A young married mother of two who loves art, adventures and getting out there!! Oh, and also a good drop of red can't hurt.
Published June 16th 2012
Okay, I have a confession to make. This review is a little biased. Saporro Japanese restaurant is a local 'staple' in my diet. As someone who spent 16 years of my life being vegetarian, one would never have known based on the quantity of fresh sushi and sashimi I consume at this palatable restaurant.
I still remember when Saporro Japapense Restaurant (or Saporro's as we fondly refer to it) opened back in 2009. Yes, we were a little excited with the prospect of an actual 'semi fine dining' experience in Mitcham, but once we made that first reservation and tasted our first piece of salmon sashimi - well, we were literally hooked! Saporro's devotees ever since.
Upon entering Saporro's, there is nothing too over the top when it comes to the furnishings. A hint of Japanese decor', but spacious (spacious enough to always accommodate our pram). An exposed sushi bar where the chef prepares your sashimi adds to the ambience, and we all must admit the preparation of Japanese food in itself is a trained art. The two owners, who are there almost every night of the week, always greet us with a smile and ask how our children are, even though their English is a little sub-par.
The waitress promptly approaches us and asks us whether we have a booking, and then directs us to our seat where we find on our tables delightful little bowls of bean shoot salad. We order our drinks and entrees, Saporro beer for my husband and a house red for myself . BYO (wine only) is an option I would normally take advantage of, but tonight the house red will suffice. Tebasaki (grilled spicy chicken wings $8.80) is an entree to which we can never refuse and great for those who are sceptical about the 'raw stuff' .
Gyosa (pan fried dumplings with pork & cabbage $7.80) is another of our favourites, but tonight we weren't for the Tuna Tataki (fresh raw tuna slices with garlic and wine sauce $14.80). It is a little more than what we would normally pay for a single entree' dish, but well worth it. The dipping sauce is so very 'more-ish' and leaves such a scrumptious taste in your mouth. A perfect dish for one who is curious about trying raw fish, but doesn't know where to start. For something warm, the Croquette (Japanese style crumbed creamy vegetable potato cakes $7.80) is a nice little edition for variety. My husband orders his favourite (aka- the dish he orders every single time!) Tempura Prawn Roll (inside out seaweed rice rolls with tempura prawn $13.80 and flying fish roe). Accompanying the prawn is avocado which adds the perfect amount of creaminess to the crunch of the tempura and fish roe. On to the mains.
Generally we will order what we so fondly refer to as 'the boat', Chef's House special. The boat compromises a wide variety and selection of sushi and sashimi ranging from tuna, salmon, scallops, oysters, egg rolls and sea-weed salad on a bed of shaved carrot. The boat is more than enough for two people, even without any entrees, and is such a reasonable price for what you get at $58.00. Living so close to Box Hill (which is an area known for the Chinese, Japanese and Asian cuisine smorgasbord on offer) there are a lot of comparable restaurants that offer a similar dish. What makes this 'boat' swim, not sink, is the unparalleled freshness and affordable price. The creamy tuna and salmon morsels with the perfect amount of wasabi and ginger to accompany, is just pure indulgence. So much so that when I was pregnant, therefore unable to consume raw seafood, I actually shed tears.
Open for lunch from Wednesday to Saturday, the lunchtime menu has a lot to offer. Frequented by the local white collar businessman out to lunch, the chef selection Bento box with side of miso soup ($14.80) is a quick and tasty option, but the choices range from fresh sushi platters, sashimi to hot pots and many other varieties of cooked dishes. Vegetarian option is also available. Open every night for dinner, except Monday, Saporro's really is such a delightful and tasty place to eat, whether it be for a special occasion or a quick bite and you can also ask for the Chef's Specials menu for something different.
For those keen to try out this little wonder, make a point to book reasonably early. Yes, during the week there shouldn't be a problem, but come the weekend you have to be quick to snare a table at this treasure trove of tasty delights.
When booking for a larger group (6 plus) there can be a little waiting in between meals and the service on occasion has left a little to be desired, but in all honesty we don't frequent this restaurant for the service. The restaurant is able to house a small function of up to 80 people and offers function room hire. The language barrier does on occasion make it difficult to place an order without pointing to the menu, but I feel it is due to the fact the staff refer to the menu in Japanese rather than the English option listed beside each item.
Dessert compromises of one scoop of refreshing Green Tea ice cream. A regular serving would consist of a larger portion of ice-cream, but for my four year old daughter one scoop is enough, to which the staff are happy to accommodate. The choice between the Black Sesame and Green Tea ice-cream is always a difficult one, but tonight the Green Tea was the flavour desired.
So delightful and delectable one really is left to ponder, 'are there plenty more fish in the sea?' - I think not, Saporro's really is a 'catch' like no other.