Machi Restaurant and Bar is a modern Japanese restaurant run by owner and chef, Tatsuya Yamazaki, which has opened in the later months of 2012. Personally, it's hard for me to find a Japanese restaurant in Australia to be satisfied with both food and value, especially when I have an upcoming trip to Japan next year. I keep thinking I should save my money for the delicious food to come in Japan but sometimes cravings just don't subside easily so that is how we found ourselves at Machi in St Kilda. It is within view of Newmarket Hotel and Mr Wolf on Inkerman Street in St Kilda and has a modern interior with a Japanese flair. The service is friendly and hospitable as soon as we enter into the then-empty restaurant, and later filled up as we progressed through our meal.
We both decided to venture out and try something new on the drinks menu. Mr A tried a rice beer which came with a super cool glass so you had to use two hands to drink it. It was light and refreshing, perfect for that warm day.
I went with the migoriyuzu liqueur with soda water which was refreshing with a subdued sweetness from the citrusy yuzu flavour.
The special of the night was the salmon tataki salad in a karashi dressing. We've had many salmon tataki salads in our lives and we both whole-heartedly agreed that this was by far the best we've had, ever! The seared salmon was seared on top and both buttery and creamy when eaten. The karashi dressing made the dish though - the creamy karashi dressing, made with ground mustard seeds and horseradish, added a sweet and heated flavour to the salmon and freshly grated radish, carrot and green onions. All of this in a mouthful was beautiful.
The gyokai moriawase was a mixed platter of sashimi and fried seafood. I'm not the biggest fan of fried seafood but these weren't too heavy or oily so I actually enjoyed them. My favourites were the sashimi which were all fresh and very tender. I don't usually like tuna sashimi as much as salmon but the tuna was of very high quality. I liked the deep fried seafood with the japanese tartar sauce but a simple spritz of lemon was delicious also. The overall dish consisted of the following: 2 seven spice oysters, 2 tempura oysters, 2 pcs soft shell crabs, 2 pcs of crisp fried calamari, 2 tempura prawns, 2 crumbed scallops, 4 tuna sashimi, 6 salmon sashimi, 4 kingfish sashimi & 2 pcs of moreton bay bug sushi.
The slow cooked lamb in soy was fall off the bone tender and flaked away so easily with a fork. It soaked up maximum flavour from the semi-thick soy sauce with the perfect ratio of meat and fat. The bok choy and string beans on the side added freshness to the salty flavours. Our waiter was kind enough to offer us a half serve instead of the full one which would have been too much for us, so it's nice to see a place that will recommend appropriate servings.
I knew about their special dessert from their twitter account so when I read it out to Mr A, he had already decided on it. The chocolate pudding was accompanied by green tea ice cream and bruleéd slices of banana, all on top of swirled caramel sauce and crumbled praline pistachios. With a higher ratio of chocolate lava than cake, it was my kind of chocolate pudding. Although there were many elements in this dessert, they melded together superbly and I appreciated the contrasting textures and temperatures. One of the best chocolate puddings I've had!
Will I return? Yes, a rare meal that was fantastic from start to finish.
Machi Restaurant and Bar
14 Inkerman Street
St Kilda VIC 3182
(03) 9534 5000
Lunch: Fri midday - 3pm
Dinner: Tues to Sun 5:30pm - 11pm