A bit of a change of pace. Thought I’d give a review on the Fusion-Japanese restaurant Kobe Jones in Docklands, Victoria, Australia.
Last night Kaoru and I went to this restaurant – we’d been meaning to try it out for a while.
The restaurant looks very nice, and is quite comfortable – though tables feel a little large. We sat down and a waiter asked if we’d like a drink. To start, we ordered a cocktail (for Kaoru) and a mocktail (for me). Kaoru ordered a Japanese mint cocktail (not sure of the drinks name), while I ordered some fruity mocktail thing.
The cocktails took a very long time to arrive, but we didn’t mind. We figured it was a slow restaurant, and we’d sit back and take it easy. Kaoru planned to have a glass or two of wine along the way. I thought I’d have a nice dessert at the end of a long night.
Anyway, the cocktails arrived. Of course, mine looked like a girl’s drink, so the waiter tried to give the drink to Kaoru. Some restaurants might make an effort to ensure drinks go to the right people, but anyway, the night moved on.
Kaoru’s drink had promised the Shiso mint leaves from Japan. When it arrived, Kaoru noted it only contained Australian mint leaves – no shiso leaves to be seen. Maybe they figure stupid Australian customers wouldn’t know the difference? Thinking back, this should have been a warning sign.
Soon, a waitress came over to take our order. After fumbling with her pad for quite some time, she finally was ready. I asked if they could do any of their “signature dishes” without onions or garlic (given I’m allergic to them) and she went and asked another waiter who came to our table instead to take the order. He wasn’t sure either, and went to the kitchen to talk to the chefs. When he returned he pointed out a couple of things that didn’t have onions or garlic, but there was no indication that the chef would make me anything special. Oh well – some restaurants have gone out of their way to make me special order meals, but not all are quite at that standard I guess.
So I ordered fairly standard Japanese fare – some sushi rolls, some tempura, some agedashi tofu, and to start with, asked for some edamame. Edamame is a common appetiser in Japanese restaurants and pub meals. Kaoru ordered a number of dishes from their “signature dishes” menu – after all, she wanted to taste some of the things Kobe Jones are famous for.
Within about 5 minutes, one of the signature dishes arrived. Kaoru noted it was strange that the Edamame wasn’t here yet, but that arrived a few seconds later. That was ok – so we started to eat, when suddenly every other dish arrived too. It was as if we’d ordered fast food. Clearly these meals were prepared earlier.
Kaoru was not impressed, and decided since she was still drinking her cocktail she wouldn’t even bother with wine. So we began to eat.
The first signature dish she tried consisted of seafood extender. A signature dish said to be made of crab. We’re talking a “signature dish” here – you’re expected to use special ingredients, not some cheap minced fish. Seafood extender. Yes. Seafood extender.
Other “signature” dishes were nothing special. As for my more standard Japanese dishes, they were also nothing special. Though why you’d put some salad on the side of tempura I don’t know. That’s not fusion – that’s just a lazy chef trying to pretend they are doing fusion.
We decided to have dessert somewhere else, and asked the waitress for our bill. When it was presented I gave her my VISA card. We watched as she tried to palm the card off to someone else to sort out – first a waiter taking dirty dishes back to the kitchen, then another waiter serving drinks. Eventually she found someone to take it, and the bill was returned to me for signing. The waiter who brought the bill to the table with my VISA actually stood over me as I signed the docket, and said something along the lines of “So, how was the food without garlic? You know, it really needs some garlic in food to taste good”. It’s an allergy mate – so yes, I really need to know that without garlic my food is going to taste like crap. With garlic I’m apparently going to enjoy it as I slowly die at the table.
He continued to watch me as I hovered over the “tips” part of the bill. So I put a fat zero there and signed it.
There were no farewells from staff as we left. We just got up and headed to the door. As I got to the door a family were entering. The father of the family saw me leaving and asked “Is the food here any good?”. I replied “Hmmm…it’s….ok…”. He laughed, made motions of looking at the menu, and then went somewhere else. I suspect I did his family a favour.
Don’t worry – I won’t make a habit out of doing restaurant reviews. It’s a slow news week. Leopard isn’t out until Friday, so I’m saving up on the OS X bitching until then. :-)