Vietnamese style or South-east Asian style with turnips and carrots. Isshin Café's version is made with cabbage, carrots and teriyaki chicken pieces. Again, the simplicity of what they put together astounds me. The spring roll is beautifully assembled and the dish tasted awesome.
Isshin's take on spring roll
If you are already thinking of turning up at Isshin, be sure that you plan to be there between Mondays to Fridays during office hours. The food is sold out by 3pm or so usually and the owners are insistent on having a life outside of work. I'm sure you won't be disappointed by Isshin's fusion fare at all.