400 Bridge Road
When I heard Maedaya described as ‘the best Japanese in Melbourne,’ this little Richmond eatery shot straight to the top of my wishlist. Thinking I wouldn’t be the only one, I rang ahead to book. Maedaya don’t take bookings for less than five people, so two of us were advised to just turn up.
On first impressions, the fit-out Maedaya is very Japanese. It has all the looks and appeal of a bar in Kyoto. On the ground floor, there is a long bar, stocked up with what I’m told are some excellent varieties of sake. (I’m not a fan, I stuck to Mojitos). It’s also where they serve a variety of tapas. There is a yakitori grill, where a whole variety of animals are grilled for your pleasure. Vegetarians are advised to stay downstairs.
Don’t let the mention of the grill get you down. There are plenty of vegetarian options downstairs, and some excellent cocktails. Stand outs were the vegetarian gyoza, and the tofu steak, which was one of the best things I have eaten in quite some time. This creation is soaked in a teriakyi sauce and served on a hot plate. It was worth the trip through peak hour traffic to Richmond alone just to have this explode in my mouth.
Maedaya is an Izakaya, which is a kind of Japanese pub, where the emphasis in on drinking. the food is still a component. It’s the kind of place you’re supposed to visit with friends, eat a little, and drink a lot.
I managed to eat a lot and drink a little. Maedaya is a great option for dinner, don’t miss it.