Japanese cuisine almost never fails to disappoint me and the latest restaurant to become one of my favourite spots in Melbourne is the newly opened, Katori Japanese Box Hill – an upper class and refined establishment featuring the best Japanese wagyu cooked on top of their yakiniku charcoal BBQ grills. From a moody, yet chic interior, to an elaborately designed Japanese fusion menu, with particular emphasis on showcasing its high quality wagyu, Katori Japanese is definitely a Melbourne restaurant that I brings to life Japanese ingredients on the backdrop of Western cuisine.
The good fat: We started our night with by far, one of the best sashimi I’ve had – not only was it uniquely presented in a scallop shell, the selected pieces of scallop, salmon and kingfish had the most fresh and silky texture. Likewise, the prawn ponzu and whitefish sashimi also maintained the tender balance, without the ponzu sauce overpowering the natural flavours of the sea.
Another standout was the wagyu meatball – we weren’t sure what to expect with a wagyu meatball, but the black truffle-looking balls with gold flakes were a definite surprise of the night. To top it all off, it came with my absolute favourite, BLACK SESAME sauce – going for the full “noir” vibe. Ultimately, crispy on the outside, and the iconic wagyu fleshiness pervading from within.
Continuing our Melbourne wagyu adventures, this was my first time trying wagyu sushi and safe bet to say it won’t be my last! The lightly cured slice of wagyu on top of the perfectly rounded grains of Japanese sushi rice was such an exquisite experience created by Katori for us to experience.
Of course, Katori prides itself on its wagyu, and what better way to demonstrate its quality than with yakinuki – Japanese charcoal BBQ. Katori has a grill on each table, and the 9+ wagyu oyster blade was definitely the standout, complemented deliciously by the yuzu sauce, a personal favourite!
A clever twist instead of traditional Japanese white rice, was the foie gras rice – the excitement of combining an upscale French idea to a very contrasting Asian staple lends itself to foodies with a love for adventure in fusion cuisine. And personally, I couldn’t resist the richness of the foie gras against the simplicity of rice!
We rounded off our Japanese degustation at Katori Japanese with a refreshingly light, strawberry bird nest pudding. I’ve always wanted to try bird nest just for the fact that it was birds nest – such an exotic and labour intensive ingredient (it comes from hardened, saliva of swallows that is supposed to have amazing health and skincare properties). The overall texture was a bit like a creamy, Greek yoghurt with slightly sweet hints of fruit strawberry.
The bad fat: The only comment I would have is that the umami snapper was the tiniest bit overcooked for my liking and didn’t have that sometimes, magical, almost watery/marbled-like quality really incredibly cooked fish can have. Also, I feel that a simple idea for the wagyu sushi would be to have soy sauce on the side rather than just drizzled on top by the chef, just to personalise the saltiness to my own liking.
CHECK OUT KATORI JAPANESE BOX HILL’S WEBSITE HERE: https://www.katori.com.au/menu