Thursday, April 26, 2007

Shira Nui

Shira Nui is one of a few restaurants that is highly rated and not located near the city. It is instead nestled near a KFC and a Charcoal Chicken on Springvale Road in Glen Waverley.

It was suppose to be a cheap and easy meal with Paul and Kin on a lazy Anzac day holiday. When we got to Glen Waverley, I suggested that we eat at Shira Nui since I'm currently in a Japanese food fetish phase. I had tried to go 3 times previously and they were closed or fully booked so this was the perfect opportunity. Hence we went there to eat and it turned out far from cheap, but it was good.

I had already brought along my bottle of Leura Park Estate 25 d' Gris, that I had picked up at Bellarine Peninsula, to Kin's house, ready to drink. So we brought it along to Shira Nui. It turned out that everyone who was dining inside also brought a bottle of wine. I guess a higher class restaurant means people generally want to drink their wine there as well. The Pinot Gris was absolutely delicious, with a slightly sweet flavour and extremely smooth on the palate.

I had heard so much about the sushi and sashimi, so that was a must order item. We got the Sushi and Sashimi Platter. The salad portion of the platter (pictured in the middle below) was very refreshing. It contained pieces of sashimi, all extremely fresh and full of flavour, mixed in with a daikon and green salad with a tangy vinegrette. It was very similar to the Daikon Sashimi Salad at Horoki, but not quite as good as the Horoki one. The sushi and sashimi was so fresh. The flavours were great, and I really loved the sushi roll and the white fish sushi. I'm not sure what fish were used, I must ask next time.

The other sushi we ordered was the Seared Salmon Sushi. I was not that enthusiastic about it upon seeing it on the menu, but Paul and Kin wanted to try it so we got it. Normally I don't like cooked salmon, but these sushi were unbelievably good. The salmon had a nice charcoal type flavour to it, and the only dressing was some pepper, lemon and one other flavour I couldn't identify. But it worked so well and as advised by the waitress, no soy sauce is required. Just add a little bit of wasabi and it melted perfectly away in your mouth.

The Seafood and Beef Udon was quite good. It was much better than the one at Sakura, which tasted like water with salt added to it. This one had lots of juicy scallops and pippies which I love.

The Grilled King Fish Head was quite good, if a little salty. The meat was very smooth and had good flavours. We ate that head and scavenged it until there was nothing left. I loved the cheek portion, the flesh there is the best part of any fish I reckon. Kin cleaned up the eyes and gelatinous eye sockets while Paul cleaned the fish of all the skin. We were an efficient eating machine. Nothing was to be wasted.

The last dish was a less traditional Japanese dish, Lamb Cutlets. They were done very well still. It had strong flavours and was not overcooked, still slightly pink and very juicy. The fried crumbs on it gave it a crunch, which I liked.

As we were getting very full, we just got one dessert to share. The Green Tea Creme Brulee was beautiful. The creme brulee part was sort of half mousse, half creme brulee. It definitely had green tea flavour and was sweet without being too sweet. The crispy sugar top gave a great contrast. The fruits were covered in sugar syrup and served with cubes (yes cubes, they had cut them into little cubes like ice) of the most delicious ice cream.

The atmosphere in there is relaxed. Since the restaurant is small, the noise levels don't get too high and you can hear each other. The decor is simple, with beige wooden floorboards giving a nice clean look. The long counter benches looked great, with the master sushi and sashimi chef serving customers the whole time.

Service was very good indeed. Upon arriving and quickly being seated, the waitress took our wine to open and put in an ice bucket. We were then served a complimentary fried chicken and daikon salad, very yummy. We were given drinks menus and once that was done, we got food menus. When each dish was finished, plates were cleared away quickly. Then at the end of the night, we were given a glass of iced water each, just what I needed actually.

Overall Rating: 15/20, Food and service were great, but serving size is quite small for the prices.

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. I would have enjoyed the experience a bit better if it weren't for some explicit cursing!!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Anonymous, I told you to stop cursing, all the other customers were looking at you. :-)

    Lingy, thanks for commenting, I guess?? Hope you keep reading the blog. Maybe you might feel the need to comment on another post soon. I look forward to reading it. 8-Þ

  4. Hi thanh,

    interested in doing side by side judging between this place and Jamon Sushi?

    Btw, he has BLACKMORE wagyu lunch and dinner special coming up soon b/w 8-12 May 07.

