AFTER watching the excellent anglo-japanese crime thriller Giri/Haji on Netflix, I was inspired to go out for a Japanese meal.
I was a bit on edge after watching the show, so before leaving the house I practised a middle-aged version of the “crane kick” from The Karate Kid.
Thankfully there were no Yakuza lurking in Leederville, so we could safely eat at MON Taste of Japan on Newcastle Street.
MON’s menu had a decent range of dishes including sashimi, bento boxes, don rice bowls and udon noodles.
It really excelled on the drinks front with a good range of chilled and hot sake, umeshu (plum wine) and shochu (a spirit usually distilled from rice, barley or sweet potatoes).
The small restaurant was packed on a Tuesday night and food delivery drivers were lingering outside, but we managed to secure a table in the alfresco.
I kicked things off with the ten-don (king prawn and veggie tempura $16).
The presentation was great with two deep-fried king prawns and a vegetable “fritter” perched on a bed of rice in a gorgeous ceramic bowl.
I tend to steer clear of tempura as sometimes the batter is too thick and the underlying meat or seafood is poor quality, but these prawns tasted fantastic and had a pleasant fishy kick.
The veggie tempura “fritter” including carrot, potato and green beans, had a nice crunch and complemented the seafood well.
My only gripe was the lack of benito sauce on my sticky rice: After a few mouthfuls the sweet sauce was gone and I was left staring at a mountain of rice.
Apart from that it was a lovely dish.
The kids’ cooked tuna and cucumber sushi rolls ($11 for 5) and steamed gyoza ($10 for 6) were going down a treat.
I can confirm the pork and veggie dumplings had a fine minced filling and the steamed casings were light and delicious. First class gyoza.
Unfortunately I was a bit slow off the mark and the sushi was gone before I could try it, but I’ll take that as a vote of approval from the kids.
Across the table my wife sounded like she was recreating the famous scene from When Harry met Sally, with every mouthful met with groans of pleasure.
“I want to lick the plate it’s so good,” she said.
“There’s a moreish, slightly sweet dressing on the salad, and the teriyaki sauce is lovely and thick.
“The strips of beef are good quality and this is a delicious meal that doesn’t leave you feeling bagged-up afterwards.”
The BYO restaurant seemed popular; with people of all ages enjoying a meal out early in the week.
MON Taste of Japan serves up great food in a lively spot in the heart of Leederville.
It’s well worth a visit and you won’t need to do the “crane kick”.
MON Taste of Japan
14/663 Newcastle Street, Leederville
Phone 9227 1074
by STEPHEN POLLOCK