Adam and I had been wanting to try Horoki for a while so we made plans to have dinner there tonight. It’s situated in one of Melbourne’s alleyways and it’s a bit of a walk from all the action at Swanston St (especially in my pink heels!) but it’s well worth it. Although Horoki is first and foremost a Japanese joint, most of their dishes have Western elements in it so yes, I guess you could say that it’s a fusion restaurant. Now, even though I know a lot of people hate fusion, I actually find fusion food rather interesting and if done well, can be delicious. Frankly, I couldn’t care less if the food is not REAL Japanese or REAL Italian or whatever, if the flavours work well together, I don’t see why they shouldn’t serve these foods. After all, cooking isn’t about sticking to rules and procedures, I think that it’s got to do with creativity and to be able to pull something special out of a few wtf ingredients is worth commending. And besides, given that Melbourne is so diverse when it comes to people and restaurants, it seems fitting that some of these restaurants should serve remarkable fusion cuisine.
We started off with a tuna carpaccio which, I think, is one of Horoki’s signature dishes. Thinly-cut slices of raw tuna marinate with soy vinaigrette, streaked with mayo and topped with shaved Parmesan cheese and cherry tomatoes. I’m sorry about the awful photo (blame my peasant Cybershot). This picture really doesn’t do this dish justice, it was that good.
This was one of the specials – creamy crab dumplings. This reminded me of those Shanghainese dumplings – Xiao Long Bao – where you have the meat and a bit of “soup” inside the dumpling. The “soup” in this dumpling was very creamy, the texture not unlike carbonara sauce. It was very nice!
Korean beef tatare. I’m not sure what made this dish Korean but it was very yum. The quail egg made for great presentation – it made the whole dish look so damn cute that I was reluctant to “ruin” it by eating it! – and also gave it a more delicate flavour than a normal chicken egg would. This dish was great but it doesn’t exactly beat Izakaya Chuji’s yukke in terms of value and taste.
I can’t remember what this dish was called – something-something prawns. If you are at Horoki and see something that looks like “peri-peri” on the menu, then this is what you will get. You get a terracotta dish with eight decent-sized prawn pieces swimming in a broth of garlic, parsley, chilli and melted butter. I’m sure I would’ve consumed my recommended weekly intake of calories just by eating my four prawns and scooping up the melted butter with my bread but damn, it was worth it.
Garlic bread with pesto. I think this one cost $5.50. I know that you can get a soggy roll of garlic bread for about $3 at Pizza Hut or buy a bag of it from the fridge section of your supermarket but I thought Horoki‘s garlic bread was nicely done – crispy without falling apart and the garlic butter had so much flavour. My only vice about it was that they put too much pesto on it.
Soft shell crab with sour cream mayonnaise, yuzu and baby capers. The flavours of the four pieces of crab are tangy with the yuzu marinade but the mayo neutralises its sharpness by making it sweet. Very nice.