Thursday, January 29, 2009

What really matters - Yakiniku

One of the best things about being in Melbourne is the chance to spend some time with my older brother who lives and works in this city he has come to love. My brother has always been someone I've always looked up to and we have a hard to describe connection that has always kept us close even though we now live in different cities.

Part of our connection is our common love for food - and on his recommendation, we arrived at Izakaya Chuji for dinner. Instead of the usual izakaya fare in the main restaurant downstairs, we headed to the upper level for a meal of yakiniku - grilled meat over wood charcoal. We ordered a very refreshing dish of yukke (a Japanese take on steak tartare) to start which was fantastic over a bowl of piping hot rice.

For our yakiniku, we selected gyu tan (ox tongue) and wagyu beef which had been marinated in tare (mirin, sake, soy, sugar). The meat selection was spot on and I was particularly fond of the gyu tan which had a great bite and flavour. The buttery wagyu was terrific with the smokiness of the charcoal perfuming the succulent slices of meat. The cuts of meat used here were great and very fresh.

I thoroughly enjoyed eating and cooking our meal with my brother over a bottle of sake. The fact that I enjoyed it so much was also a reminder of the things that really matter... It wasn't the decor (the restaurant is a little tired looking) or the service (you're left to your own devices most of the time)... it was pure and simply, the ingredients that made it... great produce and the company of one of the people you love - afterall, that's what all great meals are born of.

Izakaya Chuji
165 Lonsdale Street
Melbourne Vic 3000


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