Wednesday is normally yoga day for Bureaucrat and Snooze, but for reasons not fully explained to me this week was yoga free. So the unexpectedly available Snooze and I went wandering around fairly randomly looking for somewhere for a quick lunch and eventually settled on Kaneda Japanese Restaurant, a small and casual place in Mid City Arcade between Bourke and Little Bourke Streets.
For a small arcade restaurant I like the way Kaneda is set up. The large hanging lanterns give everything a bit of a red tint – which I don’t normally like – but I do like the way they manage to fit a comparatively large number of patrons in without it feeling overcrowded. The Japanese motifs decorating the walls felt comfortable rather than overdone and unlike most of the cheaper Chinese restaurants in that part of town it feels very clean and well run.
It’s also obviously very popular with the lunchtime crowd, with very few (if any) empty seats. Diners appeared to be mainly office workers indulging in generously sized bento boxes and noodle soups. Both Snooze and I went for a Bento, and I ordered a small serve of fried octopus balls (takoyaki) on the side.
All the bentos come with a serve of miso soup. Snooze found hers a little ordinary but I liked the way it didn’t seem as salty as most.
Snooze’s tempura bento came with two California rolls, a small spring roll, some fried chicken and rice. The tempura was nicely fried, the batter light and crisp. Excluding the prawn tempura, which she found a bit tasteless, the rest of the tempura was good with special praise for the sweet potato. The fried chicken was also good without being special, still crisp and moist but possibly a few mins out of the fryer.
My choice was the crumbed fish bento. As with the tempura the fish was nicely crumbed and fried but not as flavoursome as I might have hoped. The spring roll was good if a little small, and the fried chicken very similar to Snooze’s bento.
The reason I ordered the takoyaki was because they were up on the board as a special. Served topped with bento flakes, these were quite strongly flavoured and maybe not the best thought out combination with the more delicate tempura and crumbed fish.
A nice place to eat. While nothing made me go ‘wow’ it was nicely decorated, staff were efficient and polite, the food was good and generously proportioned and the price more than fair. The sort of place you could have as a regular favourite rather than a special occasion place, I strongly suspect I’ll be back to sample more of the menu.
Food – 7
Ambience – 7.5
Service – 7
Price – 7
Mid City Arcade, 200 Bourke Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: (03) 9663 8802