Akachochin

33 Dukes Walk
South Wharf VIC 3006
+61 3 9245 9900
akachochin.com.au

As a Japanophile, I’m constantly on the lookout for new and exciting Japanese restaurants. So when I heard that former Nobu chef Kengo Hiromatsu was going to head Paul Mathis’ new Japanese restaurant in South Wharf, I knew I had to go. Unfortunately, it has me this long to visit Akachochin and even then, this visit was not a proper meal but rather a pre-dinner thing, which means that I will have to return for a legit Akachochin experience. Not that I have an issue with that, as this post will illustrate.

The restaurant’s name is a bit of a tongue twister (I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve sent an email to Dave asking when we should go to Akakachinchin) but it’s Japanese for those cute red lanterns that hang merrily outside the restaurant. Just like the food here, I love how the restaurant effortlessly blends old and new traditions together. The sleek marble bar, shiny black lacquered wooden floors and high ceilings may scream out ‘new’ but those pretty red lanterns have been around for quite some time.

We decided to sit at the bar, where we would have perfect viewing of head chef Hiromatsu at work. As much as we wanted to order, uh, pretty much everything, we could only afford to order a few nibbles as we were heading next door to Sharing House for dinner afterwards.

We shared a 180ml bottle of Jukusei Jozenmizunogotoshi Junmai Ginjo from Niigata ($13), which was purely chosen because it had the most unpronounceable name out of all the sakes listed on the menu. Made from highly polished rice and fermented at a very cold temperature, the result was a sake that was light and fruity, with a semi-dry finish. According to the menu, this sake is best served with agedashi tofu or buta kakuni, none of which we ordered (sake matching fail) but it was still a beautiful sake to drink.

We were treated to some complimentary pickles. They were light, crunchy and slightly tart, providing a great starter to what was to be a fantastic pre-dinner meal.

We shared an avocado maguro roll ($10), an inside out sushi roll filled with avocado, sliced onion, tuna and covered with masago. The option to have it with salmon instead of tuna was also there but for us tonight, tuna it was. The sushi roll was beautiful with the ridiculously fresh raw tuna shining through.

And if you needed a sodium hit, there was soy sauce on hand – both gluten-free and non-gluten-free options were available.

We then had the Hiramasa Namerou ($15), a dish that has already attracted a cult following. It is essentially a Japanese-style tartare consisting of chopped raw kingfish, spring onion, moromiso (salty miso paste), kizami-wasabi and olive oil and topped with slivers of daikon.

The dish pays homage to Hiromatsu’s Nobu days but it is somehow essentially very Akachohin. We loved the gentle balance between the silkiness of the kingfish combined with the dressing that was nutty, salty, tart and fresh with a slight kick of wasabi to keep us on our toes. We also loved the way the silky mixture went with the rice paper cracker that was crunchy upon first bite but soon dissolved into nothingness in the mouth. Man, it was so good!

Our final dish was the chicken wing dumpling ($15), arguably Akachochin’s signature dish. Here, two chicken wings were deboned, marinated stuffed with a ‘dumpling mixture’ of chicken mince, cabbage, spring onions, sesame oil, soy before being deep-fried.

It was probably one of the most creative dishes I’ve had in a long time and we had a fun time eating it. That said, it’s not something I’d order heaps of (at $7.50 a piece, they’re not cheap) but it’s a dish that I would happily urge newcomers to try at least once.

Regrettably, we had to leave after we finished our chicken wing dumplings. There were at least eight other dishes I wanted to try on the menu but I will have to wait another time. Given how impressed I was with the (albeit) small sample size though, I have no doubt that my next meal here would be fantastic.

Akachochin on Urbanspoon

I eat too much.

19 Comments

  1. Sophie Wang (@aecliss)
    September 5, 2012

    Akakachinchin! Haha, I love it.

    I really want to try the chicken wing dumplings now…mmm

    Reply
  2. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    September 5, 2012

    Hehe it sounds like a night full of tongue twisters! 😛 I like that you chose the Jukusei Jozenmizunogotoshi Junmai Ginjo from Niigata based on the name too-I do that sort of thing all the time too 😛

    Reply
  3. leaf (the indolent cook)
    September 5, 2012

    I had a lovely dinner there maybe a couple of months ago. Though I didn’t blog about it because I always feel overwhelmed when there are many dishes to keep track of (went with a few people), on the bright side it meant that I tried a good portion of the menu! It’s a little pricey but I’d go back again, that chicken wing dumpling looks intriguing…

    Reply
    1. libishski
      September 7, 2012

      Yeah, the meals with heaps of dishes (as opposed to say, just a main dish per person) are always the hardest to blog about! I will definitely be back to try more items at Akochochin though 🙂

      Reply
  4. Catherine
    September 5, 2012

    I’ve been meaning to dine here as well but never found the occasion to do so. I hope the sashimi there is nice as I’m craving!

    Reply
    1. libishski
      September 7, 2012

      We didn’t get the sashimi but we thought the sushi was good and we’ve heard great things about the sashimi – ah, next time 🙂

      Reply
  5. The Squishy Monster
    September 6, 2012

    I know it’d be worth the price—looks FAB! I also love when they treat patrons to a free tasting/complimentary app.

    Reply
  6. Hannah
    September 6, 2012

    Oh dear lord I adore Japanese food. I want all of this. PICKLES!!!

    Reply
  7. Choc Chip Uru
    September 6, 2012

    Everything looks ridiculously fresh and crisp! I need sushi now but a sushi train does not seem worth it 😛

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    Reply
  8. yummychunklet
    September 6, 2012

    This place looks great, and I’m assuming it’s a lot more promising in their food than the message in the original Chinese film.

    Reply
    1. libishski
      September 7, 2012

      Yep, I didn’t feel the need to kill myself after our little meal!

      Reply
  9. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef
    September 6, 2012

    The chicken wing dumplings got my attention too. How clever.

    Reply
  10. foodvixen
    September 6, 2012

    Japanophile! Love it! I think I am definitely one of those 🙂

    Reply
    1. libishski
      September 7, 2012

      I think most people are. Understandably, too 😀

      Reply
  11. Ming @ sweetandsourfork
    September 7, 2012

    WHO ISN’T A JAPANOPHILE? 😉 I’m so glad you reviewed this place, it looks like another gorgeous izakaya to check out. Shame I still haven’t been to izakaya den! 🙁

    Reply
    1. libishski
      September 8, 2012

      Izakaya Den is a lot of fun! I wouldn’t recommend it for dinner though as you’d need a whole lot of food to fill you up ( = $$$) but it’s fantastic for a pre-dinner snack. Akachochin, on the other hand, has bigger dishes as well as smaller ones so it’s perfect for either a snack or a proper dinner 🙂

      Reply
  12. Daisy@Nevertoosweet
    September 11, 2012

    I visited a while ago and really liked all their dishes ~ you seem to have all the dishes I didn’t have like the chicken wing dumpling hehe we had the sushi and some other mini stews hehe 🙂 Think it’s time i went back ~~ there are SO many restaurants near that area now hehe!

    Reply
  13. […] dining room was really dark when Dave and I rocked up after our pre-dinner snack session at Akachochin. We were given a table next to the window which meant that we would have had great views of the […]

    Reply
  14. […] dining room was really dark when Dave and I rocked up after our pre-dinner snack session at Akachochin. We were given a table next to the window which meant that we would have had great views of the […]

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *