Thursday, September 5, 2013

Chiba, Moonee Ponds

Awesome Sashimi Boat!!!

Seriously fantastic soft shell crab roll -- best in town!

Don't you love this full height - 2 storey - glazed entrance? I know I do.

Modern yet sophisticated interior

Agedashi Tofu - $8.50
Fried bean curd served in light soya and ginger sauce topped with bonito flakes

Gyu Niki Maki - $11.00
Beef rolls stuffed with vegetables in a wine & soya sauce

This is amazing -- one of my favourite dishes there! All in the charred goodness and fragrant sauce

Nasu Dengaku - $9.00
Fried eggplant with sweet miso paste

One of the better ones for sure

Chiba Special for 2 - $50.00
Combination of sushi, sashimi and seaweed rice rolls

Portion for 2? More like 4 or 5! This amazing array of sushi was incredible in sight as it was in taste and freshness. Very generous portions and value for money. 

This sashimi boat is always a highlight of our meals here and you can't come here without ordering this! Seriously.

Soft Shel Crab Rolls - $15.00
Soft shell crab in light batter, sushi rice, avocado, soy bean sheet, chilli mayonnaise

Another specialty of Chiba that everyone MUST order when they come! This soft shell crab roll is honestly the best in town. The combination of the ultra crisp crab with the creaminess of the avocado against the spicy mayo is just an absolute winner. 

We loved this so much we ordered 2 because I knew it wasn't going to be enough for 5 of us.

Seafood Bento - $23.50
Japanese meal box served with sashimi, tempura, grilled eel, crumbed oysters, rice and salad

Unadon - $17.00
Grilled eel on rice with sweet soya sauce

Mixed Seasonal Tempura - $25.00
Asparagus, prawns, silver whiting fillets in light batter

Thanks to the kind recommendation of my friend Ivy, I too have now come to know and LOVE Chiba in Moonee Ponds! It's one of those places that's really not that popular amongst the blogosphere or Urbanspoon ranking but if you know me, I tend to go to places via word of mouth from my friends and family than look for places to try on what's trending on Urbanspoon. 

In fact, I've always been so behind on any of the "food trends" in Melbourne. Still haven't been to ANY of the Bao (Bao Now, Wonderbao), Dessert (LuxBite, Burch & Purchese), Hotdog (Snag Stand, Phats Brats), American (Rockwell & Sons, Bowery to Williamsburg) etc etc etc places around town... Not to mention any of the food trucks in Melbourne. I'm sure they're all good, but I really just can't be bothered... Doesn't interest me.

Chiba wasn't what I was expecting at all, especially since I've never heard of it until then. The place was full house both nights that I went and I can see why. Places like these with clean, modern and comfortable interior that serves great authentic Asian foods are always thriving and a huge hit amongst the locals. Which is why they don't need Urbanspoon or blogs to push their business as they're busy as it is already. One of those places that you can tell are filled with returning customers, including myself. 

Overall, the food is really good. Great execution, fresh ingredients and fair pricing. Though the menu is more straightforward compared to other Japanese restaurants that I like (such as Pabu and Komeyui), it's nice to go to a place that serves all the usual favourites as well. They maintain a good standard of quality that it doesn't matter what you order because the food is going to be enjoyable anyway. 

So next time you're thinking of where else to go for your next Japanese meal, think of Chiba. A good group of friends, round of sake, table of food. What more do you need? And make sure you order that sashimi boat and soft shell crab roll too -- it's a must!

Hope you're all having a good start to the weekend!

Chiba Japanese on Urbanspoon

If you're keen, you can also check out Agnes' post on Chiba: here

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