The Very Very Hungry Caterpillar

YES, this is yet another Melbourne food blog!

Komeyui

396 Bay Street
Port Melbourne VIC 3207
+61 3 9646 2296
http://www.komeyui.com.au

Every now and then, I leave work early to attend appointments, go to uni and run errands. It’s a pain in the arse having to do them but on the bright side, leaving in the middle of the day does have its perks. If I’m ultra-efficient on the day, I’d have all my chores done before lunchtime which means that I can find a nice place to have lunch at. The last time I managed to do that was a few weeks ago. It was a lovely autumn day, and I had not only visited my GP, attended to boring uni stuff and blitzed through a job interview (for a temporary casual job to fill my evenings, my Saturday afternoons and my bank balance with) but did all my grocery shopping too. With time to kill until it was time to meet Dave for after-work nibbles, I decided to bus it to Bay Street, Port Melbourne.

Despite having worked a stone’s throw away from the suburb a few years back, I had actually never explored the gentrified bayside suburb. But because Melbourne’s new gem in the Japanese dining scene, Komeyui, is actually in Port Melbourne, I decided that that was a good excuse to make the very short trip to postcode 3207.

Although Komeyui does a roaring trade during the dinner hours, it’s also open for lunch albeit with a limited menu. While sushi, sashimi and rice balls dominate the lunch menu, set menus containing the obligatory elements of rice, miso soup, a small side and pickles plus your choice of hot mains are also available. I liked that each dish on the menu came with a comprehensive description; for example, they explained that their Berkshire pork katsu was a ‘deep-fried, bread-crumbed Berkshire pork cutlet.’ Even their description of the humble miso soup was comprehensive – ‘traditional Japanese soup consisting of miso paste and dashi stock made from dried bonito and dried kelp’ … but did we really need to know that the rice was ‘cooked carefully with traditional Japanese rice cooker’?

I took a seat at the bar, a few spots from a lone Asian businessman who was the only other diner that day. From what I’ve read about this place so far, the fresh sashimi was king while the hot dishes, not so. The chef’s omakase was apparently worth exploring but unfortunately only available for dinner. In the end I chose the set menu, with the sushi and sashimi combination as my main ($35). Because the sushi/sashimi platter was considerably more expensive than the other mains, this set menu did not contain any rice, pickles or side dishes. They did, however, retain the bowl of miso soup.

As soon I took out my soon-to-be-replaced camera, head chef and owner Motomu Kumano, who was at work behind the counter, asked me if I was a photographer. ‘Har-har, I wish,’ I replied, which made him laugh. As a graduate of Tsuji Culinary Institute, one of the finest culinary schools in Japanese, and as a former chef at Melbourne’s Kenzan, chef Kumano certainly knows his stuff. He left Kenzan not too long ago, and opened up Komeyui only last year to showcase his skills.

Komeyui’s food philosophy is to use the freshest possible ingredients, an attitude more restaurants need to adhere to. Another philosophy that the restaurant follows is the idea that food should be shared with family and friends – but that’s not to say that Komeyui discriminates against solo diners if their friendliness is anything to go by.

 

It didn’t take long for my miso soup to arrive. With nary a trace of MSG, my broth had a gentle touch yet still strong on the dashi. Probably one of the better ones I’ve had.

Next, the waiter presented a complimentary serving of chawamushi (Japanese steamed savoury egg custard). It was totally unexpected but greatly appreciated nevertheless. Rarely do I come across chawanmushi that’s decent in Melbourne so I wasn’t expecting much here. To my surprise, I was blown away. It was amazing. The egg custard was so delicate and so amazingly silky. Digging deep into the fragile custard, I uncovered chicken pieces, bits of shiitake mushroom, a gingko nut and a large piece of prawn. And the best bit? All the dashi, with just a slight level of sweetness, that held everything together. It was fantastic.

On the side, I also ordered an omusubi (Japanese rice ball). All rice balls are equally priced at $4 and there is a decent list of flavours to choose from. I had difficulty choosing one so I got the waiter to recommend me his favourite. He suggested the grilled salmon one, which sounded fine to me. Unfortunately, I couldn’t muster any enthusiasm for this rice ball. I was expecting generous chucks of grilled salmon in the middle of the rice ball but all I got was a ball of sticky rice… and what looked and tasted like salmon floss in between the grains. The sad thing was that the so-called grilled salmon bits were few and far between. I knew I should have chosen the tempura prawn one instead.

Thankfully, that was the only downer I encountered during my meal. My sushi and sashimi combination was made up of nine pieces of sashimi, five pieces of nigiri sushi and six pieces of maki sushi – and it was wonderful. The sashimi – kingfish, tuna and salmon – were among the freshest I’ve had in Melbourne. Fresher than Shoya? Well, on par, but better value for money which therefore makes Komeyui’s sashimi better. I savoured every bite. Meanwhile, the nigiri sushi pieces were also fantastic. Along with the obligatory salmon and tuna, there was also John Dory, squid and scallops. Mmm, sweet succulent scallops. The maki sushi pieces were also great, though I did wish every single piece did NOT contain salmon.

