Samurai, Hawthorn

Been eating a lot around the Hawthorn/ Glenferrie area lately. I never realised there was so many good places! It's definitely worth visiting, and the whole road down from Glenferrie Station has plenty to choose from. This Japanese restaurant isn't very big, so if you don't want to wait, you should try and get there early. We arrived around 5:40pm and the restaurant was already half full even though it had only opened 10 minutes ago.

The restaurant has a very authentic feel to it, with J-Pop playing in the background and various paintings of geishas up on the walls. The lantern lights give the place a very asian feeling, and the staff mostly communicated in Japanese. 

For three people, we ordered a dinner box as well as two other mains. The dinner box allows you to choose your own soup, entree, main and a drink or dessert for $16 (or $17 if your drink/ dessert is more than their designated $2.50). I decided to choose the miso soup, gyoza (traditional Japanese fried dumplings), chicken katsu curry and a green tea milkshake. The green tea milkshake is a speciality of Samurai, and I can see why. It tastes pretty much like drinking green tea ice cream, and is quite refreshing, especially as my other dishes were slightly on the saltier side. The miso soup had surprisingly large amounts of tofu and seaweed in it, compared to most miso soups you get from restaurants. However, there was slightly too much miso paste in the soup, causing it to taste slightly saltier than your average soup. The chicken katsu curry (fried chicken) was good, mildly spicy and came with some thinly sliced carrots and leafy greens on the side. On first glance, the proportion of rice to the curry seemed unbalanced, but towards the end you find that there is actually enough rice to match the chicken. The chicken itself was very tender, coated in a thin layer of batter. Again, it was slightly on the salty side, but this was balanced well with the drink. 

The other two mains we ordered were the Prawn Tempura Udon ($9) and the Unadon with miso soup (eel rice, $13). The prawn tempura was slightly different to the typical tempura you get in restaurants; the batter was not crunchy at all, but more of a soft, slightly chewy texture. I felt like the prawns were slightly small, given the amount of udon and the price of the dish. The udon itself was average, it wasn't particularly chewy, but it wasn't too soggy either. 

The unadon came with a small jug of extra sauce on the side, to give the rice some flavour or to add more flavour to your unagi, which I thought was quite nice. Often you are left with a slightly bland dish by the end when you run out of sauce, so it was great to see they had thought to give more on the side. The unagi itself was slightly chewy, as there was some tendon like textures that perhaps could have been avoided had it been cooked for longer. 

I will most likely visit this restaurant again, as I am a big fan of Japanese cuisine, to try some of their other dishes such as soba, sashimi and the sushi. 

Samurai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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