The prospect of tasting the new Michelin chef lunch menu at Tetsujin had us in raptures long before we landed in the big smoke of Melbourne’s Emporium.
All poised to board the sushi train, Tinks and I were promptly steered to a completely separate section of the restaurant, where there are hot plates built into every table, and the offering is a little less casual, with more focus given to barbecue flavours.
Team Tetsujin has teamed up with Michelin Awarded Japanese chef Masahiko Yomoda for a new 17-dish lunch menu. The dishes are traditionally Japanese at their core, applied with a modern twist by Chef Yomoda, offering favourites like the 48h beef short rib, soft shell crab, Tetsujin Wagyu steal and smoked eggplant.
Chef Yomoda is classically trained in French cuisine and has worked at the acclaimed French restaurant, Robouchon. When he moved to Tokyo, he received the exclusive Michelin Star award as executive chef at Arbrace Japan.
Upon being handed very extensive menus, we asked to sample a cross section of their star players, with both tasters going halves and comparing notes along the way.
We started with New style sashimi with black sesame and wasabi snow. The popped rice brought the crunch factor and the ponzu jelly and black goma dressing had me munching raw fish like a pro (I’ve had to work on the taste for trying raw fish more lately, it’s a challenge). I find that black goma dressing makes everything a certified classic, besides, even an old shoe. And, as long as the fish is fresh and chilled, which it was, it melts in your mouth and pleases.
One of my stars of the day was the classic Japanese dish Smoked Nasu dengkau (smoked eggplant) with hatcho miso and mixed grains. We ate it as an entree to the heavier meat dishes, but it appears in the Mains section of the menu. It’s a decadently rich vegan dish in its own right and a perfect accompaniment to fish.
We decided to go halves on more dishes so we could get a broader sense of the lunch menu. But by no means did we eat 17 dishes, leaving plenty of opportunity for repeat visits.
The Main Things
The 48 hour beef short rib was a revelation and the clear winner for the day. We also sampled the Japanese Hamburg beef which the waiter said was one of Tetsujin’s signature dishes consisting of Hamburg steak, Nikomi cheese with a demi-glaze. To me it tasted more like meatloaf with cheese on top. It was flavourful and extremely heavy, but it seemed a shame to waste a visit to a Japanese restaurant to get full on a dressed up, naked burger. We both agreed, though that if you’d had a night on the tiles, it would be immediately just the to tonic to save you.
We also savoured the Salmon Teriyaki with Quinoa with onion dressing – the salmon was melt in your mouth tender and the sauce sweet. The popped salmon skin was a perfect foodie targeted garnish but I probably wouldn’t eat it again. The salmon was one of my accomplice’s favourites for the day. All of this deliciousness was washed down with warming miso soup, one of the simpler joys in life. I recommend you go to Tetsujin for lunch next time you’re in the bustling metropolis of Melbourne and can’t face a food court experience. It’s worth seeking out on Level 4.
Winner: 48 hour beef short ribs basted in Korean chilli barbecue sauce and dressed with Asian slaw and spicy BBQ sauce.
TETSUJIN is at Emporium Melbourne on Level 4 (use lifts near Lonsdale St). The collaborative lunch menu is available from 11:30am – 3:00pm Monday to Friday.
Thank you to Harvey PR for your kind invitation.