25 Market Lane
I used to be incredibly fond of Shoya - they had a divine unadon set. Generous slivers of eel in a sleek teriyaki coat, a little pot of fragrant broth, a bowl of steaming rice with seaweed shards. They took it off the lunch set menu a few years back. Since then i have been back several times for the lunch sets which fail to excite me. I have sampled the carte menu but it was rather forgettable, aside from the gorgeous fresh sashimi served in an exquisite ice bowl. I stayed away from Shoya for a while, but I’m glad I ventured back.
Beef Tataki - Lightly Grilled Beef with Plum & Grated Radish ($12)
Presented beautifully with a tiny quail egg perched on top of a mound of radish, but the beef was sinewy and didn’t melt in your mouth.
Nama Shii Hotate - Scallops, Quail Egg & Shiitake Mushroom ($16.5)
I find myself fairly disheartened when presented with tempura. Shoya’s signature dish defied the norm - the tempura batter was light crunchy and fresh, the bouncy texture of the scallop paste, the rich yolk tempered by the white, the sweetness of the mushroom, the heat from the chilli pepper with the lemon juice all came together to make a more-ish mouthful.
Scampi Kinokoyaki - Grilled Scampi, Japanese Mushrooms & Miso ($28)
Scampi can occasionally have a soft grainy consistency. Another one of their signature dishes, the scampi was fresh, plump and smooth. Accompanied with sweet earthy mushrooms, an assortment of shiitake and enoki.
Amiyaki Wagyu Karubi - Grilled Wagyu Beef Rib Marble Score 9+ ($35)
The luscious marbling was nowhere to be found. The beef has failed to shine thus far.
Maguro Steak - Tuna Fillet Steak & Seaweed ($26.5)
It may not be visually appealing, but each bite of the lightly seared tuna is enhanced by the savoury seaweed wrap and the delicious housemade sauce. The pink bit of the tuna in the middle was a sticking point, I just wanted it to melt in my mouth along with the rest of it.
I’ve always adored the Ochazuke at Shoya. This is the closest I could find to hot steaming fluffy rice in a light broth after the unadon set was taken off the menu. Topped with little bits of salmon flakes. I’ve always had an affinity for rice in broth. Perhaps it was the allure of a forbidden thing when I was growing up - everyone seemed to worry that I would gulp down the rice without chewing. Marion Grasby from Masterchef fame put up a lovely recipe for Thai Rice Soup with Prawns, which I have subsequently included an assortment of seafood including oysters and sweet crab. My first attempt was disastrous, the rice continued to cook and I ended up with a lovely pot of porridge. Not what I had intended but still as delicious as promised. But I digress.
Spicy Cod Roe ($9)
This has superseded the salmon as my favourite ochazuke. The delicate mentaiko melts into the soup and makes for a gorgeous mouthful. I could live off this for the rest of my life.
Sour Plum ($6.5)
The sour plum would probably be my last pick. It’s light and strangely refreshing. Almost like a palate cleanser.
Sea Urchin Cheesecake ($12)
My fondness for uni fuels my curiosity for this sweet treat. The cheesecake is delectably warm, slightly savoury - similar to the flavour of japanese cheesecakes but the texture is crumblier. You wouldn’t be able to place the uni without knowing before hand
You can tell just by looking at it - icy cold, perfect creamy consistency. Potent green tea flavour. It ticked all the right boxes. Blueberries and a hint of red bean paste completed this trio.
Shoya truly specialises in the unique and offers a selection on their carte menu you can’t find elsewhere. I’ve been told of the omakase offering but it has never been on the top of my list. After my recent encounter with Shoya, my faith has been renewed and I look forward to the chef’s selection.