Thursday, November 11, 2010

Samurai, Hawthorn by Big Fil

It sounds weird to say it, but I think I really quite everything about Samurai except the food. Not that there was anything particularly wrong with it and overall it was great value. However, some of the dishes I tried were either tendings towards mediocre or worse, particularly the entrees, so I'd put it more in the acceptable than good food class. Whether that was because I went for the super duper cheap four courses for $15 option I'm not sure. It was such good value though I wouldn't mind going back to try some more things off their menu.

Samurai is a small restaurant located on Glenferrie Road. I got there just as it opened both times so it was empty when I entered but full when I left. The customers all seemed to be locals or students (or maybe local students). The interior is cramped but I still liked it, black tables with dark red walls and a few pictures on the walls.

With the dinner deal you get to choose one of each of the soups, entrees, mains and desserts (or drink), excluding one or two of the more expensive entrees and mains. There are three soups to choose between, and I went with the miso and the chicken noodle.

The miso was its normal, somewhat salty tasting self but the chicken noodle soup was better than I was expecting. Yes, I suspect the noodles were of the packet noodle variety but hey, for $2 I didn't think it was half bad. I've certainly paid more for worse.

The entrees were a bit of a letdown though, particularly the gyoza. These had been deep fried rather than pan-fried, were nearly tasteless and had the consistency of cardboard. To be honest, these were maybe the worst gyoza I've had and I wouldn't order them again. I half suspect that they weren't cooked fresh because they came out very quickly and weren't warm as I would've expected dumplings just out of the fryer.

The takoyaki (octopus balls) were better, sweetish and light but a bit lacking in texture. Given the range of entrees is quite extensive if returning I'd probably not go for this one either but would try something different.

The mains were very much of the home cooked comfort variety, or at least the ones I tried were. Both were generous, tasty and filling. The chicken katsu don filled the large plate with the sauce (prior to being soaked up with the rice) threatening to drip off the sides.

The Omurice (omelette stuffed with rice and tomato sauce on top) was something I'd never tried before, but if anyone has seen the film Tampopo I think it's the dish the elderly tramp makes for the little boy. While hardly fine dining I could happily eat either of these dishes if hungry on a cold winters day, preferring something lighter when the weather starts getting a bit warmer.

For dessert I went for the green tea milkshake and the green tea ice cream. While the ice cream looked more the part, I preferred the milkshake. The ice cream had a slightly strange aftertaste, although that could have been because I'd just consumed a large plate of curry chicken.

I loved the green tea milkshake though. More like a thickshake than a milkshake, it appeared to use the same ice cream as the dessert just three times as much of it. Tasty bargain and I'd definitely get this again when revisiting.

A definite keeper. Exactly the sort of place you want as your local when you can't be bothered cooking - quick, cheap and acceptable quality. Even when busy the service was exceptionally quick and reasonably friendly. I didn't even find it that cramped given the number of people in such a small space. It should franchise and put MacDonalds out of business.

Food - 6.5
Service - 7.5
Ambience - 7
Price - 8

804 Glenferrie Road
Hawthorn VIC 3122
Tel: (03) 9819 4858

Samurai on Urbanspoon

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