Sun hotter than the inside of a party pie.
Inglewood quieter than Michael Clarke’s endorsement team.
My strange experiment in psychogeography – wandering around Perth suburbs to get a true feel for their history, culture and social origins – ended at Mori Japanese Kitchen.
Tucked away in the corner of Inglewood Town Square, it’s off the main drag and easy to miss, but thanks to my pretentious ramble, which led to a nearby oriental statue, it appeared on my radar.
This was a no-frills Japanese joint with basic wooden tables, exposed brickwork and order at the counter.
Playing in the background was canned piano music – like something you’d hear if you pressed the demo button on a Clavinova – and it reminded me a bit of the comedy pianist Victor Borge.
Accompanying the music was the clatter of pots and pans from the kitchen, situated behind a thin bamboo screen, and the crackle of the deep fat fryer, which was so loud it threatened to drown out the muzak.
Then an American tourist couple walked in, dripping in sweat, and made a big fuss about sitting directly under the air con and perusing the menu like they were at The Savoy in London.
It all made for a very surreal and slightly bizarre backdrop.
It got even more Fawlty Towers when the lady behind the till knocked over a glass from a high counter and it smashed into smithereens on the floor.
I felt sorry for her as it can happen to anyone, but it was enough for the American couple who asked her something about the menu, then quietly walked out, preferring to brave the desert-like heat instead.
With all this going on, I was hastily re-assessing my dabblings in psychogeography, but thankfully when my chicken katsu curry ($18.90) arrived it was very decent.
Nice curry sauce with a slightly peppery heat, moist tender chicken with crispy batter, and a refreshing little green salad on the side. There was also a tub of sticky rice which went well with the sauce and crispy chook.
It was nothing spectacular but the chicken was good quality, not greasy and it was well executed. I thought the size was just about right, but some might have wanted a bit more on the plate for the price.
The basic menu had all the old favourites covered including inside out sushi roll, sashimi, udon soup, bento, salad, and sides including takoyaki, gyoza, karaage and edamame.
Mori also did some Korean dishes like bibimbap, a rice bowl topped with seasoned sautéed vegetables, marinated meat (usually beef), a fried egg sunny side-up, and finished with a sprinkle of sesame and a dollop of a sweet-spicy-savoury bibimbap sauce.
I took home some cooked tuna and avocado ($14.50) and teriyaki chicken ($14.90) sushi for dinner and they were very enjoyable – some nice sesame seeds on the outside of the rice wheels and good quality tuna and chicken with just the right seasoning. The chicken had a pleasant sweet tang to it.
So despite all the surreal goings-on, the food was actually pretty decent.
My only gripe would be the price point. If you’re going for a no-frills eatery then the prices should reflect that, but a chicken katsu bento was $23.90 and the teriyaki chicken sushi only seemed to come in one size at ($14.90) which was too much for one person, although there was a kids version.
As a fleet of mums with prams flooded out the nearby Bob Daniels Community Centre, it was time to hit the streets again and see what other kooky diversions psychogeography had in store.
Mori Japanese Kitchen
895b Beaufort St, Inglewood
by STEPHEN POLLOCK