Sunday, May 11, 2008

Shira Nui - Birthday Dinner

Having been to Shira Nui previously for dinner and their weekday lunch, I have been trying to go back so many times it's not funny. Ever time I ring to book, with more than a weeks notice, they still say they are full. So finally, with my birthday approaching, I asked my work mates if they wanted to go with me. Eventually, we decided to go mid week so we could get a booking. Even then, the staff told us we could only book for the 6-8pm session. We would find out later how seriously they meant that.

Since most of us went straight from work, traffic was really bad. Eventually, everyone arrived, about 30 minutes past 6. We ordered some dishes to share and since I had been there previously, everyone trusted me to order.

Here is a shot of my ever ageing face, with Tin, sporting his Canon polo and giving Canon some free advertising. Also at the dinner were Tin's sons, John, Wei, Jessie, Keiran and Esther.

I ordered a couple of Sushi and Sashimi Moriawase. The presentation of the dish looks great, and with tastes to match. I loved all the extremely fresh fish, with the tangy salad to match. The sushi has the perfect combination of the rice cooked just right, with appropriate vinegar and wasabi levels.

The Sushi Main was again just more delicious fish and rolls.

An absolute favourite from last visit was the Pan Fried Salmon Sushi. I got two serves of this so everyone could get at least a piece. The salmon is superbly seared on the outside whilst still raw inside. It is topped with pepper and chilli powder I think. It just melts away in your mouth. Superb.

The Seafood Udon Soup was a good cleansing dish. The broth contained all the flavours of the seafood and the noodles were slurped up quickly.

The Slow Cooked Pork was so good that we got a second serving. The meat just feel away from the bones as Keiran commented. It had a sweet type sauce with it, coating the stewed vegetables as well.

The Pan Fried Chicken had a crisp skin and a teriyaki type sauce. The meat was still tender and I really liked the vegetables from this dish.

I loved the food so much that I forgot to photograph the Lamb Cutlets as well as the Steak. Both meaty dishes were cooked to perfection, still tender. The cutlets sat on a bed of fresh salad with a tangy soy type sauce while the beef had roast vegetables.

The ambience at Shira Nui is calming and subdued. I think our table was making the most noise. We were laughing and talking to each other. I think this rubbed off on the other patrons and made them more relaxed too as the room started to buzz more and the noise levels rose a little. The clean feel of the restaurant and good lighting makes for a comfortable meal.

The service was good and friendly. The waitresses were efficient and requests were fulfilled quickly. Even when they forgot something, when they later remembered, they brought it and apologised.

The meal was very pleasant indeed, with only a small hiccup at the end. We knew that we were suppose to be out of there by 8pm, but we didn't how strictly they meant that. It turns out, they were very serious. When we finished our meals, we sat around talking and no one really looked at the time. We were discussing desserts already and were ready to order. The waitress then brought our bill and said they needed the table. We asked if we could order desserts but she said they really needed the table, meaning no we couldn't have dessert. There were some grumblings as everyone wanted to try the creme brulees that I kept telling them were really good. The waitress could have come and asked us if we wanted dessert a bit earlier when they were clearing the tables and saw us just sitting around. Instead, we were left slightly disappointed with no dessert.

So for dessert, we headed off to Pancake Parlour nearby. The service at Pancake Parlour as I pre-warned everyone, was "fantastic". How right I would turn out to be. It took four requests and three wait staff to finally get our water. Requests for extra cutlery and cups took forever. It's amazing how awful the service is at Pancake Parlour for the high prices they charge. At least I made sure I got my money's worth in maple syrup.

Back to Shira Nui. Having tried more of the food there than last time, I'm still very impressed with how good the food is. The service is also very friendly and efficient. I would have gave them another point this time, but due to the problem with desserts, I'm giving them the same score as last time.

Overall Rating: 15/20, Food, especially sushi and sashimi, is very good. Staff personable and efficient.

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.

Shiranui on Urbanspoon


  1. Happy Birthday Thanh!!!

    That all looks fabulous, especially the sushi and sashimi moriwase!

    I've noticed that the service at pancake parlour Glen Waverley is pretty crap too, lol. Same stuff that you mentioned - taking forever to get things, having to ask 2 or 3 times etc. Do you think they might be understaffed? The night we were there there was only one waitress covering our half of the restaurant. Poor girl!

    I find the Doncaster one has better service, and it's closer to me anyway. Yay for Donnie Pancake Parlour!!

    Happy Birthday again!

    xox Sarah

  2. Thanks Sarah. The sushi and sashimi were top notch.

    The night I was there, and usually most other times, they are not understaffed. That night, there was about 4 of them covering only a few tables and they were just standing around. I tried to wave quite a few of them to our table but still nothing. The other thing that makes them less efficient is that instead of getting what you ask, they pass that message on to another person, who then either forgets or just doesn't do it.

    The Doncaster one is better for sure, but still not fantastic. But at least you only have to ask once and then just wait.

    What Pancake Parlour Glen Waverley needs is a head waiter or someone to run it better. Or train their staff better. Or set Gordon Ramsay on them. :-)

  3. Happy belated birthday! I'm glad to hear that Shira Nui met expectations in regards to the food as I'm planning on taking my family out for a meal there.

    As for pancake parlour - I think it's luck of the draw, the last two times I went there with my girlfriends, we had amazingly fast and efficient service, and the strawberry/rhubarb pancakes were nomnomnomfantastic!

  4. Thank you Ellie. Food and service at Shira Nui is great. It was just weird they didn't warn us to order dessert before kicking us out.

    You must be quite lucky then. I've never had good service at Glen Waverley Pancake Parlour yet. Everytime I have to ask for waiter at least twice. The strawberry/rhubarb pancakes is delicious. Although by the end of it, the huge amount of cream was getting a bit much for me so I pushed that aside.

  5. This place kicks some serious ass. Best sushi in Melb. Next time go for omakase.