Monday, January 24, 2011

Shyun, Carnegie by Big Fil

I read an article a few weeks ago which made a few points about food critics that would apply equally as well, if not better, to food bloggers. One of these is that nobody can be a universal expert about all cuisines. Two of the biggest gaps in my knowledge are about Japanese and Korean food. I've never been to Japan or Korea and can't really talk about authenticity or contrast different preparation techniques. I can however talk about what I like in terms of taste and texture. And I like Shyun.

The old saying it never rains but it pours is occasionally proved right. After a lack of very good local cafes over the last few months two turn up in a week, the second even better than the first.

Shyun is a small Japanese café located just down the road from Carnegie train station. It's one of those places that nestles just on the right side between cosy and cramped, with a few specials up on the black board, some Japanese themed pictures on the wall and lots of background conversations in both English and Japanese. I particularly liked the friendly way everyone was greeted individually as they walked in the door.

The menu lists many of the most commonly available Japanese entrees around Melbourne, including agedashi tofu (deep fried tofu in broth), takoyaki (fried octopus balls with mayonnaise and benito flakes) of course gyoza. Both the takoyaki and gyoza were very good. The takoyaki were small in size and not the most visually appealing but had a good 'octopussy' flavour and avoided being overly mushy.

The gyoza were nicely flavoured and quite lightly fried on one side only, giving them a delicate texture.

On the other hand I found the agedashi tofu not as crisp as I like it on the outside, the middle a little soft, so that they disintegrated a bit when picked up. The flavours from the broth were still good though.

The chicken in the katsu don was a little dry but I stilled liked it a lot because the rice was so good. I don't know how it was prepared but the grains were large and fluffy, and really nicely flavoured. Overall not the best katsu don I've had but still better than most.

The bento box with tempura and teriyaki chicken felt a little strange when it turned up on a plate and without the box, but was still good. In particular I liked the lightly fried tempura, the prawns and vegetables both moist within their light batter coating. The chicken was also good and the other items such as the rice and dumpling were well prepared.

But best of the mains was clearly the chirashi. I counted at least 12 different types of sashimi in my bowl, including octopus, tuna, salmon, eel, prawn, scallop and a number of white fish I didn't recognise. What was particularly interesting was the difference in textures as well as flavours and appearance of the different fish. Everything tasted extremely fresh and while one of the more expensive items I felt that at $17.50 it was pretty good value.

Black sesame and green tea ice-creams are also available for dessert. These are seriously good, with the black sesame extremely smooth and the green tea lacking that slightly bitter taste you sometimes get which leads to a kind of strange tasting ice cream.

The food at Shyun was well prepared, fresh and nicely presented, the staff friendly and service quick, and the cosiness of the seating combined with the number of Japanese staff and customers gave it a really good atmosphere. I would rate it as the best Japanese café I've visited and while I don't doubt there is better Japanese food available in Melbourne, given its more than reasonable prices I'd happily recommend Shyun to anyone. Just make sure you get in before the dinner crowd starts to arrive.

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

126 Koornang Road
Carnegie VIC 3163
Tel: (03) 9569 6530

Shyun on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

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