There are only a handful of authentic Japanese izakayas in the outer suburbs of Melbourne and Nishikian is definitely one of them. This izakaya's peculiar exterior is the resulting efforts of refurbishment - what was once an abandoned service station is now a blossoming restaurant. Situated on the busy Springvale Road between Forest Hill and Vermont, it is easy to get to and close to home for all those living and visiting the Eastern suburbs.
Their menu is bright, colourful and informative –reflective of those you may encounter when visiting izakayas all around Japan. Nishikian offers a diverse range of dishes from sashimi to takoyaki, ramen to hot pot you name it! you are guaranteed to find your favourite dish.
The sashimi was fresh and sliced –not too thick, not too thin and presented to perfection. One of the most important characteristics of sashimi is the arrangement and presentation of the dish. Many aspects of Japanese culture were strongly influenced by traditional garden designs, which is why it became a standard to simulate Japanese gardens by arranging thinly sliced sashimi into layering hills and the use of various garnishes to depict nature; flowers, leaves and rivers.
Although on the small side, their okonomiyaki is packed with flavour. The ingredients were well balanced to create a crispy exterior, soft gooey centre and the sauce brought it all harmoniously together.
The hot pot is good for one person or two if you like to share. There are many hot pot dishes to choose from including sukiyaki (traditional sliced beef and vegetables), gyoza nabel (dumplings in soy base), nabe udon (udon noodles and vegetables), kaisen nabe (seafood and vegetables). Ebii una ten toji (prawn and elltempura with egg) and katsu toji (crumbed chicken cutlet with egg).
Their drinks menu doesn't stop with sakes and beers (asahi, kirin, yuzu shu, plum wine) a great range of sakes and beers including asahi, kirin, yuzu shu, plum wine. There are also a range of homemade drinks including yoghurt flavoured drinks (mango, peach, melon), Calpis sodas and their original milkshakes (green tea, mango, strawberry, peach)
Desserts are important too! There is always room for dessert.
Price range per head varies depending on what you order and the number of guests on your table. On many visits we would finish with approximately $30 per head and a belly full of food. Definitely worth the visit especially when it's only a few minutes away from home.