J-Pub Shogun (CLOSED)

Shop 3, 233 Lonsdale Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
+61 3 9663 3996

Both Adam and I finished work at the same time on Friday afternoon (4pm). Prior to dinner, we both decided it would be good to finally try J-Pub Shogun, an izakaya-style pub-slash-eatery opposite QV in the city. It’s been around for almost a year now but we’ve postponed going there only because our friend, Phina, said that it was run by Koreans – in other words, it was really crap. It was only after I saw many a food blog review say how decent the food was and after hearing Dave wax lyrical about the beef tongue and prawns with potato noodles.

We rocked up at around 4:30pm, knowing that the Happy Hour Specials menu would be on offer (valid every day from 4:00 to 5:30pm). Basically, there is a small selection of stuff we could order from the menu, all of which were $5 each. That sounded pretty good to to us so we sat at the bar and ordered from the limited drinks list on the Happy Hour menu, a James Boag for him and an Ichigo shochu for myself which, let’s be frank, tasted a lot like sugared chlorine water. Ick. Anyway, there wasn’t really anything we particularly fancied from the special menu but we were told that we were not allowed to order from the more exciting-sounding a la carte menu until 5:30pm. Damn. Not to worry.

Heh, talk about aperture fail . We started off with a serving of steamed edamame beans which, quite frankly, were in the steamer for way too long as they were limp and soggy. They would have been a great bar snack but they just didn’t do it for me. On the up-side, at least the serving was of a generous size.

Steamed ebi shumai (3 pieces). They reminded me of those mini chicken dim sims that you can buy frozen from the supermarket or at a bar for $10 for four measly pieces, the only difference being that these were filled with prawn mince. They tasted like them too.

Pan-fried yaki gyoza (3 pieces). The filling and skins were more delicate than most versions I was used to so I was happy about that. They could have done with a little more ooomph though.

Takoyaki (3 pieces). I guess these would have to be my favourite dish of them all. These octopus balls, like the gyozas, could have done with a little more taste but I was pleasantly surprised at how crispy the skins were. Definitely a far cry from the soggy skins that seem to be the norm in Melbourne.

The total came to $30 which is not an inexpensive pre-dinner grazing session, yet heaps cheaper than the likes of MoVida Next Door and MoVida Aqui. Still, I felt a little gipped and here is the reason why: take a serving of takoyaki from the a la carte menu, for example. J-Pub charges $7.50 for a plate of five which means that one would be $1.50. We paid $5 for three pieces which meant that we would have forked out an extra 17 cents per ball under the “Happy Hour Special” deal. Doesn’t seem like a good bargain to me. At the end of the day, I don’t think I’ll ever come back here for “snack” again if we were forced to eat from the Happy Hour Special menu. Heck, I probably would not bother coming back if it weren’t for the legions of bloggers who say that this place offers some good dinner grub, including Dave. I *may* be back for dinner sometime. At least the service was friendly and the food arrived pretty quickly. Hmmm, the jury is out…

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