After Dimmi arrived on the scene in an attempt to unify some restaurant bookings, I've been lucky enough to use 2 of their $50 vouchers. The first was at Soju Girl in Canberra and the second at Akachochin. There's only a few decent restaurants in each city that accept it and in Melbourne the pick to me seems to be this, Woodland House, The Roving Marrow, Circa and Newmarket Hotel.
After visiting Japan so many times in the past (and eventually just buying my own sashimi to cut at home from fishmongers), it has been a long time since I ate out at a non-Japan place for sushi/sashimi. There is the exception of one sushi train in Canberra on a whim, but otherwise the quality and price at restaurants doesn't seem worth it sometimes.
Nonetheless since my last Japan trip was early 2012, the sashimi cravings hit and so the booking to Akachochin was made. I haven't spent a lot of time (first real visit and second at all) along South Wharf so it was quite nice to explore somewhere new for me. It's a quiet area (on a Wednesday night) and I wonder if it exceeds to failed expectations of the Docklands as a nightlife area. I hope so.
Akachochin is misrepresented on Google Maps but it didn't take long to find. The outdoor covered area overlooking the moonlight and water is very pleasant and the overhead heaters look primed and ready to allow this during winter.
The mocktail of hot green tea with honey yuzu was a nice warming blend, heavy on the yuzu (which is good) and light on the tea.
- Hiramasa Namerou (signature Kingfish tartare with wasabi stem & moromi miso & served with rice crackers) $16 - thin crackers to place little chunks of fish flavoured with miso;
- Sashimi Moriawase $33 - 9 pieces of sashimi (3 salmon, 2 tuna, 2 kingfish, 2 snapper) served with crumbly and tempestuous wasabi and your choice on the table of tamari or standard soy. Overall I felt a bit disappointed by the price and expected perhaps toro (if lucky), more distinctive flavoured kingfish and crunchier textured snapper;
- Special of Calamari Tempura $15 - good quality seafood and tempura that had no salt in the batter. Dipping it in the dashi and then sweeping it along the salt crystals scattered around the plate made it delicious;
- Zucchini Mustard Yaki (deep-fried chunks of zucchini with seeded mustard & saikyo miso gratin) $12 - nice charred vegetable with a very strong mustard flavour with seeds for texture. The gratin looked like cheese but tasted/textured more like mayo;
- Akachochin Gourmet Chawan Mushi (steamed egg custard studded with prawn, scallops, fish, chicken, ginko nuts & kikuna) $22 - perhaps the word studded gave me visions of lots of ingredients, but there was only 1 of each. It is a largish bowl, the flavour is nice and texture is softer than the firmer versions I'm used to.
Overall the flavours of the dishes were good. I think the moriawase wasn't great value and I'd stick to their other specialties (which take more cooking/preparation). I do think I need to revisit the fish market and recreate my own chirashi.