  5. Anonymous, I would love to try Jamon Sushi and do a comparison to Shira Nui. Are you going to join me for that judging? Drop me an email if you are interested as my friends are starting to protest to the rising cost of eating at expensive places all the time.

    Thanks for the info about the Wagyu lunch and dinner special. I'll look into that. I love eating wagyu beef. I recently saw an ad in the paper that sold them and was going to check out their website soon and buy some if its not too expensive.

  6. Hi thanh,
    Jamon sushi won't come cheap but you will get what you pay for for sure.

    FYI, here is the link about that wagyu beef:

    I am still about to try it yet I can't help but be awed with his finesse. Head to tail cooking at its finest!

  7. Hi Anonymous, thanks for the links. The food looks wonderful, especially the raw wagyu which looks so tempting. I love raw beef and always order it as I have written numerous times in my blog posts about Japanese restaurants.

    How do I become an influential food writer so that I can get invited to places like Jamon to try things?

    I did a quick Google search on the place yesterday and I also came to the conclusion that it wasn't going to be cheap. It only seats about 13 people, so that probably means they have to charge very high prices. But it does look very good, so I do want to go and try it.

  8. Stop being cheap Thanh.

    We all know you can afford it with your coporate pay from both your job and business

  9. Sorry to disappoint you Mr Anonymous, but my corporate job does not pay well at all and my business is only just getting off the ground, I keep putting money in but can't take any out yet. You can pay for me since you have the high paying corporate job and a bigger own business. :-)

  10. Yo thanh,
    finally I pay a visit to Jamon's Wagyu degustation.

    One thing I can say for sure. If that dego is part of his regular menu, no Japanese restaurant serving wagyu in Melbourne or else Australia would stand a chance against him. That's just my opinion.

    I paid around 100$ in Shiranui for just normal fish, nothing really that fancy. While it's great, I would be hard pressed to make a return visit there for that price. I don't think I am as satisfied like in Jamon. Slight price difference for his wagyu give me heaps more satisfaction.

    This is excepting really special place i.e. Tempura Hajime, of course, =).

  11. Hi Anonymous,

    Ah I'm so jealous. I saw the link you sent to Tomato's post and it did look fantastic.

    Did every dish have wagyu in it? Was it the really really good wagyu? And lastly, did it cost $150 as shown in the post?

    Well I think I can rule out Tempura Hajime for a while. I saw on the Tomato blog that its booked out until August, that's crazy. :-)

  12. It was 120$.
    I would say MOST have it.
    as far as I remember it goes like

    *Oyster with pear (appetiser)
    *Oyster with different seasoning
    *Oyster with oxtail soup
    *Wagyu Ox tongue. Think of the taste like the cross between agar agar and roast beef, =)
    *Wagyu Tataki ( can't remember the cut)
    *Futomaki with vegie and rump
    *Futomaki with vegie and sirloin
    *Nigiri Jamon, yes it is that Spanish Ham !
    *Wagyu ox tail soup
    *Porterhouse and sirloin steak

    I would say most are great but the most outstanding one is that rump cut for that first futomaki roll.
    Just a sample as big as my finger tip is enough to coat my throat with undescribable savory fat for 15-20 minutes!
    How amazing is that! Sadly I'm bad with alcohol otherwise his suggested wine would even make it better experience, =(.

    I may get the cut/order wrong so don't take me on this sequence.

  13. Anonymous, $120 is very expensive. I think I would only go for a very special occasion.

    The dishes sound great though, I love oysters and wagyu.

    The Wagyu Ox Tongue sounds weird, like roast beef and agar agar. That just gives me an image of pieces of roast beef inside agar agar, which doesn't sound too appealing.

    Wagyu tataki I would love and request more hehehe. I love any beef tataki and have written about how much I love it whenever I eat it at Japanese restaurants.

    And Jamon in a Japanese restaurant? Hmmmm, as long as it works though.

    I'm surprised they didn't do Seared Wagyu with a blow torch. Normally that's what I always see on the TV shows when they do expensive Wagyu.

    Was it filling or were you left wanting more in terms of quantity, not quality.

  14. It is a very filling meal not just like super-petit degustation where every dish is just like a picture!
    Seared wagyu is that finishing dish porterhouse and sirloin steak.
    He didn't use blow torch. I guess he used charcoal and wire mesh.

  15. Thats good to hear, I would hate it if I paid that much for a meal which was great, but not filling quantity wise.

    I thought they would do a seared Wagyu, that would taste perfect.

    From your great review, I must try to go there one day. It will have to be a special occasion for me to spend so much for a meal.