Melbourne Restaurant Reviews: The Very Very Hungry Caterpillar

YES, this is yet another Melbourne food blog!

J Cafe

167 Exhibition St
Melbourne VIC 3000
+ 61 9650 9877
http://jcafe.sushiburger.com.au/index.html

In the last twenty or so years, we’ve seen some significant amalgamations. Time Warner. The Brisbane Lions. DJ Earworm’s infectious “Like, OMG Baby”, a collection of this year’s hottest and sickliest Summer tracks condensed into a neat four-minute package. And the sushi burger. As its name suggests, it combines two of the most popular fast food items together, the sushi and the burger, into one little neat package. And they sell like hotcakes at J Cafe.

Nestled comfortably between rows of little shops on Exhibition St, J Cafe serves an array of Japanese dishes but everyone comes here for their famous sushi burgers. Its convenient location means that theatre-goers could easily pop into the cafe for a take-away burger during intermission at the nearby Her Majesty’s Theatre. Conversely, the Friday drinkies crowd can sit down for a meal in between Matt and John’s set at the nearby Elephant and Wheelbarrow and a night of dancing with and pashing random strangers to the tune of  “Sweet Dreams Are Made of Seven Nation Army” at the European Bier Cafe.

Adam and I were there for a sit-down dinner one Friday night. We both decided that the sushi burger was definitely the way to go so we set about ordering a sushi burger bento box each. A standard sushi burger bento box was $17 and consisted of a bowl of miso soup, a sushi burger and a choice of entree from a list of four. The option of choosing an entree from the ‘specials menu’ attracted an extra 50 cents. The ika shogayaki, a specials menu item, caught Adam’s eye so he went for that to go with his teriyaki eel sushi burger.

Miso soup. Very hard to eff up miso soup. Next!

Adam’s teriyaki eel sushi burger. To be honest, we both thought it wasn’t that fantastic. There was nothing wrong with the taste, it was just the rice-filling ratio that did our heads in. Too much rice, not enough filling. Plus, the fillings were scant – only two pieces of sliced cucumber and one thin slab of eel.

My ebi mayo (fried prawn) sushi burger. Battered prawns, a generous dosage of creamy mayo and some lettuce. Nothing to it, really. It was much better than Adam’s but having to swallow a mouthful of sushi rice really did my head in.

I chose a serving of gyoza as my entree (which came after my sushi burger, funnily enough). Although they were more ginger and cabbage than pork, they still went down a treat with the simple salad that came with it – several pieces of cucumber, tomato, lettuce leaves, mashed potato and an orange quarter as a palate cleanser. Nice.

Adam’s ika shogayaki (pan-fried squid in ginger sauce). I think I liked this one better than my gyoza; the equisitely tender pieces of squid were grilled in a lovely ginger sauce before being served with the same salad that came with my gyoza. Ribbons of mayo covered the creature that I wished was Paul the Octopus to make it a delicious dish.

The scores of foodies raving about sushi burgers and the almost-full dining room on the night we went is a testament to the success of the amalgamation between the sushi and the burger. Indeed, it is an interesting concept and definitely not one that would be listed alongside failed mergers like that of Daimler Benz-Chrysler. I would suggest giving the sushi burger a go just so you know what it’s like – and if you enjoy it, then good for you – but for now I think I’ll just stick to sushi hand rolls and hamburgers with beef patties, thanks!

J Café Restaurant on Urbanspoon

9 Comments on J Cafe

  1. Hannah
    October 4, 2010 at 13:30 (4 years ago)

    Hmm, it seems like the sushi burger *could* be seen as a bit of a marketing gimmick: higher price for… erm… mostly rice… That squid does look yummy though!

    Reply
  2. Dave
    October 4, 2010 at 13:42 (4 years ago)

    Hrmmm, my brother’s been here a couple of times. So worth a try eh?

    But no return visit Caterpillar?

    Reply
    • libishski
      October 5, 2010 at 08:12 (4 years ago)

      I’d definitely recommend trying it at least once… who knows, you might end up liking it. I probably wouldn’t go there for another sushi burger (like I said, not to my taste) but I wouldn’t mind trying some of their other dishes…

      Reply
  3. shirlz
    October 4, 2010 at 16:05 (4 years ago)

    I gotta say, that rice/filling ratio is really poor, imagine if you were to have sushi that had a massive tower of rice and a tiny slice of eel on top, there would be mutany! Can’t go wrong with fried prawn though!

    Reply
  4. berrytravels
    October 4, 2010 at 21:44 (4 years ago)

    I like Jcafe but I don’t think their prices are really worth it. The sushi burger is nice but only as a novelty. I’m pretty sure you can make those quite easily at home!

    Their katsu curry is awesome tho. But again, pricey!

    Reply
    • libishski
      October 5, 2010 at 08:19 (4 years ago)

      I agree with you – the sushi burger works well as a novelty thing but not a substitute for a proper burger or sushi roll. I will check out their katsu curry next time though, thanks!

      Reply
  5. Evil-lynne Con
    April 8, 2012 at 19:05 (2 years ago)

    I’m not a fan of such high carb food but go to J cafe mostly for the mochi – love the black sesame and green tea. Wish they had sakura though!

    Reply
    • libishski
      April 9, 2012 at 19:28 (2 years ago)

      Ah, the mochi flavours you’ve mentioned DO sound amazing. I want to try now! :D Thanks for the tip.

      Reply

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