Welcome to Melbourne Foodie. The blogspace of a young foodie with a passion for cooking, fine dining and quality food and produce.
Melbourne Foodie, along with the other sources I write for is my way of casually expressing and recording some of the experiences I have had for others to enjoy. I always welcome any feedback,
comments or restaurant suggestions you may have and would love to hear from you soon.
MUST VISIT SOON: Livingroom, Hare & Grace
MOST RECENT FEASTINGS: Pei Modern, Sarti, PM24, Vue de Monde
BLOG OF THE MOMENT: I Eat Therefore I Am
From the outside Shira Nui just looks like another local shopping-strip restaurant, and inside its set up is simple, but pleasant. There is a 13-seat bar at the front as well as a number of tables where patrons can order a la carte. I am seated at the sushi bar and am immediately asked if I will be taking the omakase or if I would like to see the menu. I, of course go for the omakase (chefs selection), which is almost mandatory - everyone at the bar was eating this way and I am sure its definitely the way to go. Hiro-san and his assistant will keep presenting dishes until you have had enough. With each comes a brief description of what you are about to eat and a simple instruction of "soy" or "no soy" depending on how the sushi is prepared. From the moment the first piece hits your mouth you know this is no ordinary sushi bar. The quality of the fish and the way it is crafted and presented is really something else. Whilst my pictures give an insight into the offerings you really must try the food to really appreciate it.
My Sushi Journey: 10 courses, then dessert.
A rather bland shop-front exterior gives no hint as to what lies inside.
Chef Hiro Nishikura (right) with his assistant Yuki Ueno.
Cod sushi seasoned with salt and lemon juice. So fresh, and delicate, but with a citrus kick.
Pan fried salmon sushi coated with a Japanese spice blend and finished with a tiny squeeze of lemon. Warm, perfectly textured and just melts away in your mouth.
Mackeral covered in rare kombu seaweed. There is a real sweetness to the external layer which contrasts against the spicing and oiliness of the fish.
Grilled BBQ beef - just seared. A lovely sweetness to the tender beef and again melt-in-the-mouth perfect.
Ark Shell, a subtle flavoured fleshy shell fish. A different texture to the others, much firmer.
Seared Tuna Steak. I just love tuna and this is sensational. Just seared then finished with a sticky dressing and some finely sliced spring onion. A taste sensation.
Sea Prawns with spicy cod roe. 3 tiny shrimp-like prawns: some of the freshest I have ever tasted, bound together with a nori strip and finished with a dollop of the most delicate, spiced cod roe. Another taste that was just SO GOOD.
Baked oyster nori roll with mayonnaise. OMG - This was my favourite. So rich and creamy. The oysters are baked and placed into the rice-filled nori-roll immediately before serving. I can't begin to describe how good this tasted.
Marinated kingfish belly seared with the blow torch. Perfect, sublime fish scored and torched giving it a light crust and an exciting texture. I really loved this.
Baked hapuka with cod roe. My final dish - completely cooked white fish pieces bound together and finished with cod roe. A contrast of warmth and bursts of salty freshness. A nice way to end a rather impressive line-up.
Dessert: Black Sesame Creme Brulee with fruit salad and ice-cream cubes. Just one of the impressive non-standard offerings from their list. The brulee has a crunchy glazed top that you crack in to and inside is soft and well-flavoured. The accompanying salad is perfect and helps to refresh the palette.
Overall Shira Nui provided a very impressive evening. Amazing quality sushi with the advantage of watching the chefs prepare it fresh right in front of you. I look forward to visiting again soon and speaking more with Hiro-san. It was so busy this Friday night that I didn't get to interact with him as much as I would liked to have.
Shira Nui was awarded one chefs hat and received a score of 15 out of 20 in the 2008 Age Good Food Guide.
MY RATING: 15.5/20 - Food 9/10 Ambience 3.5/5 Service 3/5 - Highly Recommended!