28 Corrs Ln
Melbourne VIC 3000
+61 3 9663 1706

Jen decided that it was time for a catch-up before the Christmas rush to celebrate well, I dunno, the end of exams for some and just an excuse to have a not-quite-the-end-of-the-week dinner for others. We initially wanted to catch up at Momotaro Ramen for supposedly the best ramen in Melbourne but after realising that they were only a very small cafe and that they didn’t take bookings, we ended up going to Yamatoinstead. This tiny restaurant has been around for as long as I could remember and given that it is constantly featured in Cheap Eats, we figured that we would be in for some decent Japanese. The fact that it’s also located in an off beaten track just off Little Bourke Street makes it harder to find than an ABC in a Masters of Professional Accounting class at RMIT which makes it even more appealing to, dare I say it, Westerners.

I made a booking for 6pm sometime last week and all was good. Earlier this week, however, I received a call on my mobile from Yamato, telling me that another group was going to come to the restaurant at 8pm and that we had to be out by 7:45pm. Yes, I assured them, that was fine. That didn’t stop them from calling me every. effing. day. afterwards. Including this morning at 11:00am. .

Anyway, our party of ten was led to the private room which was probably no larger than half the size of Schapelle Corby’s prison cell. We were all made to take off our shoes before we stepped into the room “to keep the cushions clean for the next group of diners” which made some of the boys feel uncomfortable. By this stage though, I had long abandoned my heels for a much comfier pair of thongs so I had no issues. So yes, you could imagine how uncomfortable for the ten* of us to be squished into this tiny room – not the most pleasant feeling, especially when the weather was still quite warm at this stage.

*Guest list: Me, Adam, Jen, her boyfriend Phil, Shirley, her boyfriend Bill, Dave, Dan, Jan and her friend, Joanna. It was also the first time I had actually met Jan too. I was initially nervous about meeting her but I need not have worried as she is lovely and easy to talk to .

We decided to order a number of dishes to share between the ten of us so that we would get a variety of different things to taste. In no particular order…

Gyoza, they were pretty standard stuff. I’m glad that the skin was actually soft and thin compared to other so-called Japanese places that use wonton skins for their gyozas (*cough* that horrible place near my work, the name of which I can’t remember)

Takoyaki (foreground) and kani cream koroke (background). Again, standard stuff. I also need to say that while the Takoyaki filling tasted better than the ones I’ve had at other places as of late, there was hardly any octopus in it which I thought was disappointing.

Seafood and vegetable tempura ($14.30). Meh.

Tonkatsu, fried pork cutlets + dipping sauce ($12.90). This dish never ended up making it to my end of the table so I didn’t get a chance to try it…

Katsu nabe, same as above but served in casserole with vegies and bean thread noodles ($13.50). Same with this one…

Tori tatsutaage, deep fried marinated chicken ($13.50). And this one…

Sushi sashimi combo ($16.50). I found the fish, particularly the kingfish, to be extremely fishy in taste and smell which meant that they weren’t that fresh. I did have to laugh at Dave though, for trying proper raw salmon for the first time. While he didn’t throw up, Yamato’s sushi did not exactly turn him into a raw salmon convert. I must take this guy to Shoya, stat.

Yamato seafood, assorted seafood served on a sizzling hot plate with a “special cocktail sauce” ($13.50). It was way too salty for my liking and all I could identify amongst the tangle of “assorted seafood” and beanshoots was salmon chunks and tiny scallops. Meh.

Yakiniku, sliced beef and vegetables cooked in special sauce served on a hot plate ($13.50). Just as salty as the previous dish, I could not take another bite of it for the fear that my tongue would break off like sandpaper. The onions were also too undercooked for my liking and I thought the addition of the beanshoots in this dish was a bit odd.

There was discussion as to whether it was worth ordering more dishes. Most of us were full (not full-full but satisfied) whereas Shirley was so hungry that she was dying to go to Maccas and buy a “proper” meal. In the end, we decided call it a night … but not before several people ordered dessert from a menu which consisted of unsurprising items such as green tea ice cream, red bean ice cream etc etc. Check out Bill’s deep fried ice cream though…

Waahahaha! Yep, it tasted just as weird as it looked but I suppose it’s something that one needs to try at least once in their life…

It was $183.90 for the ten of us, so just over $18 each (including drinks). That may sound cheap but given the fact that the food was mediocre at best, the service somewhat pushy and our stomaches weren’t quite full, I didn’t really think that it was good value for money. I think that we would have been happier walking down Lonsdale Street and ordering just as much food at Izakaya Chuji, which churn out tastier food. Upon leaving, Shirley practically ran to Breadtop at QV while I decided to exercise willpower and cap off my food consumption for the night.

Yamato… might have been good a long time ago but it just didn’t do it for me tonight.

I eat too much.


  1. peach_water
    November 12, 2009

    HAHAHAHHAHAHA “harder to find than an ABC in a Masters of Professional Accounting class at RMIT” I like that comment :PIt was really great meeting you Libby 🙂 you’re just as nice as you are on xanga 🙂

  2. funky_ass
    November 12, 2009

    this always happens to me..im eating something mediocre for breakfast like toast and jam…and then i check my xanga. and Bang.. i see photos of nice looking food either courtesy of u, dave or kelly (kelly not so much anymore)even if the food is wacked.. still better than what im eatingGrrGRRR*puts toast away and dreams of yummy food*

  3. fipar20
    November 13, 2009

    It was nice to see everyone and meeting new faces. It was funny seeing Joanne there, she was more stunned than me. =DAnd I would have to agree with your thoughts on the food. I was pretty mediocre at best. When I was eating Tori tatsutaage, it kept reminding me of this little jap take-away shop on collins st. We should try another place next time. I bet everyone would look forward to that. =]

  4. DivisionSix6
    November 13, 2009

    Didn’t get the Yakinikinu because you’all ate it!!!!It was OK. Barely. And yes, meh to most dishes!

  5. jtngu8
    November 15, 2009

    It would seem I always fly through the door fashionably late when it comes to our meetings, but anyway. I didn’t appreciate the fact that there was another Yamato on Exhibition, right near the one we actually ate at. I’m a simple person; these things can easily confuse me.Anyway, I didn’t want to admit it at the time, but the food was indeed terribly lackluster and unfulfilling. I was hankering for a steak afterwards! I didn’t like the squishfactor-seating, either only because I like to be comfortable and not be playing footsies with everyone. But yes, definitely a more heartier meal with some less pushy servive is on the agenda!Despite that, I really enjoyed the company and the chat. Hope we can do it again some time soon!


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