126 Koornang Rd, Carnegie VIC 3163
Ok guys, I’m going straight to the point, Shyun is my favorite restaurant in Melbourne and I’m going to tell you why. I arrived in Melbourne in 2009 to live in Carnegie. By chance, I went to Shyun to try their food.
I just want to remind everyone that I lived in Japan (Sendai) for half a year and even before this, I lived a year and a half in South Korea where there is also a sushi culture and during my stay in South Korea I had my first trip to Japan where I felt in love with japanese food.
SO when it comes to japanese food, I’m very picky. Shyun is just fantastic on so many levels. It’s a midrange restaurant where your main is between $15 and $20. It serves normal “canteen” food like bento boxes, donburi (bowl of rice with a topping from sukiyaki beef to the classic oyakudon), little sides and sushi/sashimis. So let’s see what’s so good about Shyun which menu seems similar to other restaurants.
The simplistic and clean wooden decoration reflects the restaurant spirit and food. There is nothing pretentious, the food is good, fresh and simple. You feel welcome with a certain warmth from the place. When you enter, you immediately face the sushi bar where it becomes already difficult to resist if you have decided earlier to go for a hot meal. There are also some tables outside the restaurant on the main road of Carnegie where you could be cruel and show off with your chirashi-don in front of people desperate to get a table. There is a second room at the back where it is possible to drink alcoholic beverages. I think bookings are also available for this room. Sometimes when the restaurant is full, it could feel a bit packed but you still have your intimacy, contrary to Nobu.
I’ve been to this restaurant since 2009 and the staff is always very friendly. I became quite familiar with the owner Tomohiro-san (Tommy) and Mitsuo-san, the “senior sushi-chef” who will greet you with a kind smile. When I entered, he always greet me by saying “Bonjour Monsieur” because I’m french.
There are now iPads on every table. You can simply order by pressing on the desired item with different options like “no wasabi” or “salmon only” for example. For further request you can obviously ask the waiter.
Minor problem that I have faced once or twice; when it was very busy all the iPads froze and it took 10 minutes to get the waitress attention and to reboot the whole system so that we could order. The iPads are not here to show off, well maybe a bit but it was mainly to avoid ordering errors and to make things faster.
Value for money/taste
I’m going to mainly talk about the sushi/sashimi because it is exceptionally good value for money. Even for the warm food, most of the warm donburis are around $10. The sides between $5 and $10. You have bigger dishes like salmon steak or japanese beef steak for $15-18. Same range price for the Deluxe Bento where you can sample a bit of everything.
Probably the only photo I have of warm food from Shyun, these okonomiaki skewers that have been deep-fried. Okonomiaki (Osaka-style) are japanese savory pancakes panfried traditionally on a hot plate in front of you. They are made of flour, cabbage and dashi (bonito stock) with different toppings. Here, Shyun delivers fun and originality to savor it on a stick with its typical okonomiaki sauce and japanese mayonnaise. I think octopus are also in the filling. I don’t have more photos or much feedback about the warm food but from what I can remember, the little side dishes like these okonomiaki are delicious and cheap little treats. It will give me another excuse to go back there and to try more of their warm dishes so I can update this post.
Ok let’s talk serious now. How are the sushi/sashimi at Shyun? The big star of the menu is chirashi-don. Shyun has a variety of sushi à la carte, sushi maki, sushi rolls but the chirashi-don is really my favorite. A bowl of sushi rice topped with different seasonal raw fishes and shellfishes.
Aren’t they masterpieces? Egg, kingfish, eel, salmon, tuna, cuttlefish, shrimp and seasonal white fishes. If you want to sample the freshness of their sashimi and the variety they have, go for this. It’s remarkable and to be honest, for $18, it’s the best value for money you could get in Melbourne for a chirashi-don like this. This a pure mix of sashimi bliss. I would start with the shrimp, then test the salmon for its freshness and fatty texture. Cleanse my palette with some ginger. Then go for a piece of tuna for its stronger and distinctive taste. Tuna is really depending on what they can get but in general it’s pretty descent. However, the kingfish is remarkable and its quality quite consistent. It’s not as firm as a classic white fish but not as soft as a piece of tuna, kingfish is for me my favorite fish for sashimi with a light acid after-taste and this smooth and firm fish. It is a real culinary delight! Maybe half-way through my chirashi, I like to go for the piece of eel to change texture and flavor. Precooked eel had this beautiful sweet soy sauce flavor with a creamy texture and it served warm in the chirashi so it also gives another contrast here.
I just came back from there today and they have a new Mega-chirashi for an extra $4 where they have in addition to the normal chirashi-don scallops and wait for it…wait for it…scampi sashimi! Yes you read it right, I’ve talk to the sushi chef and about they introduced scampi sashimi about a month ago in this new chirashi and also scampi nigiri sushi on the menu a la carte. That is an excellent news for those who had the chance to grasp the beauty of scampi sashimi. When you eat raw scampi for the first time, it is quite of an extraordinary experience. You feel its plump texture when you have your first bit but as you chew, it turns into a creamy sweet swirl in your mouth that takes you on a cloud. It’s just sugoi oishi! Everytime I go to Sydney, scampi sashimi at the Fish market or at Makoto sushi restaurant is always something I’m looking forward.
