Ajitoya – Japan’s Kitchen
82 Charles St
Seddon, VIC 3011
03 9687 1027
After years of sitting in my wishlist, I finally made it to this quaint little Japanese restaurant in Seddon. Castletime and Beanstalk met up with me for dinner here during the week where Fatbee was away. It isn’t a big space up front, but thankfully there was a courtyard at the back with more tables.
Ajitoya’s meant to be a Japanese home-style kitchen serving simple fare for Melbourne’s West. The menu is pretty extensive… with donburis, udons, sobas and a lovely range of izakaya-style shared dishes. At the time of visit, the menu also had some rather quirky but strong Operational Notes telling guests not to “play drums with your chopsticks”, that “kids are a very welcome part of our shop, aloof parents are not” and “if you don’t like something, that’s totally ok, just don’t post it online”.
たこ焼き Takoyaki $10
Osaka style ball shaped things, diced octopus inside, ajitoya sauce, mayo, red ginger, nori flakes, katsuobushi flakes – so yum!
Either way, the three of us decided to share all of our dishes, and we started off with a serve of octopus balls that came piping hot with crisp outsides. I liked how the insides were soft and milky-melty with umami laden nuggets of octopus pieces.
エビの天ぷら Prawn Tempura $14
Crispy tempura prawn with ajitoya green tea salt and dipping sauce
Next up came a serve of prawn tempura, which once again came delightfully hot and crispy. It was interesting to have it with the matcha salt, but I’d have preferred it with the lighter and slightly sweeter dipping sauce that usually comes with tempuras.
豚の生姜焼き Pork Shogayaki $10
Thinly sliced pork, lightly pan fried with onion and ginger sauce
定食 Teishoku Bento (add $7) – rice, miso soup, salad
We next had a serve of pan fried sliced pork made up into a bento set with rice, miso soup and a light salad. The miso soup here was lovely and homemade. The pork was nice and succulent, but I wouldn’t have minded if it was slightly sweeter and less salty to help balance the flavours out.
冷やしきつね Cool Foxy Soba/Udon $13
Fried sweet tofu strips, wakame (seaweed), tempura puffs, on cold noodles with a pour over sauce
We next shared a serve of cold soba noodles. It came lightly seasoned and the soba noodles had a nice bite. I enjoyed the marinated pieces of tofu strips and the scatter of tempura puffs gave it a nice textural crunch. A perfect noodle dish on that warmish 29ºC Summer evening.
唐揚げ Karaage $10
Home made deep fried chicken. Outside crunchy, inside squishy
We also shared a serve of deep fried chicken pieces, which came (yet again) nice and crispy hot. My companions weren’t that excited about it, but I liked how succulent the insides were.
黒ごまアイスBlack Sesame Ice Cream $5
抹茶パフェ Parfait $11
Desert jumbled madness
Our meal ended nicely with serves of green tea and black sesame ice cream for Castletime and Beanstalk, while I had a massive serve of parfait. I’m becoming a fan of Japanese parfaits because the presence of sugar-frosted cornflakes gives it a nice crunch along with a sweet and savoury component to the dessert.
Overall it was a pretty pleasant meal that we had here. Portion sizes are nice and petite, allowing you to sample more dishes, which is how I like to have my meals. I also liked how most of the fried dishes came fresh, hot and crispy.
My only slight quibble is the strongly worded Operational Notes on the menu… I was a bit “???” about it. After some thinking, I suspect some customers may think it as being a bit passive-aggressive, but from my perspective I see it as a family establishment that’s quite personally attached to its business. Looking at it from another perspective, you could say it’s a reminder that we all should learn to be less rude to people in the service industry.