2 Derby Rd
Caulfield East VIC 3145
+61 3 9571 6792
In the past, I may have whinged a fair bit about going to uni in Clayton. Our isolated location meant that it was far removed from civilisation and more importantly, good places to eat. Thus, I spent a good portion of my class days last year either bringing my own lunch from home or going elsewhere to eat.
Earlier this semester, I had initially enrolled in a business/finance unit at the Caulfield campus which meant that I had to spend some time at Caulfield with my lovely Adam, who started his Masters course there this year. Again, I didn’t think that Caulfield had much to offer in terms of food apart from a KFC, Gloria Jeans, the odd sandwich bar, a few gweilo Chinese eateries and a Coles supermarket if desperation prevailed. Imagine my delight, however, when I ventured towards the Derby Rd end of the train station and saw a few eateries that not only looked decent but some also had the ‘Cheap Eats 2010′ sticker on their windows. Even better, I saw that Uzu, a place that claims to have the best takoyaki in Melbourne, just so happened to be right on Derby Rd so Adam and I decided to go there for lunch one day.
We shared a plate of takoyaki (eight pieces for $6) which were cooked in an authentic takoyaki grill specially brought over from Japan. The takoyaki we had were already made and all they had to do was to pour Japanese BBQ sauce over it before drizzling it with mayo (you could also ask for wasabi mayo if you want) and bonito flakes. This meant that the balls were already going soft when they arrived at our table, which was pretty disappointing. Also disappointing was the fact that they went overboard with the sauce (Adam could only eat one ball because it was ‘too rich’) and they were skimpy with the octopus pieces too. Having said that, I was impressed at how big the balls were (no sniggering over the unintended entendre, please). I do not think that these were the best takoyaki, like, EVER but I haven’t had any better ones in Melbourne…
Adam had a bowl of unagi don ($9.50) which he reckons was one of the best he’s ever had. A lot of so-called Japanese eateries make the mistake of overcooking the eel or serving eel meat that is as thin as paper but Uzu’s version was amazingly plump and fleshy. Plus, the kabayaki sauce was not overly sweet and did not drown out the eel which was another good sign.
My oyakodon ($8) was not as successful. I felt that the sauce was way too sweet for my liking and even though I’m a huge fan of eggs, I just felt that Uzu went overboard with it. In an oyakodon, the braised chicken fillet pieces would normally be the main player but in this case, it looked liked the eggs were stealing the limelight. Additionally, the measly piece of broccoli and the stupid zucchini (which I’m not a fan of) were the only greens, apart from the spring onions, that came with the dish. Pretty much a fail.
Clearly, this is not the best Japanese eatery in Melbourne and their claim to make the best takoyaki is one that needs further investigation. Having said that, their unagi don is pretty good so I’d recommend that dish to lovers of unagi. In spite of my less-than-awesome lunch though, I reckon that I would be happy to come back here should I have the urge for Japanese food. I mean, they seem to have a popular standing with students so I’m sure they know what they’re doing. Plus, their sushi rolls seem to fly out the door like hotcakes so perhaps I will try them next time. If anything, at least those octopus balls beats anything served at the Clayton campus.