The scallops I had today made my culinary enthusiasm even more ecstatic. While it is common to taste a sweet flavor in scampi sashimi, it becomes more exquisite when savouring scallops and the ones I had at Shyun were so sweet and so fresh. Everyone knows the flavor of cooked scallops but when they are that good for sashimi, you feel that there is nothing else overpowering the taste of scallops, it’s just pure raw sweet scallop favor with freshness in your mouth with just a bit of soy sauce and wasabi. Dipping it too much in the soy sauce would be actually a crime ’cause you would just ruin the whole experience.
Here is the photo of the new mega chirashi. You can see the obvious scampi, unfortunately, they are not as big as in Sydney. I had 3 scallops hidden at the back on the right and some plumb and juicy salmon roes (ikura). This was just mind-blowing. And the amazing thing at Shyun, because of the freshness of the fish, you usually finish your chirashi with a very satisfied belly but yet feeling light with this lingering fresh seafood flavors in your mouth like its roaming soul hunting you for some more. Well, this time, because it was the first time to see scampis on the menu, I couldn’t resist, I ordered 2 extra scampi nigiri sushi.
For this dinner, I was sitting at the sushi bar on the counter and I was telling the chef how amazed I was about this chirashi I just had and they know me ’cause I come quite often, he offered me 2 free scallop nigiri sushis…That’s how they treat their loyal customers. They are really stunning. I was holding myself to not devour this like an ogre so I took my time to enjoy these littles babies like the way I described it before. I was on a little seafood cloud. And the best was…it costs me less than $30. That’s why I’m giving them a 10/10 and that’s why I often come here.
Another good dish is the tuna ryukyu-don. Once they cut the biggest pieces from the tuna, they scrap what is left on the tuna bones and marinate this “minced” tuna meat with mirin/sake and soy sauce. I don’t know exactly how they do it so I could be wrong. They put this on top on some sushi rice, topped it with spring onions, sesame seeds and chopped nori. Just pour a bit of soy sauce and wasabi, you’ll be amazed. I recommend the tuna one. The salmon ryuku-don is ok but not as flavourful. I think salmon tastes much better cut in thick slices. It is a succulent way to not loose anything from the tuna.
In Japan, it is quite common to mix salmon roes with this mixture so I ordered some ikura and asked the chef to just put it on top.
Talking about ikura; few years ago, it was only depending on how lucky you are that you could get some in your chirashi-don but since last year, you can order some ikura sushi and that also made me more eager to come more often.
Whenever it is with crispy cucumber or peppery shiso leaves, I can’t get tired to have these sushis, popping pearls that release this sea flavor in your mouth like a marine fireworks.
I hope this Salmon lover dish will come back to the summer menu. It was an interesting dish with a dome of rice wrapped with salmon sashimis and crispy deep fried salmon strips with a delicious sauce that tastes like the BBQ sauce they serve for japanese yakiniku.
And of course sashimi platters
There is a very nice sushi and sashimi platter for $43.
and to be my greatest surprise when I went to pay, I was told that the owner Tomohiro-san offered this bottle for the new job I was celebrating. Best restaurant owner you can have!
Ok for the finale, there is one last awesome thing that they do, customized sushi/sashimi platters. You can tell them your budget, the number of people, your preferences and specific items you would like to have and just wait to be impressed. I ordered for $200 of sushi/sashimi for 6 people for my PhD graduation ( $34 per person) and WHAT A FEAST! Without a doubt, that were the most beautiful and tasty sushi/sashimi I had in my life. Everyone was really impressed. We had 4 gigantic platters and they had to come twice as they couldn’t bring everything at once. I’m warning you, after looking at the following photos, I won’t be responsible for any crazy sushi cravings.
Salmon maki; salmon, kingfish, snapper and tuna sashimi; eels, prawn tempura, egg, tuna, kingfish, spicy aburi salmon, aburi scallop sushis
There was a mix of fresh scallop sushis and torched ones with some miso sauce on top, magnificent! We were all in sushi heaven. And I want to emphasize on the price, per person, it was $34 while you will almost pay $100 in Shira Nui for the Omakase set.
Nothing to say. This restaurant is run by japanese, the food tastes authentic. You have classic dishes and some with an original twist like the okonomiaki skewers.
Once more, this post is mainly about the sushi/sashimi part of Shyun cuisine. You are welcome to leave your comments about the warm dishes but from what I have sampled, the dishes are from average to very tasty but keep in mind that it is still very good value for money.
So yes, Shyun is an excellent (maybe the best) place to have authentic sushi/sashimi for a very good price. All the seafood tastes extremely fresh. They have a decent variety and they keep expanding their menu which is a very good sign to keep you loving this little restaurant in Carnegie more and more. The owner is brilliant and he keeps true to his philosophy, fresh and simple food at affordable prices. With its success, Tommy could have increased his prices and during its last renovation, justify its price increase with a super fancy environment but no, he kept it as it is, sorry, same spirit but in a better and bigger place, a true improvement. On top of this, you can order customised sushi/sashimi platter and ask for some items you wouldn’t have on the menu. Only problem? Because it is a very good and popular restaurant, even during the week the restaurant could be full so either make a booking, come early or with patience. If after reading this post, I haven’t convinced you to visit Shyun, then I really don’t know what to do more ;-)