After saying goodbye to chef Kumano and the waiter, I stumbled into the bright, harsh daylight and spent the rest of the afternoon exploring Bay Street. As a result, I discovered half a dozen eateries to add to my ever-growing ‘to eat’ list and walked out of Noisette French bakery with two boxes of pastries (another story for another time – maybe). Although I’ve been told that the hot dishes at Komeyui are only okay, I will still go back for the omakase experience, more sashimi and three more bowls of that awesome chawanmushi.

Komeyui Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

18 Comments on Komeyui

  1. Daisy@Nevertoosweet
    April 9, 2012 at 00:01 (3 years ago)

    I feel as if you read my mind Libby :D Mr Bao was just complaining that he hasn’t had any decent Japanese food lately, so he wants me to find him a place that serves really authentic and fresh ‘sashimi’ so glad you did a review :) Now i can take him to Komeyui with confidence that he’ll get the sashimi that he wants hehe ~

    Reply
    • Daisy@Nevertoosweet
      April 9, 2012 at 00:02 (3 years ago)

      Btw hope you’re not overworking yourself! Working, blogging, studying and now you want a part time job :( remember you need to get enough rest!

      Reply
      • libishski
        April 9, 2012 at 19:30 (3 years ago)

        Haha I’ve had this casual job for 1-2 weeks and yeah, I do miss rushing home from work and taking 2-3 hour naps! On the other hand, by NOT taking mid-afternoon/early-evening naps, I find that I do sleep a lot better at night :) Thankfully this casual job is only a 3-4 month stint – and so that I can make enough cash to achieve my 2012 savings goals faster without having to sacrifice other things – so I won’t get TOO fatigued :)

        Reply
  2. msihua
    April 9, 2012 at 10:13 (3 years ago)

    Yes I agree.. they have the best chawamushi I’ve had in a while.. and I don’t even like them usually! MmMmm so good!

    Reply
  3. Hannah
    April 9, 2012 at 13:45 (3 years ago)

    Oooh! This is where I went with I-Hua and Agnes and Bryan, and where I had my first chawamushi! I’m glad I wasn’t being an uncultured swine in appreciate its tastiness :)

    Reply
    • libishski
      April 9, 2012 at 19:53 (3 years ago)

      Sif uncultured! You’re lucky the first chawanmushi you had was amazing – most of the ones served at Japanese restaurants here taste bland and boring!

      Reply
  4. thundermistress
    April 9, 2012 at 14:52 (3 years ago)

    I do love Komeyui, Kuma is just so lovely! :) And I do agree, their chawanmushi is out of this world, possibly my fav in Melbourne I reckons! I love the look of your sushi/sashimi platter. If I go back again I might jsut get that I reckon…!

    Reply
  5. Martypantz
    April 9, 2012 at 17:19 (3 years ago)

    Mmmm sushi. I feel like buying that big “sushi boat” from Maruya for $35.

    Reply
    • libishski
      April 9, 2012 at 19:53 (3 years ago)

      Let’s get one – EACH – the next time I’m there :) xx

      Reply
      • Martypantz
        April 10, 2012 at 01:41 (3 years ago)

        My shout, babe. :)

        Reply
  6. winstonthehungryexcavator
    April 9, 2012 at 22:57 (3 years ago)

    Man…. Another great post on Komeyui! I really need to get my butt there someday. If I’m not mistaken, I think my friend told me it’s opened by the same ppl of Kenzan in the CBD. The Japanese have got so much integrity so if they clearly proclaim they use only the freshest ingredients, I honestly believe them. Nice review as always, Ms Libishski ;D

    Reply
    • libishski
      April 10, 2012 at 21:53 (3 years ago)

      Yep, the chef (and owner) is from Kenzan. Not sure about the other staff but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were :)

      Reply
  7. Daisy@Nevertoosweet
    April 10, 2012 at 00:12 (3 years ago)

    Okay seems like you have a plan there :) So i’m not gonna worry about you ~ are you saving up to buy or go somewhere? I think I need an extra job too sigh I really need to make more money the way I spend it lol I buy way too much of everything :( not good

    Reply
    • libishski
      April 10, 2012 at 21:54 (3 years ago)

      Both!

      I could probably be able to afford both my goals for this year but it would mean not being able to have a social life, buy pretty things, visit my bf etc, hence why I’m taking on these extra hours :) Keeps me out of trouble, though!

      Reply
      • Daisy@Nevertoosweet
        April 10, 2012 at 22:56 (3 years ago)

        It’s great how you’ve set yourself a goal and are so determined to achieve it :) Good luck with it all ~ and even though you’re working really hard, it’s all going to be worth it in the end :D

        Reply
  8. hotlyspiced
    April 10, 2012 at 15:49 (3 years ago)

    I can’t believe how much you were able to fit in. A job interview and the food shopping and uni stuff? That’s incredible. The food at this restaurant looks amazing. It would be hard for me to know what to order – so many interesting dishes xx

    Reply
    • libishski
      April 10, 2012 at 21:55 (3 years ago)

      Yes, it was quite an exhausting day so it was good to sit in a quiet restaurant, away from all the noise, for an hour or so and enjoy my meal :)

      Reply

Leave a reply