Sunday, March 04, 2007


After reading the review in the The Age newspaper about Horoki being named Cheap Eats Guide restaurant of the year, I had to go and see what it was about. The review said that the food was a very interesting fusion of Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese and Italian influences all rolled into one. I wanted to compare this place to Koko where I had eaten a couple of weeks ago. That Japanese restaurant was great, with very traditional Japanese dishes, at very expensive prices.

Firstly when we got there, since it was such a tiny restaurant (seating 27), we couldn't get a booking, so ended up having to wait about 20 minutes. When seated, we got a drinks list where Kin and I drank Sake, Jo chose a Sangria and Phuong chose a Raspberry Tea. However, my request for a glass of iced water didn't eventuate. Upon a second request for hot green tea and a glass of iced water, the green tea arrived but the water didn't. I tried a third and final time with a different waitress and got the iced water immediately, so I put it down to the waitress rather than restaurant policy to try and not give iced water.

We ordered a variety of dishes and shared them all. Apologies for the quality of the photos as I didn't have my camera with me and had to settle for photos from my phone.

We started with entrees of Bread with Sun Dried Tomato and Pesto. It was beautifully done, with the bread just crisp enough without being all crumbly.

Left: Horoki restaurant front. Right: Bread with Sun Dried Tomato and Pesto.

The next dish was the Daikon Salad with Sashimi. This dish was absolutely divine. The daikon was perfectly infused with this delicious soy sauce and there were these crunchy fried things which I don't know what they were. The fish roe and sashimi help to add even more flavour to the dish. This dish was one of my favourites for the night.

The Roast Octopus with Garlic Butter was good too, with the garlic having a nice sweet flavour to it.

Left: Daikon Salad with Sashimi. Right: Roast Octopus with Garlic Butter.

My other favourite dish of the night was the Beef Tartar. I always try the beef at Japanese restaurants if they have it. I thought the Beef Yukke at Izakaya Chuji was good, but this one was fantastic. The beef itself had a great flavour which I couldn't really pick. They served it with a quail egg rather than a standard egg, which made for great presentation but also a different flavour.

The soft shell crab was another dish I was looking forward to. It didn't disappoint, being crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside and crab flavours coming through clearly.

Left: Beef Tartar. Right: Soft Shell Crab with Sour Cream Mayo.

The Diced Scotch Fillet Steak with Potato looked like your regular Steak and Potato dish, but the flavours were anything but. The steak had this great garlic and mushroom type sauce that I really liked.

The Roast Duck with Eggplant was probably the only dish that didn't "wow" me. The duck texture was good, but the BBQ spare ribs type sauce didn't do it for me.

Left: Diced Scotch Fillet with Potato. Right: Roast Duck with Eggplant.

Finally to finish up, we first had some Horoki Special Fried Rice. The rice had that nice "wok" flavour that I always love. It was also slightly spicy and contained chicken and Chinese sausage type meats. A simple fried rice dish done to perfection.

The Rice Noodle with Cod Roe Butter was one that slowly got to you. When you first eat it, it doesn't taste that different, but then the cod roe burst in your mouth providing flavour, and the butter flavour leaves a nice flavour just as you finish swallowing the noodles.

Left: Horoki Special Fried Rice. Right: Rice Noodle with Cod Roe Butter.

After the meal, you get a complimentary Almond Pannacotta type dessert. The perfect way to end the meal, on a high from the sweet dessert and knowing that it was free.

I can now see why there was a queue to get into the restaurant and it was voted Best Cheap Eats Restaurant. Horoki is definitely a great place to eat, with it unique menu with influence from many cuisine. It all sounds weird but works a treat. I thought the food here was even better than at Koko. Even though Koko was a different dining experience, with high class surroundings and service, the food at Horoki had so many "wow" dishes whereas Koko had dishes that were done well but nothing that surprised me. I would put Horoki in the same category as Movida in that they are both tiny restaurants where the quality of the food can be strictly controlled and the dishes are so innovative.

Apart from the iced water incident, the service on the whole was very good. The atmosphere is good inside, with the small number of seats giving a cosy feeling. The open bar gave a good view of the chef cooking up a storm in the kitchen. There were occasional moments where the flame from the kitchen would fire up and give you some entertainment even. I will definitely be going back to Horoki and trying all the other dishes on the menu that I didn't get to try this time.

Overall Rating: 16/20, Loved nearly all the dishes, with quite a few giving me a "wow" moment. The prices were also excellent, with the meal costing about $30 including drinks.

Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20: Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.


  1. Terrible quality photos

  2. Anonymous, I know. I was so disappointed that I didn't have my digital camera since the food was so great and I wanted to capture it properly.

    Next time I go, I will definitely take better photos.

  3. I could DRAW better picture of the food on the napkins.

  4. Anonymous, yes I get the point, the photos are extremely bad. But that's the results you get when you combine a dark room and a mobile phone camera.

  5. Food Addicka8/17/2007 12:16 PM


    I can't decide whether to eat here or not.

    The photos are so shit I wouldn't know if the food would taste as good or as bad as the images I see.

    Disappointed to say the least.

    I hope you get done for this Mr. Do