I don’t often dine at Japanese restaurants, not because I don’t enjoy the cuisine, but simply because I find as a student it is always a little outside my price range. Also, due to the popularity of Japanese food, I find there are a lot “Japanese” restaurants that claim to be authentic but instead is more of a Chinese/Japanese or Korean/Japanese fusion. Anyway, luckily for me there’s a small restaurant called Shyun around my area which serves up pretty decent Japanese at a reasonable price. Every time after I dine there, I’m already thinking about what I’m going to try next time. So when a couple of friends in my area decided to catch up somewhere nearby, we chose to go to Shyun.

I’m extremely indecisive when choosing what I want to eat, so when dining with friends I’m nearly always the last one to make a selection. So it doesn’t help that Shyun has an A3 laminated menu with so many tempting pictures and tantalizing options to choose from. After much, contemplation I decided to ask the waitress about the price of the chirashi. The selection of sashimi that comes on top of the chirashi changes according to the seafood that the restaurant gets in, so of course the price differs too. I was very excited after confirming that the chirashi was indeed inside my price range; I was so excited in fact that I forgot to ask what the day’s selection of seafood was.

My friends’ meals came first.

Niku Udon - beef ($10.10)

Niku Udon – beef ($10.10)

My boyfriend, a noodle fanatic, went for the Niku Udon, which was described as cooked beef on udon noodles in a Japanese fish broth. He already started mixing it before I remembered to take a photo. He said the broth was lovely and light, just the way he likes it.

The menu at Shyun is split up into different sections and we were wondering for ages what characterised the dishes under the title “Gourmet Dishes”, we never ended up figuring it out. Our friend, Wayne, did decide to choose a don from that section though.

Spicy Miso Fish Don ($12.90)

Spicy Miso Fish Don ($12.90)

As you can see Wayne, also started to dig in before I could get a snap. I guess, I’m still new to this whole blogging thing, keep forgetting to take photos. Oops. His dish composed of deep fried battered fish, coated with the thick, spicy miso sauce. He said that the sauce was very unique and he could still taste the flavour of the fish through the sauce.

After a little bit of a wait, my dish finally arrived. Since I forgot to ask what the selection of seafood was when I ordered it, I decided to ask the waitress who brought it to our table. As soon as I asked, she screwed up her face in confusion like she’s never been asked a stranger question. She stumbled with a few fish names, then stuttered “I don’t know, they are just fish” and scattered away. The whole uncomfortable exchange left me feeling rather guilty. I thought I just asked a simple question, but it seemed like she thought I was making a complaint. I can be quite shy at times, so I blushed a little and stared at my bowl of beautifully presented chirashi, trying to figure out what I got. Then, after about five minutes of prodding about, I realised how limited my seafood knowledge was. So, I worked up my courage and flagged down a different waitress this time and asked the same question. She smiled at me warmly and told me she didn’t know but she’d ask the chef for me. Relief.  She returned promptly and told me today in the chirashi there is tuna, salmon, eel, ebi prawn and something else I didn’t hear properly. I thanked her but I was a little puzzled because there was obviously more than 5 types of seafood in my bowl. In the end, my quest to seek more seafood knowledge ended in failure.

Chirashi ($17.90 on the day we went)

Chirashi ($17.90 on the day we went)

Though, not knowing what seafood was in my bowl did not distract one bit me from fully enjoying my dish. All the fish was extremely fresh and melted away in my mouth. The eel was marinated in a sweet teriyaki before grilled to perfection. The bowl came equipped with the necessary condiments of wasabi and pickled ginger. There was also two pieces of tamagoyaki (rolled omelet) in the bowl, in terms of technique and texture it was perfection, but the flavour was a little too sweet for my taste. Oh and I really do appreciate good rice. It’s a simple, staple part of any Asian restaurant, but well cooked rice really does make all the difference. The vinegary, Japanese sushi rice was cooked till each grain was rounded and full, slightly sticky, yet each grain was separate and chewy. It was pure indulgence, sampling piece after piece of fresh seafood, broken up by mouthfuls of rice, detecting the gentle nuance in flavour and texture. In the end, I think I got tuna, salmon, ebi prawn, grilled eel, cuttlefish, octopus, surf clam and a selection of white fish. If anyone could enlighten me on the types of white fish I got, it would be greatly appreciated.

Service at Shyun is friendly and warm, though some of the waiters can be young and flustered but that can all be forgiven. When it comes to it, it’s a very lovely, cozy little restaurant serving up quality Japanese food, with quality ingredients at a price even an Uni student can afford.

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