Monday, October 29, 2007

Ishiya Stonegrill

So after some confusion over plans on where to eat on Saturday night, we finally sorted ourselves out and all met at Patrick's house. We decided to go to the city to eat at this new Korean place that Dennis had tried. Unfortunately, it was fully booked that night. The state of Melbourne dining is just phenomenal at the moment. You seriously can't just rock up to a restaurant anymore without getting the fully booked response. Even when you do try to book, it's still full unless you give two weeks notice.

Anyway, back to the meal. So we decided to walk back to Ishiya Stonegrill which we drove past. Kevin had eaten there previously and said that it was good. When we got to Ishiya, we were getting ready with more options in case it was full. Luckily, there was a couple of tables left.

We were seated and given drinks menu immediately. I had a bench seat that had a cushion even, very comfortable indeed. They also had proper napkins, I always like that. The other three got teas, iced and green, which they said was really good. My honeydrew juice was also really good. It tasted fresh rather than powdered.

With the meal menu, the waitress thoroughly explained how it all worked. Her presentation was very impress indeed, she must have repeated those words so many times that she didn't miss a beat. We all wanted to get the stonegrill meats. Then, the special of Wagyu beef caught our attention. When we asked what grade it was, a reply of 7 sealed the deal. So Dennis, Patrick and myself got the Wagyu stonegrill while Kevin got the Porterhouse stonegrill. The meals come with a sushi and sashimi entree already. However, the other special of oysters from four regions around Australia got Dennis and I, so we got that too.

The oysters arrived. This waitress didn't explain which one was which. Not to matter, we dug in anyway. They did all taste slightly different, and I preferred the small one the best. I think that's the Coffin Bay one? I have no idea. Two were from Tasmania and two were from South Australia. Anyone have a clue which oyster regions there are in those places?

The Sushi and Sashimi entrees then arrived. It looked great, but our resident Sashimi expert Patrick immediately said the fish was not good. Patrick has been a Sushi/Sashimi chef for 5 years, so he knows his fish. He said that the cut was all wrong and there was lots of fat still on the salmon. Also, it didn't look too fresh. He ate the first piece and confirmed his initial assessment. I tried my fish and yep, all were not good. Every fish didn't have that nice sweet flavour of fresh fish. The texture was also all wrong, almost crumbly. I walked past the kitchen and saw that all the fish had already been pre-sliced and were sitting in cling wrapped dishes. That would explain the texture. It probably has come in and out of the fridge quite a few times.

Not to worry, we were here for the stonegrill meats. The Wagyu arrived with much fan fare on a trolley. The waiter then slapped the meats onto the stonegrill, which are heated to 400 degrees we were told. It started to sizzle like crazy and there was smoke everywhere. When the grills were place on the table, the oil from the meat was splattering everywhere. We dug in immediately. I wanted to try what fairly raw Wagyu tasted like.

I can say definitely that I love Wagyu. Previously, I had only eaten small amounts of it as a small entree or part of sushi. However, to eat a whole slab is such a joy. The flavours of the meat are fantastic, but I love the texture so much. You pop a piece into your mouth and it seriously is so smooth and not chewy at all. It falls apart around your teeth and the juices ooze out. Delicious, I'm definitely eating more Wagyu in future, even with its high prices. I must try what grade 9 is like one day.

Despite being really full, we still wanted to try dessert. We shared this Truffle Ball with Ice Cream. The truffle ball was huge and quite good. Eaten with the chocolate, it provided a nice mix.

The Belgian Cinnamon Waffle with Green Tea Ice Cream was also quite good. The waffle was a bit dry and the cinnamon was a bit too strong, but eaten with the green tea ice cream and red beans, it tasted better.

The atmosphere inside is good. It's not too big an area and doesn't get too loud, but still has some atmosphere. I like the decor, fairly simple but easy on the eye. The lighting is also soft without being dark. They did have this cool counter thing at the front where the wine was stored.

The service was good on the whole. There were some strange things such as bringing out only 3 drinks and then going back for a fourth. Also, water took two requests to get. Otherwise it was efficient.

Overall Rating: 15/20, The Wagyu tasted fantastic just cooked simply on the stonegrill. I think the price of $65 was good value for the whole meal.

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.

Ishiya Stone Grill on Urbanspoon


  1. I would deduct one point off the score for the strange look I got from the waitress after I rejected her suggestion to order an entree as the "main meal portion is quite small"....give me a larger portion then if you are so concerned! haha

  2. Anonymous Kevin, well she took a look at your huge muscled body and thought that you must need more food.

    If they give you a larger portion, you would just eat half of it anyway and have to waste the rest.

  3. You got quite good value for $65.
    Last week we went and paid for $65 just for the food (it was a banquet menu for a birthday) and we had Wagyu beef entree which was about the size of two fingers, sashimi entree (6 small pieces) and then normal meat for the stone grill (beef tenderloin, etc.), oh and ice cream with fruit.

    We could have ordered that from the menu separately and it would have been cheaper. Ripped off I say. Plus the servce was truly crap beyond belief.

  4. Anonymous, it sounds like you would have been better off just ordering off the menu. That way, you could have got more variety of dishes as probably would have worked out cheaper as only the Wagyu was expensive.

    Was the banquet something you organised or its part of their menu?

    The service wasn't great when I went, but it wasn't truly awful. It was average.

  5. Great review. Reminded me how good the wagyu here was, I haven't been for a couple of months. Too long!
    I'll pay closer attention to the sashimi next time, I'd always thought it was very tasty.

  6. Lj104, thank you. The wagyu was really good. And having it sizzling and presented to you on the stone grill is even more fun.

    The sashimi there was pretty ordinary we all thought. If you want to try what really fresh sashimi tastes like, try places like Shoya or Shira Nui. I'm sure you will notice the difference.