179 Russell St
Melbourne VIC 3000
+61 3 9663 1938

Adam’s parents kindly bought us some spicy chicken from Rose Garden when Adam and I came to visit later this afternoon. We shared a box each and decided that we were still hungry. With many restaurants in the area closing between lunch and dinner and not wanting to eat at the dodgy-but-yum Shanghai Dumpling place again, we decided to try out that Japanese cafe Teppansan on Russell Street. Although I walk past it all the time to either go to that Asian DVD place with Adam (groan) or to eat at that mainlander joint with Aaron or Ted, I’ve never been inside it. After hearing people talk about how cheap it is and how fantastic their okonomiyaki are (Japanese pancake/pizza), we decided to give it a try.

Now, I love my okonomiyaki. They’re cheap and they’re filling. For less than $3 at many places, you can get a slab of fluffy pancake that’s got all sorts of vegies in it, which is drizzled with tonkatsu sauce and Japanese mayonaise. For me, the more sauce it has, the better. Yum! Even though you can get them everywhere in Melbourne, it’s really hard to find a place that does a really nice one. The majority of them taste and look like the not-so-nice foodcourt sht. When Damairu was still standing, there used to be this little cafe on one of the top levels that served Japanese fare. It looked vaguely like Kenzan at GPO. Anyway, they served the best okonomiyaki that I’ve ever tasted. Sure, it’s a little expensive at $6 a serving (cf $2.50-$3.00 at a typical suburban foodcourt outlet) but it also had a whole egg in it as well as seafood. Yum! I was sad when that place shut down because I knew I would never have the chance to eat that again. Unless I go to Japan or something but c’mon, what are the odds of that happening anytime soon?

Anyway, I was keen on trying this magical Japanese “pizza” so here we were at Teppansan. We arrived at 4:30ish, so it would’ve been a very very late lunch or early dinner. However, they still get their lunch specials up which is valid until 5pm. I think from memory, there is a $5.80 lunch special where you get a teriyaki and some miso soup which is pretty good but Adam and I opted for the $10 lunch box thing. For $10 each, here is what we both got:

Miso soup. Which was just normal, not awful but not orgasmic either. Then again, it is kinda hard to make miso soup so extraordinary or make it taste really bad.

California rolls. We were given the option of these or takoyaki (octopus balls) but I was disappointed to learn that they weren’t available. Oh well. The sushi was decent, I think the mayo made all the difference. You can tell that a Chinese person made them but who cares about these sorts of things?! As long as the food is okay why whinge about whether a “real” Japanese person made them? (That’s another post for next time).

Spring rolls. They were vegetarian and tasted okay enough. I loved how they were pretty liberal with the mayo.

Adam ordered the beef okonomiyaki which looked… well, ugly. The dough with all the vegies were on top, teriyaki beef on the bottom and in the middle there were lots of cooked onions. It was quite nice, despite the fact that there were so many damn onions.

I ordered the seafood version. It was basically the same as the beef one, but it had prawns and octopus in it (if they had octopus to make this, why the fck could they not have used it for the takoyaki?! Grrrr). Because it was a seafood okonomiyaki and we were charged the same price for the beef, they obviously skimped out on the sauces on top. Trust .

Verdict: Yes, it was nice and for that price, our meal was good value. We were so stuffed! Adam couldn’t even finish his food so I had to help him with the last little portion of his beef (god, no wonder I’m so chubby now). The service was friendly and very prompt – we were given our miso soup almost immediately. While it was better than most other okonomiyaki I’ve had in Melbourne, the Daimaru one still pwns over everyone’s, hands down. Having said that though, I’d definitely come back here again for lunch because it’s so damn cheap. Notice how I said lunch.

Ahhh the love of my life.

I’m talking about iced tea, not Adam.

Heh, I’m joking I’m joking!

I eat too much.


  1. icesabre
    March 28, 2008

    Haha, been doing Chinatown a bit too much… now need to switch cuisines. Too much Cantonese and Shanghainese and Szechuan cuise for me lately, time for a chaaaaaaange… to Jap.

  2. funky_ass
    March 29, 2008

    if i were adam.. i wouldnt take that at all


  3. lisatp
    March 29, 2008

    hey libby, i remember u blogged abt the show ‘cashmere mafia’ a few wks ago. Issert only up to episode 7? I don’t use xanga anymore but u can email me or add me on msn ‘lisa.phan@hotmail.com’.  hope to hear from ya soon 🙂


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