Rejoice, lovers of obscure Japanese condiments and milk drinks in cans: Smith Street has just taken possession of a specialist Japanese pantry and sushi bar
There’s not a lot in the way of fresh vegetables at Hinoki, but if it’s Japanese and not illegal, they’ve got it. The shelves of this sleek blonde supermarket are stuffed with curry cubes, karaage chicken batter (the KFC of Japan) and hundreds of boxes of luminous sweet things with rosy-cheeked children and panda mascots.
But it’s not all Pocky Sticks, udon and things that could survive the apocalypse. They also make-and-freeze the likes of pork gyoza in-house so you can fake-it-yourself at home.
In the fridge, right next to the rainbow cans of Boss coffee and radiant blue Hawaiian sodas (looks exotic, tastes like blue) you’ll find house-made pickles, seaweed salads and fillets of sashimi-grade salmon. Give the chuka chinmi a poke – a nutty, chewy fish mix of diced scallops, jellyfish and black fungus rolled in sesame seeds and oil.
They’re not messing around at the sushi bar either. There are a few pre-made lunch packs but most fish is sliced on demand for eating at the little benches in the window. It’s good too. You can get fresh scallop and even surf clam sashimi (sort of like a big pipi), and while they do a Western-style cooked tuna roll, it’s prepared in house - not tinned.
Until the full booze license comes through they can only stock a handful of sakes, plum wines, and beers but they’re compensating for limited range with maximum volume. How about a litre can of Asahi? That’s a whole drinking session with only one trip to the fridge. Go for the European style Kolsch from Niigata microbrewery if you’re feeling more crafty.
Head to the Chef’s Armoury in Richmond if you want Japanese steel and a charcoal grill – but if you’re after fifty shades of soy sauce and sushi rice by the sack, you’re all set.
More of the best Japanese restaurants in Melbourne.
|Venue name:||Hinoki Japanese Pantry||Contact:|
279 Smith St
|Opening hours:||Tue-Thu 10am-6pm; Fri-Sat 10am-7pm; Sun 10am-4pm|
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Average User Rating
3 / 5
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This place serves some of the best sushis and sashimis in Melbourne. And the staff are Japanese! And yes they are polite. Always ready to greet and welcome each and every person who enters their shop. - Noel
I ordered over the phone for sushi sashimi medium and went to pick it up. Over the phone the lady asked me to repeat the order several times as well as my name so I did. I got to the shop to pick up the order and approached one of the chef, said my name and the order, lid was closed but he acknowledged and gave me the order. Got home realised the order was incorrect so I phoned the shop.
THE EXPERIENCE WAS COMPLETELY UNPROFESSIONAL AND DISHONEST. The chef kept insinuating that I indeed placed the incorrect order (sashimi medium) and caused a scene in the shop WHEN I OFFERED TO PAY THE DIFFERENCE. All I want to do is pick up the right order as I promised the kids that they will get sushi. I explained it is the first time I have ordered something from them and if you look at the menu on Zomato you can not actually see sashimi comes in medium size clearly as it says in big writing SASHIMI PLATTER LARGE underneath. I placed the order for 2 adults and 2 toddler and came home to 2 hungry toddler with no sushi. He just kept going at it and caused such a scene in the store and said quote" it can't be that both the lady and him heard it wrong so I must be wrong " and that "I don't have to come back". ZERO CUSTOMER SERVICE AND IT IS BEYONG INSULTING AND OFFENSIVE