Family lunch was initiated a couple of weeks ago when my sister messaged me if I was free for lunch which eventually led to the rest of the family joining us, well, with the exception of my younger brother who was in school hah. Akachochin is a Japanese restaurant in Paul Mathis powerhouse group which is located in South Wharf. Akachochin offers a set menu lunch at a great price of $20.
Between the two menu options, they both came with a bowl of rice, seasonal marinated vegetables in dashi stock and choice of salmon or kingfish sashimi. Option one also had a bowl of miso soup and a choice of mains to accompany.
We all ordered a variety of dishes between us so that we could try majority of the menu. The grilled chicken with spicy teriyaki sauce was the favourite of the table as the meat was tender.
The pork belly was equally as good with little rivers of fat although it wasn't as tender as the chicken. I enjoyed it with slices of king oyster mushrooms and the sauce, while sweet and salty with a kick of spice to it. The salmon sashimi was lucious and very fresh while the kingfish was more firm in texture.
The crumbed fish came with a tangy tartare sauce and while I didn't have a taste, everyone seemed to enjoy it.
Instead of a choice of main, option two was a bowl of soba noodles with chicken in a bonito broth. Both my dad and SIL opted for option two to which they found the bonito broth was very salty.
Service was very spotty during our lunch. Although our waitress was very friendly and helpful, it was the service from the floor manager (we assumed he was since his uniform was different) which was a fail. I had called in the previous day to amend the time of booking and number of people which he neglected to take note of so there was some confusion when we first arrived; we constantly had to ask for water refills during our meal; the ordering process was long-winded and laboured having to have to clarify numerous times and when we enquired about how much longer the food would take, we had to track him down again to get our answer. I questioned what the rest of the family members thought about the service and they all agreed that service was a disaster.
For the value, I think it is good for the price and quality although for an extra $4.80, I think it's extremely hard to beat Shoya's lunch set menu which I had the following week.
Value: 7/10 at $20
Will I return? Yes
33 Dukes Walk
South Wharf VIC 3006
(03) 9245 9900
Tues to Sun midday - midnight
A week later, my sister and I met again for lunch at Shoya which I have posted about previously here. With seven available lunch sets ranging from the $24.80 Kaisen Chirashi set (which we had that day) to the more luxe $65 business lunch set, you will find one to suit your tastes and budget. We both opted for the Kaisen Chirashi lunch set - it consists of more than enough food to fill me so anything more would be a waste.
We started our meal with 3 small appetisers - some blanched greens, chilled bean curd in a gingery soy sauce which I found slightly too salty however we both loved the chawanmushi and savoured every spoonful of the silky egg custard.
The chirashi sushi was loaded with a variety of sashimi and my favourite pieces were the salmon, kingfish and tuna for the tenderness of the fish. The amount of sashimi was substantial to the rice so you are definitely getting great value.
The udon noodles were great as usual with the noodles being bouncy, not too soft nor firm and the broth was hearty topped seaweed and spring onions.
As always, the green tea ice cream was refreshing on the palate and the perfect sweet finishing touch to end our meal. I remember back in the days when green tea ice cream was a rarity but now it's a must have to finish any Japanese meal, that or black sesame ice cream. Mmmmm.
Our meal was satisfying and extremely filling however there were times when I felt that the service was absent. Shoya is my go-to spot for a Japanese lunch and it is amazing value for all the food you get. I enjoyed my meal at Akachochin as well and although the service was not too great, I could see myself coming back. Overall, I feel like Shoya trumps Akachochin in all aspects - food, value, service and easy pronunciation.
Value: 9/10 at $24.80
Will I return? Yes, I have been here many times and keep coming back for the great value lunch sets.
25 Market Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9650 0848
Lunch: Mon to Sun: midday - 2:30pm
Dinner: Sun to Thur: 6:00pm - 10:30pm & Fri to Sat 6:00pm - 11:00pm