18A Essex Street
We'd been meaning to try Ebi Fine Food for a while, and finally made it there on a cold and wet Friday winter evening. The concept of a Japanese and fish and chips fusion restaurant on Essex street in West Footscray had always intrigued me. The mix in styles seemed slightly dissonant in my mind, but on arriving it was possible to see the two themes mixing and complimenting each other from outside.
Inside there are some Japanese touches, but the overall layout is definitely chip shop style, with two 2 seater tables and a counter/bar with another 6 spots. Although it was pretty busy while we there, and a bit of squeeze getting sat down, the dining area doesn't feel overrun by people waiting for or picking up takeaway. The menu, which is available on the 'about' page of the Facebook site is complimented by daily specials which also appear on the main fb page daily as well as the blackboard.
The veggie balls are billed as a vegetarian version of an Osaka street snack. The crunchy exterior covered a tasty interior, and the mayo style sauce was a little reminiscent of McDonald's burgers, in a good way, although I may be a little off the mark on that one as I haven't eaten at Macca's for over 10 years...
The prawn gyoza were brilliant, the golden crispy shells containing real chunks of prawns, and must be the best I've had!
The special bento on this occasion starred two korokke, a Japanese take on croquettes, the first packed with Beef and Shitake which worked well together, the other containing a mix of Salmon and potato.
I went for the prawn bento, which came with a great little salad, interesting eggplant with a satayish topping, tofu, bamboo and rice as well as the well cooked prawns with their tangy sauce.
Ebi is apparently trying to get a license, but at the moment is booze free, which helped keep our bill down to only $42. The service was friendly and swift given how busy they were with both diners and takeaway customers. Rather than feeling like a takeaway it almost feels as if you are in the kitchen, in a good way. I'm sure we will head back, and I'm interested to try their Japanese take on fish and chips...
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