Sakae Japanese Cafe
Shop 1/280 King St (entry via Little Lonsdale St), Melbourne (map)
Meet Yake Tanake, Japanese sushi avenger. Once a part of Japan's Yakuza "Clan Tanake" but expelled when he became too much of a liability and now walks the underground as a sushi chef who swore an oath to wok the best sushi dishes ever to be eaten. He sees woking and eating as a way of seeking his goal. "The perfect sushi".
At least, that's what the wall tells me! And to think I never knew 'woking' was a verb. Sakae Japanese Cafe, near the corner of King and Little Lonsdale, has walls adorned with kawaii pictures of invented manga monsters that have a culinary bent (eg Natsumi the Yabbie Boy, Yoshiro the Marinated Delight, Kure Kure Gigantor (a red stegosaurus/godzilla-like chappie I sadly didn't take a photo of) and my personal favourite, Mizuki the Crustaceous Boy). Like the wall designs, the staff at Sakae and bright and friendly, even during the busy lunch hour...
My colleague K introduced me to Sakae the other week, and on Thursday I invited my friends M and L to meet me there for lunch. At Sakae there is a good variety of sushi and sashimi, or you can order from the hot menu of donburi, udon, ramen and bento boxes. As it was freezing and pouring with rain outside, I chose a bowl of chicken teriyaki udon.
They took a little while to arrive, but were worth the wait - fresh chicken, lots of veggies and noodles and flavoursome broth that you can see steaming in the photo! I loved it, and have decided Sakae will be my "go to" Japanese cafe around the corner from work. I was a little nervous on Thursday suggesting we go for Japanese as M is from Japan, but happily she gave Sakae two thumbs up!