237 High St
Prahran, VIC 3181
03 9510 2318
Tsukiji is first and foremost a Japanese produce store selling fresh seafood, with their lunches operating as a sideline enterprise. On the days where they do lunches, you can find the menu pasted on a wall at the back of the shop. Choose your dishes and order at the counter.
I first came here a month ago where (to my dismay) I learnt that they don’t serve lunches on Wednesdays. *doh!* However, the owner’s accent was so Japanese-y that I desperately wanted to come back. When I picked my folks from the airport one Tuesday a few weeks later, I bullied them into visiting here.
We arrived 10 minutes before the doors opened at 12 noon… but the Japanese lady very kindly let us in and offered us the only table in the shop (the rest are counter seating) while we waited for them to open up. A lucky move on our part actually… because within 30mins of opening, the place got busy.
It may be useful to note that it’s only a husband and wife team. So you should anticipate slow queues when business is brisk. Your best bet would be to come right at opening time. Being the first in that day, we laughed quietly as we ate and watched everybody else queuing impatiently.
Gyoza (Japanese pork dumpling) $6.00 | Fresh Oyster $6.00
But that’s enough gloating. We selected simple but delectable-looking items from the menu… starting with a serve of gyoza, which came sitting in a pool of fragrant vinegar. We found the filling quite salty and the dumpling skin too firm for our liking.
The oysters, however, were very very fresh… it came with ponzu sauce.
Sashimi Set $15.00
The highlight of our lunch was the sashimi set, which came with seaweed salad, rice and miso soup. All the cuts of fish were of good quality and pristinely fresh, it was very good value for that price. The miso soup came piping hot and it was nice that it wasn’t too salty, although I thought it lacked depth of flavour.
Kingfish Carpaccio $10.00 | Udon Noodle with Tempura Prawn $10.00
The Kingfish carpaccio consisted of raw hamachi seasoned with lemon, sesame oil and black pepper. I personally thought it was a waste to put seasonings over fish that’s so very fresh. Tsukiji’s version of udon noodle soup was quite comforting… the noodles had a good bite to it, but I thought the soup once again lacked depth of flavour.
In the end, our lunch at Tsukiji did not quite hit the mark for us. But we acknowledged that the fresh seafood here is really good. In fact, we noticed that all the fish in the fridge display is cut and packed on the same day of sale itself.
That’s how visit two came into the picture… where we swooped in on Saturday, bringing home a bounty of fresh sashimi and seafood for dinner. Mum likes sake (salmon), dad likes hamachi (Kingfish), while I took the risk and got us maguro toro (fatty bluefin tuna – priced at $290/kg!!).
The one problem with buying sashimi home is cutting it. Our knives at home just aren’t professional sashimi knives, so the fish flesh got a bit macerated. But we feasted splendidly that night with excellent sashimi, although I’d probably avoid buying the pricey (Australian?) tuna toro next time (it just isn’t the same as proper chutoro or ootoro from Japan).
We even bought a pack of fresh Kingfish heads to cook with… just sprinkle salt and grill / bake them in the oven. Scary as it looks, these heads were mighty mighty delicious! It makes me want to buy red snapper heads one day and cook fish head steamboat!
You may be interested in following more of dad and mom’s food discoveries in this compilation post: Attack of the Parentals.