- Bonsoy On-Yakko (Tofu)
- Home Made Gyoza
- Nasu Dengaku (Fried Eggplant)
- 5 Element Meal Plate
- Cocoa And Matcha Curry
- Coconut Milk Kuzu Pudding
- Kyoto Gyokuro Tea
We started off with some Bonsoy On-Yakko (Tofu). Carefully scooping each delicate block out of the bowl, we found that the tofu itself was incredibly silky smooth yet with a nice firmness. With a beautiful soy aroma throughout, this was well complemented by the finely chopped spring onions and light soy sauce with a hint of sesame oil. The perfectly balanced flavours, coupled with the flawless consistency of the tofu, made for an amazing start to our meal.
We couldn’t wait to dig into the beautifully presented plate of Home Made Gyoza. With a variety of matcha and beetroot infused skins, enclosed within the thin delicate skins were a mixture of freshly chopped vegetables. The ginger within, coupled with the pool of light vinegar sauce in which it was served, made for a tasty combination.
The Nasu Dengaku, was perhaps one of the best eggplant dishes I’ve ever had. Without any use of batter, the eggplant skin was exceptionally light and crispy. The inner of the eggplant chunks were cooked to perfection, remaining soft and incredibly juicy. Combined with the thick sweet miso sauce, this savoury and sweet combination was very appetising indeed.
As if the entrees weren’t amazing enough, we sampled their unique, and stunningly plated house specialty – the 5 Element Meal Plate. Their kimchi was an absolutely standout, so full of flavour and fresh without being overly spicy. The fried rice balls were another favourite, and exhibited a crunchy outer, contrasted by a slightly chewy and still-moist savoury inner. It’s like the Japanese version of arancini. All other components were exceptionally fresh and wholesome. However, the fish was most definitely too sour for my palate, but this was balanced off by the sweetness of the potatoes.
Being extremely intrigued, we adventurously sampled their unique Cocoa and Matcha Curry. With a bold and rich coconut aroma permeating throughout, the Green Matcha Curry closely resembled a Thai green curry, yet without the hotness of chilli but exhibiting a slight hint of Matcha.
The Cocoa curry definitely packed a punch in terms of spice, and definitely grew more fiery as the meal progressed. The mixture of grains and chinky vegetables within made for great variation in textures and was a very flavourful and hearty dish.
Finishing off the meal, we were offered the Coconut Milk Kuzu Pudding. Akin to a firm panna cotta, this firm yet smooth dessert carried with it many health benefits and also aids in digestion. As if we needed more excuse to digest our meal, we dug into the rich coconut flavoured pudding, which was well accompanied by the mango and strawberry chutney. Without being overpowering, the kuzu flavour was rather reserved which allowed for the coconut aroma to shine. The mango and strawberry chutney added a fruity sweetness to the dish, and made for a light and refreshing dessert.
Concluding our meal, we were offered to sample the premium, and extremely rare Kyoto Gyokuro Tea. Specially brewed right on your table, with single origin, first harvest (ichiban cha) green tea leaves, it was incredibly flavoursome, and was most definitely THE strongest tea I’ve ever sampled. The strong, concentrated brew ensured that each sip was filled with bold, flavoursome flavours of herb and aroma. Flavour-wise, this is best compare to the double shot espresso of the coffee world, as opposed to a long black or white coffee. For those looking for an authentic and comprehensive tea experience, Spiral Beans also offer a traditional tea ceremony in a private, traditionally decorated room.
Having recently returned from Japan, I was definitely craving an Okonomiyaki – Japanese Vegetable Pancake. Despite being loaded with freshly chopped vegetables, the flavour was slightly lacking and we believe this could’ve benefited from more Okonomiyaki sauce. The base was also slightly burnt, perhaps partially our fault as we took our time snapping away. The portion was absolutely huge though and serving it on a hot plate was not only unique but also kept the dish warm and crispy throughout.
While initially being extremely sceptical of a modern Japanese restaurant that serves up organic, vegan and vegetarian meals, I am very pleasantly surprised at how delightfully delicious the dishes eventuated.
Partnering with organic food manufacturer Spiral Foods, Spiral Beans delivered a flawless execution of fresh, wholesome ingredients that was coupled with perfectly balanced flavours and textures, which made for a rather incredible meal.
Personally, I will forever reminisce how perfect those Tofu and Eggplant dishes tasted.
Would Penguin Eat Again?
Absolutely. Given the sensational food tonight, Spiral Beans quickly but surely became my favourite Japanese restaurant in Melbourne.
I would like to thank owner Yuka for her generous hospitality, and for inviting us to sample the food at her newly relaunched restaurant Spiral Beans.