Maedaya – Washoku Lovers’ Event
The Adventouriist and I were lucky enough to attend an intimate sake-matching dinner with Miss Runway Foodie, The Hungry Excavator and Washoku Lovers a few weeks ago. Washoku Lovers is a club offering discounts for authentic Japanese restaurants, mostly in Sydney.
As they branch out into Melbourne, Maedaya has become their first restaurant to join and for good reason. With sake master Toshi Maeda at the helm, he offers a great deal of insight into the food and matching sakes.
Yuri from Washoku Lovers made great company, explaining how they interview chefs to understand the extent of their experience in the Japanese food industry. This information helped cement our trust in Washoku Lovers – we may not understand what is authentic Japanese food, but they sure do.
The star of the night was introduced very early – winner of the best sake fourteen years in a row, Saito Shuzo’s Eikun Junmai Daiginjo Ichigin from Kyoto.
The bottle above would be worth $700! It was empty, hence why they trusted me with holding it. Toshi still opened a smaller, but quite expensive bottle for us, which got us all excited.
We loved the little box for the shot glasses, allowing the sake to overflow. When you finish your glass, you take the box and pour the overflow into your glass to drink the remainder.
The sake was very light and fragrant compared to the hard-hitting, strong flavours I have tried in the past. Subtle and complex, it’s no wonder this sake stands out from the rest. After cheers-ing with our Japanese cries of, “Kanpai!” we all fell in love with the taste.
Next up – a sake tasting flight! If you would like to read the tasting notes, click here. I thought I would like the third (blue) one as they mentioned white chocolate, but I enjoyed the first one the most with its fruity tones.
The accompanying skewers (yakitori) all looked delicious and glazed with flavour. Each skewer had more than just a BBQ taste, demonstrating how extra thought has gone into the marinades to enhance the flavour.
We had MORE sake to come, this time in the form of a Yuzu variety. With this Japanese citrus taste, this was almost like drinking lemonade and proved to be a very (delicious) girly drink.
Here we had the final run of dishes – quinoa gyoza, pork baos, prawn mayo salad and sweet and sour fried chicken. Each of these dishes did something slightly unique that we had not seen at other Japanese restaurants – the mayo on the prawn salad for example gave it a whole new world of flavour, but was still not overbearing.
I’m not one to applaud every dish because I was invited – we were genuinely impressed and have made a note to return in the future.
Finally, one can not end the night without The Adventouriist’s favourite Japanese beverage – PLUM WINE (Choya)! Essentially plum liqueur, the taste is sweet from the plum pit, meaning it’s quite popular with the ladies. If you sign up as a Washoku Lovers member, you get $1 plum wine!
If you’re interested in the night’s menu (everything is available on their normal iPad menus), click here. We’ve also suggested that they implement a similar sake-matching set menu in the future – probably without the $700 sake!
I’m looking forward to returning but also to what other Melbourne restaurants may sign up with Washoku Lovers. Find out more about them here and maybe even shoot them a suggestion on authentic Japanese places.
Meanwhile, Maedaya is located at 400 Bridge Rd and only takes booking for 6+ people.
Mon’s Adventure was invited as a guest of Washoku Lovers & Maedaya, All opinions are my own. Photos by The Adventouriist.