Kenzan for the Best Shabu Shabu

Both times I’ve been to Kenzan for Shabu Shabu have been amazing. This meal is healthy and delicious and best shared with someone you love…ok, a little over the top but it’s ideal for sharing; if you like the person you’re sharing with then all the better.

The description of Shabu Shabu on their menu is:

Shabu Shabu – Ever Finer sliced beef and vegetables, lightly cooked in a clear broth, served with ponzu & sesame dipping sauces

Having the pot of broth lightly bubbling away at the table as you select your slices of meat and vegetables you would like was almost therapeutic. The idea is that you lightly boil the meat then dip it in the sesame and ponzu (a soy vinegar mix) and eat with vegetables cooked the same way and some boiled rice.

The staff at Kenzan are lovely and the service efficient.

I would recommend Kenzan – it’s a little hidden in the Collins Place complex underneath the Sofitel at 45 Collins St in Melbourne CBD but well worth the visit.

 

Cook Shabu Shabu at your table or try the sushi bar

 

Kenzan Japanese Restaurant

Collins Place, 45 Collins Street (56 Flinders Lane), Melbourne 3000
Ph: 03 9654 8933

Tetsuya’s – 529 Kent St, Sydney (And Why We Booked Last April!)

I’ve been waiting for last Saturday night to roll around since we made our booking back in April this year. Tetsuya’s did not disappoint.

C, D, L, K and myself checked into the Meriton on Pitt St – awesome location and comfy apartments – and prepared ourselves for the eleven course degustation we were about to savour.

It was sensational. Tucked away in what looks like a house, we were greeted by attentive, friendly staff who showed us to our table overlooking the Japanese-styled garden and water feature. The atmosphere is like being at someone’s grandma’s house – a subtle ambience brought to life by the energy of the diners.

We started with some cocktails (I had a vodka martini) and began the indulgence with gusto … and this way just the butter whipped with ricotta and truffle!

What followed was a dance of flavours, textures and an experience that I’ll cherish forever, if only for the joy of being with some of my dearest friends experiencing a culinary delight we’ve been anticipating for a long time.

The menu changes seasonally but his signature dishes are a constant. You can find out more about Tetsuya and his famed restaurant on their website: http://www.tetsuyas.com/page/the_restaurant.html

I’ve included some pics so you can see what we ate: kingfish, scampi tail, mulloway, quail, perch, ox-tail, ravioli, beef rib-eye, and desserts aplenty.

We were also treated to a tour of the kitchen and venue – there are a number of rooms available for dining including a more private area for larger group bookings. It was a privilege to meet the chefs and check out their induction cooking technology and decked out kitchens. There is also a ‘chef’s table’ in the kitchen that will be available next year… so we’ve been told… so do enquire if this takes your fancy!

For a special occasion spread over a four-hour fare, I definitely recommend Tetsutya’s. Just make sure you book in advance!

Learning to Tango (and why I need to stay away from impulse group buying)

A couple of months ago there was an offer on group buying site Jump On It for six tango lessons for the price of two. With a little encouraging push from my colleague Jaselyn we both jumped. We were in a ‘I want to do everything’ mood, more than usual, and decided we needed to add a little latin action to the mix. As if learning to speak Spanish wasn’t enough!

Jaselyn and I are the kinds of people who are short of things to do. She’s training for a triathlon and running her own PR business and those of you who know me know I am good at filling my time, MMA being my most recent addition to the schedule. But we thought it would be a laugh and a bargain. It has delivered on both.

We downed some Japanese at Shoubu (see where I checked in on Foursquare) on Smith St in Collingwood, deliberately chosen for its location across the road from Viva for our tango lesson; and we’re going through a Japanese food phase at the moment too.

Jaselyn has a dancing background. I tried and went back to gymnastics. The first lesson was bound to be a laugh. I prayed they had a sense of humour. We also started praying for some hot men to dance with and immediately knew this would not happen, instead, we pondered the greasy possibilities waiting to take us in their arms. Awesome.

But the people were lovely, if a little too humourless for my liking, and the first man I partnered with was lovely and patient. They took us briefly through the basic steps and then we partnered and went round in tango, swapped partners and kept going. Then we were taught a variation of the step to add on to the basic step and around we went again.

By this stage I’d stepped on feet, walked into the wall and cracked up more times that the studio instructors cared to imagine I’m sure. Jaselyn was the same. Everyone else was super serious. We were laughing, confused and wished for more instruction.

But we did laugh. And we’ve committed to another five session which I’m sure the studio is thrilled about. I felt like one of those kids trying my hardest but failing in a comedic fashion so it made us look like the naughty kids because we were laughing so hard.

It’s a small, charming studio and the people were nice but I wouldn’t rate my beginner experience as one of the best I’ve had. They didn’t even ask if we’d tried tango before. I was also spewing that they suggested heels to ‘feel more authentic’…they weren’t even wearing heels!

Next week is a public holiday here in Melbourne so it will be two weeks before our next session…should give them long enough to recover from our attendance. There have also been many other appealing group buying offers but I’ve managed to control myself … for now.