Very cheap eats: Kimurakan Cafe

Personally, I am not a fan of Don Dons. Sure, it’s cheap and close to home, but I am not that into luke warm food, to tell you the truth. Thankfully, if you’re game enough to walk another couple of blocks, you’ll reach Kimurakan; which is a humble little place with lots of love in China Town. Their menu is broken up into something like 6 sections: sushi/sashimi, snacks, mains, rice dishes, udon, ramen and bentoh boxes. Way too many decisions to make. If you’re there for lunch, you’ll be offered the lunch menu, which is a shortened version of their larger menu that is a few dollars cheaper because it’s…well…lunch and their servings are designed to make you not fall asleep at your desk from fullness. The prices of their food vary from $3 for miso soup to $32 for a main of sushi and sashimi combination, which I have never been game enough to try due to their overly generous portions to begin with. I have been to Kimurakan many times before, but because of the weather, I went for their Kaisen udon (combination seafood udon soup) $10.50, while my dining companion went for the Chicken Curry Bentoh, $11 and we shared a serve of Oyster Katsu $6. The oyster katsu is oyster which has been crumbed in panko, deep fried and served with kewpie mayonnaise and teriyaki sauce. Needless to say, it was rich. The broth of my dish was not overloaded with MSG, which is usually the problem with these places, and very generous with their seafood. There were about 5 prawns, cuttlefish and salmon floating amongst the wakame, shitake mushrooms and the baby spinach; none of which were overcooked. The only downfall is there was so much food I couldn’t finish it. The bentoh came with the chicken curry, rice, gyoza, ankake tofu, salad, jelly and a choice between miso, green tea or iced tea. My companion opted for the miso and happily ate everything in front of her. I personally didn’t try any of her meal, so I cannot comment. They serve the usual suspects of beer, but I really only ever concentrate on their stubbies of Kirin and Asahi which they sell for $5.50. They also have a very short wine list and serve sake. Unfortunately, I don’t pay attention to this because they are BYO and there is a Vintage Cellars across the street. If you chose to partake in their BYO, there is a $3 surcharge. Another up for Kimurakan is that they have both attentative and polite service, and as you will notice, their staff are all Japanese. I am not being racist here, but when Japanese food is cooked by Japanese people, you can actually tell the difference. A great place to kick back and have a few casual beers with friends, great food and a laugh. It is completely unpretentious, but not scummy enough to make you feel like you have to move on right after you finish your meal.Other notable dishes;-Ika hot soup, $3.50A hot and spicy soup with calamari. I was hooked on this for about 6 months, but it is quite a thick broth.-Unagi Don, $10.50Eel with teriyaki sauce on rice with salad. Very hearty and well cooked, fresh and well presented with a good balance of rich and clean.-Salmon Don, $11.50As above, but with salmon. The huge chunk of salmon is pan fried, but still rare in the middle, a surprising treat.-Salmon Bentoh, $12.50Bentoh with salmon with teriyaki sauce, gyoza, ankake tofu, salad, jelly and choice of drink. Great if you’re starving.-Nabe Udon, $14Udon noodle soup in a hot pot with seafood and chicken and a raw egg cracked over the top which cooks as you eat it. Very rich and filling, great textures and flavours.

Kimurakan Cafe238 Little Bourke Street

Melbourne 3000