Monday, 22 April 2013

J Cafe Restaurant

167 Exhibition Street 
Melbourne, VIC 3000


Of all the fusion foods I’ve heard of, sushi burgers take the cake. It sounds like a bad 6th generation Pokémon evolution, and it makes about as much sense as Vanillish, the ice cream Pokémon. However this is food we’re talking about, not adorable monsters fighting to the death, so the taste is what really matters. To find out for ourselves (mostly me though) what all the fuss is about, Chris and I made a visit to J Cafe Restaurant after a morning gym session that left us starving. 




Upon stepping in, we could tell that the restaurant has been around for a while. However there were little homely touches that gave the space a certain measure of sweetness, and the staff were polite and friendly. Despite there being an adjoining room in the restaurant as well, the line was out the door half an hour after it opened for lunch.


Spicy Raw Salmon Burger ($7.5 a la carte)

I could’ve gone for a few sushi burgers, but there was some lovely lunch sets on offer. Fearing the size of some of them, I decided on the Mini Udon and Sushi Burger Set ($12.5), which gave me a choice of a bowl of noodles, and any burger of my choosing. Being Asian and all, I immediately ordered the most expensive Spicy Raw Salmon Burger ($7.5 a la carte), though in my defence that was the one that caught my eye the most anyway. This was actually surprisingly good – two rice patties sandwiching chunky fresh salmon, flavoured with a creamy, spicy sauce that had a hint of earthy miso to it. The package was neatly bundled up with a slightly crispy sheet of nori, making for a delicious Japanese snack that fits easily into one hand. 


Niku Udon ($7.5 a la carte)

Along with my sushi burger, I got the Niku Udon ($7.5 a la carte), which was served in an adorably-sized bowl that was a perfect size after the burger. The noodles and soup weren’t anything to shout about (a little doughy, lacking in depth), but the beef was surprisingly, well, beefy. The thinly sliced meat was flavoursome in the way only good quality beef with a decent bit of marbling can be, and the translucent slivers of onion gave it a little bit of crunch, and a little bit of sweetness. 


Hamburg Curry Set ($17)

Chris on the other hand ordered the Hamburg Curry ($17), which was alarmingly huge, and the curry sauce threatened to overflow at any moment. This dish was served simply, the mild yet robust sauce garnished with two chunky beef patties, and a small pinch of radish pickles. I loved how the sauce had pieces of vegetables in it, and it made for a hearty meal after the fluffy rice absorbed all the curry goodness. 


Miso Soup
Salad

Served with the curry was a bowl of Miso Soup, and a Salad. The miso soup was a cut above what you’d usually come across, and it was generous with toothsome kombu and crispy scallions. The spaghetti and vegetable salad was dressed with a light and tasty sesame oil vinaigrette, but we didn’t pay it much attention considering how much curry there was to devour.  

J Cafe Restaurant serves Japanese food that is certainly above par, but its drawcard is the sushi burgers. I wouldn’t go out of my way to have a meal here, but I would certainly drop by to grab a couple of sushi burgers, especially considering that they’re even cheaper when taking away.

Rating: 13/20 – sushi-burger-mon.

The rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.

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