Food blogger Juliana Mare recently visited Hawthorn restaurant Ocha, renowned for bringing an impressive range of Japanese cuisine to Melbourne foodies.
It’s an exciting dinner when you take your family who are fairly unfamiliar with Japanese cuisine, to Ocha – one of the most renowned Japanese restaurants in Melbourne.
So when everyone looked at the menu, perplexed and confused about what to order, I happily obliged and ordered for the table. We ordered a selection of entrée and main courses and every single dish that came our exceeded our expectations and was delicious!
Hokkaido Scallops (pictured above)
Twice Cooked Pork Belly Burgers
Steamed “chawan mushi” savoury custard with eel, chicken, prawn and lily bulb
Special mention has to go to the eel dishes. No one, including myself, had ever tried eel before and we were all very impressed with the flavour which I’m happy to announce wasn’t nearly as slimy as I expected!
The eel sashimi (furthest right sashimi in the picture) was my favourite – semi thick slices of eel barbequed and wrapped with a strip of seaweed around a bed of white rice.
The steamed “chawan mushi” also had a piece of eel inside which was tasty but had much more of a salty, seawater flavour. It wasn’t entirely unpleasant to eat but the barbeque flavour of the sashimi was a lot tastier.
The scallops were the most impressive dish of the night, so much so that my Mum, who has never eaten one in her life, even remarked on how impressive it was.
Two tender scallops in a shell, coated in a creamy sauce and breadcrumbs and baked. Absolutely delicious and if it weren’t for the incredibly steep price of $7.50 for one shell, we would’ve eaten a lot more than one each!
My main – the eggplant sandwich – was definitely not traditional Japanese but enjoyable nonetheless. The filling on its own was a little on the dry side but there was more than enough glaze on the plate to compensate. There was a delicious crumb on the sides of the eggplant that gave the dish a crunch, which worked well as the eggplant and filling had a similarly soft texture.
Ocha absolutely lived up to our expectations and a special mention goes to the very polite and helpful wait-staff who were more than happy to provide suggestions and tips for our meal.
Ocha has a delightfully impressive menu, with options to appease every foodie, whether you’re a traditionalist who enjoys raw sashimi or a modern ‘Asian Fusion’ groupie.