A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Published August 23rd 2017
Thoroughly Modern Japanese Food
Already successfully operating in two locations in Perth, The Modern Eatery has now brought its unique brand of contemporary Japanese food to Swan Street, Richmond. The Modern Eatery has been operating in Melbourne for just one week, but is already turning out impressive food, with a modern take on many favourite Japanese dishes.
The decor is muted, creating a pleasant feel as we enter the restaurant. We're seated at a high table along the wall, with views to the adjacent open kitchen.
The interior of The Modern Eatery - muted decor gives a warm, inviting feel
A glance at the menu shows some old favourites - for example, there are sushi, sashimi and tempura options - but look a bit deeper and you'll see the contemporary twist that's been applied to give some of the dishes a modern take that is irresistible.
We started with Pali Pali salad (crunchy salad, sweet potato fries with sesame dressing) ($8/12). What could be exciting about a salad? Those little crunchy things on top of the salad, that look like little-fried noodles - they are actually the 'sweet potato fries'. And they are delicious! They deliver sweet little crunchy bursts of flavour with each mouthful of salad. That, along with the subtle flavours of the house made dressing, distinguish this as an 'I will come back for this' dish.
Pali-Pali salad. The 'sweet potato fries' on top are to die for!
Next up was the salmon oshi (pressed salmon with aburi sauce and sweet soy) ($16). I had seen one of the chefs applying a blow torch to trays of sushi, and that turned out to be the salmon oshi. The torching means the salmon flesh is lightly seared and caramelised, giving it a complex, slightly nutty flavour. I would have to say this is the nicest sushi I have ever tasted, and how perfect does it look on the plate?
Salmon oshi - under the blow torch before it hits the table.
The third dish we tried was musashi (hokkaido sea scallops, cucumber, kewpie mayo with aburi hiramasa king fish, topped with house made avocado sauce) ($16), each one a work of art on the plate. This was an unusual pairing of two seafoods, and while I enjoyed the texture, I felt it needed something a little extra to lift the flavour, perhaps a citrus element?
Musashi - each one a work of art on the plate
Our final savoury dish was the miyazaki chicken (deep fried chicken tempura with house made tartare and nanban sauce served with slaw) ($16). A generous size and great value for money, this was also a quality dish. The chicken had a most satisfying crunch, while remaining flake-apart tender. The accompaniments worked well to enhance the flavours.
Miyakazi chicken - a generous serve of beautifully prepared chicken
To round out the meal, there was the matcha pannacotta (with yuzu creme, white chocolate crumb, citrus segments, sherbet, meringue) ($16). This was pannacotta perfection, the gorgeous slightly wobbly texture giving way to the most beautiful subtle matcha taste. Personally, I didn't feel the white chocolate crumb was necessary, feeling it was a little too sweet, but I'm not a white chocolate fan at the best of times. Overall that didn't detract from the fact that this is a top dessert that I'd happily recommend.
Matcha pannacotta - the perfect pannacotta
There are lots of other equally delicious sounding dishes on the extensive menu, and I can't wait to go back and try some more of them!
Click here to view the full lunch menu, and here to view the full dinner menu.
The Modern Eatery is also fully licensed, with the drinks list featuring a range of local and Japanese beers, authentic sakes, Australian and New Zealand wines, and some Japanese themed cocktails. You can view the full drinks list here.
The Modern Eatery is located at 176 Swan Street, Richmond, and is open seven days for lunch and dinner. Online bookings are welcome for groups of six or more. Click here to book online, or call on (03) 9421 0089
The images in this article were taken by the writer. They are not to be reproduced in any form without the express permission of Weekend Notes.