Monday, May 28, 2012


Japas is a relatively large restaurant in Melbourne Central that is a mix of a sushi train and a more traditional restaurant. Previously it was known as Tamodachi and sometime last year underwent an overhaul.

The food hasn't changed much though. Aside from the sushi train offering (always worth a look if you've never been through the experience before) they have a menu of Japanese dishes including bento boxes, rice and noodle dishes, and some dishes with a western spin including a burger, fish and chips and salads. Most interestingly though, they have a 'create-your-own sushi' option where you can choose the ingredients and condiments for your very own sushi rolls. My friends and I passed up on that option (simply because we couldn't be bothered) but in hindsight, the extra effort might have been rewarded.

The drinks menu was slightly uninspiring. I ordered a hot green tea because that's what my body was craving, but it was bland and the designated driver ordered a raspberry lemonade (which I personally hate).

Hot Green Tea
 My other friend ordered a Hokkaido beer that came in a glass that I just wanted to take home with me. I can't say much about the taste because I don't drink beer, but presentation counts!

Hokkaido Beer
My friend proclaimed that the dish to judge a Japanese restaurant on is their Chicken Karaage. Unsurprisingly, she chose the Chicken Karaage Bento.

Chicken Karaage Bento
She wasn't particularly impressed. Most of the food was bland and uninteresting, although the salad was passable. The spring roll and gyoza were deep-fried by the looks of things, and not particularly appetising.

Her boy went with the Japanese version of Beer-Battered Fish & Chips.

Beer-Battered Fish & Chips
Even from where I was sitting I could see that it was oily. I was under the impression that the Japanese version of the dish would have a thinner batter, more alike to tempura, than the thick flour coating he was presented with. He didn't finish his vegetables either, as according to him, the dressing on the salad just tasted weird, although it could be that he just doesn't like vegetables.

I ordered my standard dish of Takoyaki, and added a Karaage Salad for substance.


Karaage Salad
I wasn't particularly impressed with either of the dishes to be honest. The takoyaki contained more flour than octopus, and was significantly over-cooked. I did have fun watching the bonito flakes move around, but that's to be expected.

The chicken in the Karaage Salad was salty and over-battered, and if it was the same as presented in the Bento Box, I can understand why my friend didn't enjoy her meal that much. The greens were uninteresting, although the avocado was an unexpected surprise.

This place doesn't have the best food with all the food heavier than I have come to expect from a Japanese restaurant. It is quiet and warm, and the staff are friendly, which are perhaps its only upsides. We remained there long after our food was finished, and they didn't seem to have an issue with us. I wouldn't recommend this restaurant as a dining destination necessarily, but if you need to kill some time in Melbourne Central and are craving Japanese food, this isn't a bad choice.

Level 3, Melbourne Central, Melbourne

Mon-Thu 10am-6pm, Fri 10am-9pm, Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 10am-5pm

Japas on Urbanspoon


  1. I went to Tomodachi once when they first opened and I didn't like it so I never went back again. It's disappointing to hear that the new restaurant isn't fantastic either. :/ The batter on that fish looks WAY thick and oily and that takoyaki doesn't look appetising at all..what a shame because it's in a good location.

    1. Yeah, I was hoping it would be better. Maybe I'll just stay with the cheap Cho Gao pizzas next time!

  2. CHO GAO arent great either. I can't wait to try Japas with my $10 voucher