A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Published April 29th 2014
Top marks for presentation
We were looking for a place to have dinner before going to see The Rocky Horror Show at the Comedy Theatre. We had planned to eat at that Melbourne icon Stalactites Restaurant, but there was a long queue waiting to get in, and our time was limited.
So we wandered a little further down Lonsdale Street and found Meshiya Japanese Restaurant. It's an oddly shaped restaurant; a long, narrow rectangle with the kitchen placed along one of the side walls - leaving a rough square at each end of the space, and a narrow corridor, running past the kitchen/counter, joining those two squares. At the Lonsdale Street end of the restaurant, where customers were being seated, there is one large communal table (I didn't actually count how many it could seat, but I guess it is about 18), and a series of small tables. It's not a large restaurant. All the small tables were taken, so we were seated at the communal table.
There are paper lanterns running along one side of the restaurant, giving it a semi-authentic Japanese look - even if the paper lanterns are advertising a brand of soy sauce!
Inside Meshiya Restaurant
We spent a bit of time perusing the menu. There was a little bit of a wait to have our order taken; the wait staff seemed to be a slightly overwhelmed by the number of customers in the restaurant.
Dave, my partner, declared himself to be 'not very hungry', and decided to have a few small dishes. He opted for the Tofu Teriyaki ($9.80), the Seaweed Salad ($5.80) and Hana Sushi ($7.80).
I saw various versions of Bento boxes coming out, and they looked very appealing, so I decided I needed to try one. There was one Teishoku that combined two of my favourite items in Japanese cuisine - tempura vegetables, and sashimi - so that was my selection ($23.80). (Teishoku is apparently different from a bento box - but looks similar: little dishes of things including rice, miso soup and pickled vegetables). When my platter arrived, it looked amazing, and I couldn't wait to dig in! And it certainly didn't disappoint. The tempura vegetables were beautifully cooked - the batter light and crispy, and not too oily. The sashimi was quite generous, with three slices each of tuna, salmon and white fish. There was also a creamy egg custard - good texture and an interesting contrast to the other dishes.
Meshiya has an impressive saké selection. We chose Rokugou, which we were told was a suitable saké to serve warmed. Nothing like warm saké on a cool Melbourne night! It was a pleasant complement to our meal ($22).
Overall, we enjoyed the meal, and felt it was very good value for money (more so if we hadn't had the saké). The food was beautifully presented and the serves were generous. We'd happily return.