Hokuto Japanese Cafe

389 Swanston St, Melbourne 3000
Date visited: 2nd February 2013

Have been MIA recently because I've relocated to regional Victoria!  I'll only get to return to Melbourne on the weekends so boo-hoo... reviews would be few and far between.  I had a few reviews from before I left but then I got too busy with work and study, and also because none of the reviews were so spectacular that I felt the crazy need to blog about it straight away.  You get the picture.  Anyway, this is one of the reviews.

I'm sure most people living around the CBD have seen the new shop, Hokuto Japanese Cafe that opened up just over a week ago.  There was a girl outside handing out their leaflets with the menu on it.  I couldn't resist taking one.

Love the art on the leaflet
I had all intentions to scan it properly but got too busy so I just took a photo XP
MerlinFan and I were after casual, so we stopped by for a simple lunch.  It really is a tiny hole in the wall cafe okay, with only several tiny tables indoors.  We ordered at the counter and sat down.

You had your own plastic spork (spoon & fork) and chopsticks with condiments at each table.

The dishes came in these plastic and paper bowls.  Most of them came in two sizes, regular and large.  

MerlinFan chose the Curry Katsu Don.  
Curry Katsu Don Regular $6.90

Let's be honest here, it looks nothing like the beautifully presented dish on the leaflet given.  They really could have been more generous with the curry sauce.  MerlinFan said she expected little from the dish from its lacklustre presentation - okay, okay fine, her exact words were "despite its disgusting appearance, it actually tasted nice."  The bread-crumbed chicken cutlet was quite good but the curry sauce was watery and all soaked into the rice, not thick and rich like how it was pictured in the menu.  (Ugh, pet peeve - when the real dish at a restaurant looks nothing like the obviously 'food-styling' dressed-up photo)  But like I said, MerlinFan thought it was not bad.

 I had the Oyako Don.
Oyako Don $8.90
This dish tasted like exactly what it was, literally chicken and egg omelette.  There was apparently katsu sauce on the rice but I didn't taste it.  The egg was quite bland - they were very light handed with seasoning and none of the flavours of the onions or scallions came through.  The rice was really wet and matted too.  I have to admit I felt quite underwhelmed.  

Off the topic, it was also extremely distracting eating in a tiny, confined space when I kept hearing super loud smacking and chewing noises a.k.a like someone eating with his mouth open.  At first I thought it was a kid sitting across the aisle (which made it somewhat excusable) until MerlinFan told me it was his dad.  @_@

Ahem, ahem.

Overall, the prices were cheap, so I didn't have high expectations and after visiting Hokuto I suppose that was justified.  Plastic and paper bowls/ sporks weren't exactly environmentally friendly in my book and perhaps they could improve presentation a little to raise the dishes to another level.  And who is to say, cheap eats can't be excellent taste-wise?  Despite the prices and location, with ample supply of restaurants and cafes in the CBD serving the same type of food, I'd be happy to spend a few dollars more for better quality elsewhere.

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  1. Well the sashimi don fared a little better but still I disliked the place. What's with all the no queuing and plasticky stuff.
    Anyway I have written a review on it to at: www.newintstudents.blogspot.com