On occasion, I have had readers question whether I like all the Japanese Restaurants I have been to, and ask why I rate everything quite highly. I guess the answer to that is if I knew a place is really bad, I wouldn't have knowingly subjected myself to bad food. On that point though, it took me quite an internal struggle before I decided to raise my pen to share my honest opinion on Cafe in Tokyo, which has recently opened near where I live.
It's situated on a small shopping strip in Algester, maybe 10 minutes drive from Sunnybank Hills.
On the outside, it looks like quite a cozy little cafe, with quite a lot of homey decorations and mixed tables and chairs to add to the style of the cafe.
They had both a cafe menu, and a Japanese menu, but we all opted to try the Japanese menu. I note that whilst we were ordering, we were stopped on quite a few occasions by the waitress and requested to speak slower. She may have been new, but we felt it was quite unprofessional, especially when it we have never had that issue anywhere else.
Cutlery was then provided to our table quite promptly.
The candle on the table added to the ambiance of the setting.
Soy sauce and wasabi was also provided to our table. I was quite surprised that for a Japanese cafe, they served the fish shaped takeaway soy sauce, which from my experience is a lot worse quality than the usual Kikkoman soy sauce that other restaurants offer.
The first to arrive was my order for Salmon Hand Roll. As mentioned previously, I like to order hand rolls, because it's almost guaranteed to be freshly made. Almost being the key word. The hand roll that was served needed improvements in every aspect. For a hand roll, I would have expected the seaweed to be fresh and crisp. The one that was served was already soggy and quite stale. The rice is also supposed to be fresh. If you look closely at the picture, you can see that the rice is squeezed quite tightly in an ovular shape, additionally it was cold and hard and unseasoned. It looked like they had taken a piece of rice that would have been in a nigri sushi and shoved it into a hand roll. The salmon was alright, but the portion was quite small. If you look closely at the right photo, you can see that area under my hand was pretty much empty on the inside. Despite all this, the thing that irritated me the most was the addition of carrots, alfalfa and cucumbers in the hand roll. The addition of these textures completely destroyed any chance I had of enjoying the hand roll. I'm not sure I've ever had a hand roll like this before.
My companion ordered the prawn curry bento, which was served with a miso soup. She also said that the food was bland and tasteless. She also said that as a regular consumer of curry, the setting was awkward, and she dropped a lot of the curry sauce as it was being transported to the rice. It would have been better if the curry was actually served on top of the rice.
My other companion ordered the beef gyudon. He also considered it bland, although he didnt have the same problem with the curry. Additionally, we found the edamame and salad to be not very fresh. It really needed improvement.
Lastly, my chirashi rice came. I was really surprised to find the salmon and tuna chopped into tiny little squares. I personally would have liked big slices similar to other places I've frequented. I actually found the dish to be more salad than it was fish. I liked the warm unagi though, but the amount of veges really made the dish quite imbalanced.The rice was also cold and unseasoned.
I note the reviews from other patrons seem to be quite positive for Cafe in Tokyo, but we were really quite disappointed with our experience. I note that the chef has said he's had 10 years experience in Japanese food, but the level of food provided was really quite surprising given this. Perhaps the cafe menu would be a better option next time.
Price Range: $10 - $15 per person