25 Market Lane

Melbourne VIC 3000

+61 3 9650 0848

New Years Eve ~ Melbourne 2007. Yeah, it was apparently 40 degrees on the day. Or was it 41? 42? I can’t remember. It’s been hot every friggin’ day for the past week so all the days are kinda blurry in my mind. Anyway. Original plan was to have dinner at Shoya (otherwise known as that-Japanese-place-next-door-to-Flower-Drum) with Adam, my sister Janice and her boyfriend John. Bookings were made a few weeks in advance because it was NYE and all. But 3 hours before dinnertime, John rings me up and tells me that he and Janice “can’t make it to dinner.” Something about having to keep his best friend company while he (the best friend) goes on a date with a girl. Or something like that. Kids. I’m glad that Shoya didn’t charge a pay-in-advance-non-refundable-deposit fee like many Melbourne restaurants did for NYE but if they did, I would not have been happy.

Unitama(Scrambled egg with sea-urchin topped with salmon caviar). It was the first time I had sea urchin and although I initially retched at the very thought of eating something so vile and weird, it wasn’t too bad. The slightly buttery-almost-crayfish-like taste of the sea urchin coral meat was heightened by the tangy bubbles of salmon caviar that burst as I sunk my teeth into them. It tasted quite rich, like I was eating part of the ocean and all of Triton’s treasures. Mmm! Conversely, Adam just thought this dish was weird. You decide.

Broiled Duck Shoya Style (Thinly sliced and delicately cooked duck with tangy home made sauce). I loved this one! That’s all.

Wagyu Tartar (Fresh wagyu beef marinated with sweet soya sauce topped with egg plant and miso paste). A unique interpretation of the peking duck. I loved the sweet and spicy sauce, as well as the crispy pancake cone that housed the succulent slices of wagyu…

Sashimi – This one was my favourite. The sashimi was FRESH FRESH FRESH. From what I could recall, there were kingfish, salmon, tuna and a bunch of other fishies that I couldn’t remember the name of. It was so good that no soy sauce was required to enjoy the little fishy morsels.  Probably the best sashimi I’ve had in Melbourne so far (but if anyone can prove me wrong…) Also, check this out: the entire bowl was made out of ice!

Crab & Hotate Fillo Age (Tempura style crab meat & scallops served with abalone sauce). Nice enough.

Seven lucky God Sachet – whatever THAT meant. On Shoya’s website, it says “deep fried variety of 7 ingredients named after Japanese festive season’s 7 lucky gods.” All I remember was that I had a soup which contained all sorts of stuff in it, including a small lobster, enoki mushroom, beancurds amongst other goodies. To be honest, I wasn’t sure whether I liked this one…

Poached giant scallop with salmon, turnip and salmon caviar. I didn’t like how the bitter and pungent turnip contrasted sharply with the sweet succulent scallop and the fleshy salmon. It was just … a mess. The dish would’ve tasted better without the turnip, fo shizzle.

Miso Soup + mixed rice (had chicken, carrots and mushroom in it) + Amiyaki Karubi

(Grilled Wagyu beef rib with grated white radish and sliced onions + Japanese vinegar sauce)
Not bad, not bad at all. The miso and mixed rice were obviously the same sort of stuff that you’d expect to find at a normal Japanese cafe and while the wagyu was nice enough, I felt that the white radish was too big a distraction…

Close up of the Amiyaki Karubi

Dessert – some sort of layered green tea + red bean + chocolate pudding with strawberries between each layer. Once again, okay but not fantastic.
Verdict: The Age Good Food Guide 08 gave it 15.5/20 and one chef’s hat. I’d probably give it the same rating. The food was amazing and I’d definitely go again if only to ooh and ahhh over the superb presentation of the dishes and the warm hosts. I was, however, annoyed at how slow the service was (the other tables also felt the same way but they were more vocal about it than us). Sure, it’s NYE and sure, you may be short-staffed but at least let your patrons know about this so that they know what to expect. Or better still, offer them some compensation for the slow service. Otherwise, just get rid of a few tables so that there would be fewer people to look after. Heh. Let’s hope that they are quicker with their bringing-out-the-food next time…
I eat too much.


  1. Melbournechick
    January 1, 2008

    Happy New Year. All about food. I love it! What is your recipe for spring onion pancakes?

  2. KeLlY_Siew
    January 1, 2008

    food looks great! i’m going to book for shoya once i come back!

  3. icesabre
    January 1, 2008

    Mmmmm goddamn tasty!!!!!

  4. fipar20
    January 1, 2008

    Nice food…nice people, what a way to spend NYE and also New Years day!! =]

    Wonton’s are usually nice fried or if poached, Olive oil mixed with fried garlic mixed with soy sauce. Nice combo!

  5. Me_itchy_Bum
    January 2, 2008

    I need to go rest now, i just had an orgasm!!

    Happy new year’s, Libs! Looks like you had a ball!

  6. aznality
    January 2, 2008


    Yeah, I went to docklands. Draining night, it was. Happy new year!

  7. whoislulu
    January 5, 2008

    oh what the hell libby!! @_@

    I’m trying to lose weight here!! urghhh…..

    now u’re making me hungry and going to grab more food!!

    oh great…..for few mins there I thought I was doing great!!! =_=

    anyway, happy belated new year dear!!

    have a great time and all the best for ’08!! =)

  8. […] one of my favourite Japanese restaurants, has been on my mind for quite some time. Having dined on cheap sushi rolls and cheap chicken […]

  9. Simon Food Favourites
    August 22, 2010

    i’ve never had sea-urchin before but i’d be hesitant to try as well. i guess you have to try it at least once. i do like oysters and mussels though so maybe i’d be ok with it 🙂

    1. libishski
      August 25, 2010

      Hi Simon,

      Thanks for stopping by. Sea urchin is definitely an acquired taste and while some people like it, others don’t. Do give it a try though and let me know what you think 🙂


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