One of the beauties of living in Hobart is that whilst it may be considered quiet and out of the way, it is very affordable to live here in comparison to other major centres in Australia. Due to this, the opportunity to go away to other cities for the weekend becomes much more affordable. For $78 return each, Simon and I headed to Melbourne for the weekend just gone; we didn’t go over for any particular reason, just to enjoy a couple of meals out, catch up with some friends for a drink or two and just generally get away for a couple of days.
We love our food. Before leaving a friend recommended to us that we try a Japanese restaurant in Federation Square called “Chocolate Buddha“. We were definitely thankful for the recommendation. The venue is shared eating in style, with 8-10 long benches where you can sit opposite each other, but may be sitting next to someone else you don’t know. Sometimes I’m in the mood for this style of eating, other times I really don’t go much on it. We had an 8:30pm reservation and managed to sit at the end of a bench without any other diners next to us. The service was exceptionally fast and friendly and I was amazed at the speed the food came out.
We shared four entrees between us, goma-ae (blanched cold spinach with roasted sesame, soy and mirin), yaki-toriniku (chicken thigh skewers, grilled with teriyaki sauce), green dumplings (vegetarian dumplings fried with chilli mayo dipping sauce) and gyu takaki (rare seared beef sirloin served cold with red onion, crispy leek, chilli micro herbs and yuzu dressing). The gyu takaki was the stand out favourite and presented brilliantly. The goma-ae was similar to most wakame salads I have had previously and was everything that it should be, fresh, tasty and enticing. The yaki-toriniku was exactly as described, which you can’t complain about, but really was just like chicken on a stick.
We lazily sipped on a glass each of Calo Tempranillo (Spanish, we probably should have been authentic and had sake, but we’d already had a glass or two of red earlier in the evening) and waited (not very long) for our mains to be served. Simon went with a bento box (sushi/sashimi selection) while I tried the shake miso ramen (poached salmon pieces, ramen noodles, snow beas, baby corn, wakame, spinach and spring onion in a miso broth). We were both thoroughly impressed with the meals that were presented before us. I can not vouch for the quality of Simon’s meal, however as I was not offered any I can only assume that he enjoyed it immensely. Personally, I find a bento box to be more appealing for a lunch time sitting; the ramen was definitely satisfying for dinner.
We were in and out in just over an hour, but should we have wanted to stay longer and enjoy another glass of wine or dessert it would have been a very comfortable setting to do so. As we waited for our bill to arrive we cringed slightly as we mentally calculated how much we must have spent. Four entrees, two mains and four glasses of wine came to a very reasonable $120. This is one Japanese dining experience that we will be sure to relive on our next trip over to Melbourne.