The Very Very Hungry Caterpillar

YES, this is yet another Melbourne food blog!

Japas

211 La Trobe Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
+61 3 9663 1940
http://www.japas.com.au

I have a pretty low voice for an Asian female, which does not translate to a good singing voice. Thus, I often hear myself telling people that I don’t ‘do’ karaoke. Of course, that’s not to say that I don’t tag along to karaoke nights organised by friends. Sure, I might sit there for the first half hour with my arms crossed and snicker at everyone else sexing the microphone but all it takes is a few glasses of whiskey and someone to put on Guns and Roses and I’m wailing like the rest of them.

Which was exactly what happened two Sundays ago at Partyworld, Melbourne Central.

But before that, we had dinner.

To warm up our vocal chords, we stopped by Japas which was formerly known as Tomodachi, the sushi train restaurant on the Hoyts level of Melbourne Central. Japas is an acronym for Japanese and tapas. It still has the sushi train running and it still serves a la carte meals but it’s ‘cheaper than Tomodachi’ according to my friend Aaron who organised the karaoke night.

In a way, he’s right. When we rocked up, all sushi train plates, regardless of colour, were $3.80 each. There was a decent selection too. From massive bowls of edamame to pairs of grilled eel nigiri, Aaron managed to make a complete meal out of several plates.

Most of us, however, chose to go a la carte.

I had a green tea milkshake to start off with ($5-something). I love the combination of malt and matcha powder so I knew this drink could not fail. It was the perfect accompaniment to my meal…

… the Banzai burger ($14.80), which came with shichimi fries. My burger was surprisingly small but it did manage to fill me up. A soft chargrilled beef patty came basted with a sweet teriyaki glaze and was topped with lettuce, red onion, pickles and ‘our awesome Japanese mustard’ and ketchup. The burger was alright but I wouldn’t say it was worth a thumbs up. The chips, however, were tasty – and certainly could have done without the wasabi mayo which just tasted odd and out of place with the whole thing.

There was also a salad. Called an ‘Asian slaw’, it was pretty much a heap of raw cabbage and capsicums mixed in with dried egg noodles (you know those Trident ones you make chocolate spiders with?) feebly held together by a ponzu dressing. It was bland and remained untouched for most of the evening.

The others also did a la carte. I didn’t get to try any other dishes but I got varying responses from ‘pretty good’ (a fried rice dish) to ‘yeah, it’s o-kaaaaay’ (Marwin, I was not convinced that you liked your $21 chicken bento box). Either way, the a la carte dishes were not cheap compared to the sushi train plates and the quality wasn’t justified by the prices either.

I guess if you were looking for a feed before a karaoke session and felt like Japanese, then Japas would please a non-fussy group but for those looking for a bit more substance, I would suggest going to Grill’d or Nandos.

Japas on Urbanspoon

18 Comments on Japas

  1. Sophie Wang (@aecliss)
    November 28, 2012 at 21:33 (2 years ago)

    Yeah, my karaoke voice is pretty shit too. No Guns ‘n’ Roses for me either – I’d be voiceless the next day.

    I had perhaps one good meal at Tamadochi, and the one I had at Japas was fairly average. Nandos all the way ;)

    Reply
    • libishski
      November 29, 2012 at 16:05 (2 years ago)

      Haha voiceless can be good – it means that people don’t come up to me for queries at work! haha

      Yep, Nandos all the way!

      Reply
  2. yummychunklet
    November 29, 2012 at 04:12 (2 years ago)

    The green tea milkshake sounds good. I also have a deep voice for a Filipino woman. No karaoke for me!

    Reply
    • libishski
      November 29, 2012 at 16:04 (2 years ago)

      Oh wow, I had no idea you were Filipino – I’m Indonesian myself :)

      Reply
  3. Neeno
    November 29, 2012 at 07:53 (2 years ago)

    Idk if my voice is deep or not-deep… but I’m not a fab singer.
    I never used to sing at karaoke cos I was self conscious… but yeah after a few drinks I’m screaming into the mic as well!

    Reply
    • libishski
      November 29, 2012 at 16:04 (2 years ago)

      If it’s deep, it’s probably not as deep as mine! :D

      Reply
  4. Em
    November 29, 2012 at 07:56 (2 years ago)

    Welcome to the Jungle?Sweet Child of Mine? November Rain?

    Reply
    • libishski
      November 29, 2012 at 16:03 (2 years ago)

      Sweet Child of Mine that night…

      But Welcome to the Jungle is always a great choice :)

      Reply
  5. winstonthehungryexcavator
    November 29, 2012 at 21:54 (2 years ago)

    Ugh. I never like it when restaurants label their foods “Asian”. It’s so stereotypical and non transcendant of true, exotic Asian flavours. Normally just plain soy sauce or sweet chilli sauce. That aside, we should totally go and rock out to some Karaoke tunes one day Liiiiiib. Like you said, doesn’t take much for us to get on our feets and start singing our lungs out hehehe

    Reply
  6. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    November 29, 2012 at 22:09 (2 years ago)

    OK I have a low voice too and I was told that I couldn’t sing in the choir at school! So as a result I don’t think I can sing. But the thing is, I really don’t think i can :P

    Reply
  7. The Squishy Monster
    November 30, 2012 at 10:16 (2 years ago)

    For being Asian, I kind of hate karaoke, lol…I’m diggin’ that burger though!!

    Reply
  8. renikameow
    November 30, 2012 at 17:41 (2 years ago)

    *shock* karaoke doesn’t have to be about singing! It can be yelling the song and getting your frustrations out xD On another note I guess my suspicions were right about that place. Better off going GAMI to get yummy fried chicken and beer for a karaoke sesh!

    Reply
  9. Maureen
    November 30, 2012 at 18:03 (2 years ago)

    I think even if I WERE Asian, nobody would want me along on Karaoke night. I can’t carry a tune in a bucket. I much prefer to spend a little more and get a memorable meal. Okaaay is never okay. :)

    Reply
  10. Daisy@Nevertoosweet
    December 1, 2012 at 20:12 (2 years ago)

    I don’t believe you love! I think your deep voice is very SEXYYYYY ;) and lol you don’t want to sing kareoke with me EVER wakkaka i’m pretty horrible :P Everything here looks simple and yum ~ i want that MATCHA milkshake so MUCH :D Can we go back together? PWEETY Please!

    Reply

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