Sunday, November 22, 2009

Aya Japanese Restaurant

1193 High Street
Armadale 3143 Victoria
Ph: (03)9822 9571

I love Japanese food, so am constantly on the search for good Japanese restaurants. A flick through the Entertainment Book came up with Aya Japanese Restaurant.

Aya is located inconspicuously on High Street in Armadale. Upon entering the restaurant, it feels slightly and disjointed. The high booth seating creates physical and mental barriers between diners. It's good if you like some privacy, bad since it detracts from the ambience of the restaurant.

We are seated in the very corner area just inside the glass shop front. It's was a cramped spot, but the restaurant is small and I didn't mind that. The little touches of art made it all a very nice space. The only annoying part was a small water fountain that buzzed the whole night due to the pump.

For entrees, we decide on Agedashi Tofu, Tofu Salad, Gyu Tataki and Nasu Dengaku. The Agedashi Tofu was very good, with the tofu crisp and with a good sweet soy sauce. The Tofu Salad was not bad too, with the vegetables providing nice crunch. But regular readers know tofu isn't my thing, so I was looking forward to the Gyu Tataki. Besides sashimi, tataki is my next favourite thing at Japanese restaurants. This tataki was presented really beautifully, but strangely, it wasn't very good. With tataki, obviously the beef is key, and this was nice beef, but the sauce plays a really big part too. This sauce was just sour, and didn't have any hints of savoury and sweet. Finally, the Nasu Dengaku, looked a bit, ummmm, interesting. The roasted pieces of eggplants were actually quite tough and held together really stubbornly by the miso paste. It wasn't particularly to my liking as I would have preferred it to be softer.

The Sushi and Sashimi platters were really excellent. There was a large variety of fish, all very fresh. I would definitely come back just for the sushi and sashimi.

The mains were Tempura, Eye Fillet Beef and Teriyaki Chicken. Surpringsly, the Tempura prawns and vegetables were very good. The coating was nice and light and kept the flavours fresh. The eye fillet beef was tender with a good sauce. Finally, the teriyaki chicken was surprisingly good too. The chicken was grilled to give a nice flamed tasted, and the teriyaki sauce not overly sickeningly sweet.

The desserts consisted of a Plum Wine Jelly (not shown), Sticky Date Pudding and Blueberry Cheesecake. The plum wine jelly tasted exactly as you would think. The sticky date pudding (traditional Japanese?) was good but a tad too sweet. The blueberry cheesecake though, was insanely divine and had me going back for more and more.

Service was serviceable. All requests were fulfilled, but at times they were almost too polite and made us nervous.

Overall, I was quite impressed with the food. I was suprised at how good most things were. There was nothing innovative, but the regular Japanese dishes were done well. In terms of price, the food is not excessively expensive either. I think this will be another Japanese restaurant that I will frequent often.

Overall Rating: 15/20, The sushi and sashimi is very good.

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.

Aya on Urbanspoon

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