Maru Shih Japanese Cafe
49 Toorak Road
+61 3 9077 9108
After spending 1 week in Japan, The Angmoh returned, only to still crave the cuisine. Our attempt to rock up at Ichi Ichi Ku without a booking on a Sunday evening fell through and we desperately searched for a Japanese joint in South Yarra. This is how we chanced upon Maru Shih Japanese Cafe.
Maru Shih is a small, easily-missed sushi shop along Toorak Road. Don’t let the shabby cramped space on ground level fool you. I was charmed down to my itsy bitsy toes as the waitress ushered us up the stairs. We walked past a painted bookcase, a corner table with little hearts, a seductive love seat, and settled down at a table overlooking Toorak Road.
The menu is simple and contains all the usual Japanese items in any local Japanese dining hole. The sashimi, having only the choice of salmon, was served fresh and sweet. The okonomiyaki here is one of the better ones I’ve come across in Melbourne. It is served quartered, with a good mix of batter and cabbage. The bases are crisp with a soft middle that isn’t too soggy, and the pancake is topped with a balanced drizzle of Japanese mayo and teriyaki sauce. Our choice of sushi roll was a simple affair of avocado and prawn.
The Angmoh was in the mood for Japanese curry, something which I’m not a huge fan of. He had katsu curry udon. I can only describe the soup to be a watered down version of Japanese curry and not to say it wasn’t good, it’s just not quite my thing. The chicken katsu on the other hand was a perfectly crumbed and deep-fried piece of chicken breast. The batter was well-seasoned and, despite soaking in the soup, didn’t lose its crunch.
I loved my tempura udon. The tempura was non-oily and housed plump juicy prawns. The soup was gentle and sweet, perhaps made from a stock of kombu. I slurped up the entire bowl right down to the very last drop.
The Angmoh and I had no complaints at Maru Shih. Service is authentically Japanese and the food is unpretentious and satisfying. Give Maru Shih a chance the next time you’re in the mood for a no-fuss Japanese meal.