MaedayaFebruary 3, 2017
400 Bridge Road, Richmond
Alex and I recently went for a cheeky little grill-fest at Maedaya in Richmond. I’d been once several years ago, and have found myself there three times in the last couple of months. This is partly because Maedaya is a short walk from my apartment, and also because when you’re craving grilled meat, nothing quenches that thirst like some sumiyaki. A charming and casual izakaya, Maedaya is known for its grill and other small dishes that won’t break the bank.
The newly expanded restaurant takes up two shop fronts on Bridge Road, and the signature rope design in the first room is continued into the new room, along with some cute little booths with curtains for small groups. Upstairs, larger tables invite diners to DIY grill, Korean BBQ style. They’ve also recently updated the menu onto iPads, so all ordering is done at the table as you eat. This is a great way to order at izakaya-style restaurants, because often you want to order a couple of dishes, enjoy a beer, and then order a few more later on.
Before getting to the grill, we ordered a few small things to start: a deep fried soft shell crab, edamame with chilli and some ace gyoza. The gyoza here are particularly great, and I’d recommend (for those like me who are into a little deep fried action) the crumbed prawn cutlets and (for the virtuous among young) a dish of sashimi.
Maedaya also offers a few larger plates. On this particular visit we ordered the okonomiyaki, a personal favourite. I have a funny feeling there’s something a bit uncool about okonomiyaki, a bit clumsy maybe, but I really love it. Also it comes with cheese, which sounds odd but works really well with the tangy sauce and kewpie. If you’re after slightly smaller but still substantial bites, I can recommend the pork bao, delicious slices of pork with teriyaki wedged into a steamed bun.
But all this was just a precursor to the main event: the grill-fest! Sumiyaki is the process of cooking things very quickly over a charcoal grill. Maedaya’s grill has pride of place in the middle of the room, with rows and rows of yummy-nibbly-skewered things like chicken, pork belly and mushrooms sizzling away. We were perched up along the bar and the smell and sight of everything grilling next to us was phenomenal.
First up, a skewer of soft tsukune (chicken meatballs), glazed in a sweet sauce. The yakitori (chicken thigh) was also simply glazed and carried a fabulous smokey flavour from the charcoal. Grilled dishes arrive on the table as they are cooked, so it’s a matter of quickly snapping them up while still piping hot!
Another highlight was a pair of asparagus skewers snuggly wrapped up in a little bacon jacket. Most of the skewers are quite simple, cuts of meat or fish grilled and perhaps swiped with a little glaze.
We really wanted a trio of prawns, but sadly they had run out. You’ve got to get in early here! Scallops were a good substitute, sweet and tender and (thankfully) not overdone. I noticed they also do grilled salmon and kingfish in a teriyaki glaze.
To finish, a little mix of beef, mushrooms and sticky eel. The mushrooms fell a little flat, despite the umami hit, but the eel was a tremendous success. If you’re coming here for the sumiyaki, Maedaya is definitely one for the carnivores. I would recommend booking, particularly on a weekend, if you’re in the neighbourhood. Sure, Maedaya is great for sushi and gyoza and okonomiyaki and all that, but it absolute kicks ass in the smokey, glazed goodies stakes. Check it out for yourself.
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