The boutique clothing stores and throng of scantily clad ladies are MIA on Greville Street at 7:30 on a Thursday night, but that doesn't mean there's no reason to visit Greville. In an unassuming shop front near the Chapel Street end is a tiny but welcoming Japanese Restaurant - Sushi Aka Tombo.
There are a handful of two seater tables, whilst the rest of the diners behind the sushi bar. In the corner is the source of the hot dishes, a 4 burner stove. There is one sushi chef, a chef manning the stoves and two waitresses - as mentioned previously - it's tiny.
We decide to start with two sashimi plates, a red and white. We order "Toro" from the specials menus (the belly meat from a blue fin tuna - very rare in Australia), and a kingfish sashimi. Both come out decorated beautifully with a garnish of Okra/Carrot/Radish. The kingfish was great, very fresh and exactly what I expected from this highly regarded place - no mind blower. On the other hand with my first bite of Tuna, I felt that magical feeling you received when you know you've just eaten something very special. The fattiness of the mighty fish added an extra depth to the flavour, whilst there was a texture that could only be described as a "melt in your mouth" feeling - the deft knife work helped. An expensive but invaluable experience.
We followed the sashimi with two hot dishes, a mixed Tempura & Sukiyaki. The tempura arrived first, mixed fresh vegetables and some seafood battered in a oil-less crispy batter. Very good tempura, and the flavour and freshness of the seafood and vegetables were maintained. Next came the Sukiyaki, in a ceramic pot - fresh from the stove. Wagyu beef was used - and immediately noticed. Each tender bite was delivered with an excellent sticky sweet sukiyaki sauce and vermicelli. This dish is a must have when coming here - the best sukiyaki I’ve had - period.
The only let down of the night - a common thread in Asian restaurants came from the Desert. We ordered the tasting plate - that had Green Tea Ice Cream, Brown Sugar Ice Cream, Coconut Jelly, Creme Brule and a Fruit Compote. Although not horrible, it certainly was the weakest link of the night - and should be improved - or at least voted off.
Although the place is small, the food, experience and service are far from it. This place is certainly fighting above its weight - and winning. Some may find it hard to equate $$$ to quantity - but there is no doubting the quality.
3.5 / 5 yums!
Where? 205 Greville St, Prahran, VIC
Cost? $16-$20 a dish