Ocha Japanese Restaurant
Review by Monica
Although Ocha has been awarded One Chef's Hat by this year's team at The Age Good Food Guide, their status has definitely not gone to their head. This unassuming, blink and you'll miss it Japanese restaurant is perched at the end of Pakington Street in Kew.
Decor is simple and understated. Tables are covered with Ocha's stamped fish logo on butcher paper that rests on white starched tablecloths. With only 10 tables which seat a maximum of four people, the ambience is relaxed and calm - the perfect prelude for a taste of modern Japanese cuisine and service from Yasu, Michelle, Paul and the Ocha team.
Ocha prides itself on bringing out the best in quality, fresh local produce that is best enjoyed when different tastes and textures are shared among friends in a banquet-style meal which is the highlight of the Ocha experience.
Upon ordering my staple Japanese beverage of plum wine, my dining partner and I were treated to an octopus seaweed salad, a perfect appetiser to influence my course choices as I perused the menu.
With caviar on the specials board, I tried the Salmon Caviar Sushi ($5.50 a piece). Slowly picking each bead of caviar hoping that it wouldn't disappear, I decided to devour into this small delicacy and remember the lingering flavours.
Our waiter Paul was happy to suggest ordering entree sizes if we planned to share so next up was the Soft Shell Crab Roll ($15). Presentation was done to perfection with ingredients screaming with freshness. The soft shell crab was crisp and not overcooked, which many Japanese eateries tend to do.
For mains, two entree's of Teriyaki Duck ($21) and Lemon Soy Seared Scallops ($22) were ordered with the Wagyu Vegetable Hot Pot ($32) left for my re-visit. The Teriyaki Duck breast was cooked medium-rare with a hint of pink flesh and thinly sliced. Its tenderness could be enjoyed by those without chompers. Served with steamed greens, this melt-in-the-mouth duck was so far the best duck I have had.
Next up was the seared scallops in lemon soy sauce served with a rocket salad. These baby scallops were impressive little delicacies with muscles intact - a rarity these days in many restaurants. And bitterness of the rocket complimented the sweetness of the scallops to a T.
Dessert was definitely the final dish to seal this degustation. The Lemon Sugar Crepes ($12.50) were beautifully presented with a dusting of icing sugar and lemon sugar syrup and served with the creamiest of ice cream. We succumbed to Paul's description of the dessert special, and ordered the Banana Fritter ($13). Unlike the typical battered banana that is traditionally served in Chinese restaurants this banana fritter of course stood out for the better. Deep-fried in tempura batter, the banana was fried perfectly and served with fresh cream and green-tea ice-cream.
Ocha is perfect for a special night out, but it's best to book in advance, especially on Saturday nights. It's also worth noting that 6 o'clock booking need to leave by 7.45pm, which is still plenty of time to enjoy a relaxed dinner.
Lunch: Tuesday to Friday 12noon - 2:30pm
Dinner: Tuesday to Saturday 6:00 - 10:30pm
BYO: Wine only ($5 corkage per head)
Review by Monica | OnlyMelbourne Review Team
❊ Address & Contact ❊
⊜ 156 Pakington Street, Kew | Map
✆ 9853 6002
❊ Web Links ❊
→ Ocha Japanese Restaurant
→ Book Table Online
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