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Saturday, 1 December 2007

double aka tombo

Recently, my family and I had the pleasure of going to aka tombo sushi bar in Prahran.
As usually, it was after a long discussion of:
Who’s hungry now?
When will we be hungry?
What do people want to eat?
Where should we eat?
How are we going to get there?
….we settled for aka tombo…I say settled because we called a number of places prior to aka tombo before we thought of it and reserved our table.

In the end, I am sure we would not have enjoyed ourselves at another restaurant as much as we did at aka tombo.

We arrived at 6pm, while the chef was still preparing his shiu-mais (or scallop dumplings with crab roe). They looked delicious so we ordered them. They were absolutely scrumptious, better than any shui-mais I have ever had… so fresh and delicate!

We then received our sushi and sashimi combination for 2 people. Kingfish, salmon, squid, prawns, tuna and unagi temaki (eel handroll)…. We ate all the daikon radish slivers, cucumber slivers, pickled pink ginger as well :P We also had kingfish sashimi with plum sauce and rocket . The flavours really complimented each other. Everything just so fresh and complimented each other. We also ordered a plate of tempura moriawase. The tempura batter was fried to perfection, very light and crispy. Have you ever had tempura with sea salt? This is what I prefer now, some places will also serve you green tea salt. Ask for it if you want to try it… completely different taste and it preserves the crispy and crunchiness of tempura.

I watched chef Kageyama prepare the sushi, the shiu-mai, tempura and sukiyaki. This guy can do everything really well… rare quality. We also saw him making a take-away teriyaki chicken on rice (whatever that's called). It smelt divine! The aromas immediately told my stomach to make room. We endeavoured to come back to aka tombo if ever the need for take-away arises.

We ended a beautifully crafted meal with brown sugar ice cream…. Delicious and so good for you :P

Makes me want to buy the ice cream machine even more!

This place has been reviewed by a lot of websites and blogs… I know I know… but I never got the chance to go there until now. I’m grateful for my sister, always reminding me of these places at the right time.

The story about aka tombo, luckily, doesn’t end here….

Thursday night I caught up with a good friend of mine, who was Japanese. She and I have never been to the newly opened aka tombo tapas and sake bar in the city, so we made an effort to go there.

Its concept is completely different aka tombo sushi bar as its name suggests. If you like sake and/or sho-chu (Japanese vodka) you will love this place. This place is quaint, and great for if you want to dine alone as well.

Service is paced so you get to enjoy your chosen liquour. Prices are reasonable… but serving is essentially tapas style ranging from $7 to $10. Lots of variety.

Between the two of us, we had:

-Two delicious slices of mentaiko with our Northern Japanese beer (can’t remember the name) and Peach Shu-Hai
-Jaki and Rocket salad with yuzu sauce
-Something similar to Takoyaki with a clear broth as its dipping sauce
-Pork giblet and gobo stew
-Kurobuta (black skin pig) katsu with mild BBQ sauce and mustard
By this time our beer and chu-hai was replaced by sho-chu and cold sake. (Many sake can be drank cold or hot, as the season goes, hot is usually drunk in winter and cold is drunk during summer)
-Ebi tempura with green tea salt

They have really transformed the place from the previous restaurant. The space is now elegant, yet funky and spacious. I love the “art work” on the wall, great DIY idea.

Both restaurants are highly recommended.

Aka tombo Sushi Bar
205 Greville St
Prahran VIC 3181
03 9510 0577

Aka tombo Tapas & Sake Bar
17 Liverpool Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
03 9654 6727

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