Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen – more more!

Disclaimer: I attended the media launch event at Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen as an invited guest of Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen and KDPR, where I was provided menu samples for free. I also visited Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen several days later and paid for my own meal. My comments are a reflection of my experience, which may have been non-standard, but remain completely honest and my own.

Japanese cuisine has been well embraced by Australians over the years and what’s not to love? It’s a cuisine that focuses and highlights ingredients and its freshness, offering it in deceptive simplicity. We just cannot seem to get enough for it, if the mushrooming of cheap Japanese curry and sushi roll takeaway joints everywhere over recent years is any indication.

Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen

But cheap isn’t always great and I don’t always want to be unceremoniously handed my meal in a paper container or chucked into a crinkly thin plastic tray to find a corner amongst the hunt-or-be-hunted food court lunch crowd. I want more for my money and better quality, without handing over a small fortune for fine dining. Sono Restaurant owner William Liu seems to have noticed the gap and recently opened Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen in the freshly renovated Westfield Garden City and like its sister restaurant Sono Japanese Restaurant, is offering south side shoppers fresh well-prepared meals in a casual dining setting.

Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen

Besides a vast menu that is systematically broken down into rice bowls, rolls and side dishes, Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen boosts quite the assortment of beverages, including alcoholic ones and flavoured ciders wrapped in adorable packaging. Asahi is produced in Australia under licence, so purists would be pleased to learn Motto Motto import theirs from Japan. Unfortunately being pregnant meant I was on the wagon, but I would definitely be hopping straight onto the baby bottles of Choya after the baby is born. Yum!

Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen. Chicken karage. AUD$5.90. Prawn and avocado salad (soy or sesame dressing). AUD$6.50

Chicken karage. AUD$5.90. Prawn and avocado salad (soy or sesame dressing). AUD$6.50

Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen. Seaweed salted fries. AUD$4.50

Seaweed salted fries. AUD$4.50

Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen. Soft shell crab. AUD$7.90

Soft shell crab. AUD$7.90

Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen. Pork gyoza. AUD$6.50

Pork gyoza. AUD$6.50

After sampling a selection of small bites at the media launch, I returned on our own dollar to have the chicken karage and the prawn avocado salad – again. I hadn’t realised it at first, but the salad comes with either a soy salad dressing or sesame dressing. I tried the soy at the launch, so went with the sesame on our own visit. Both were delish, but I prefer the sesame dressing for the richer flavour and mouth feel. If you prefer the dressings lighter, go with the soy dressing.

The other highlight was the soft shell crab. Dressed in a sweet and sour (possibly yuzu, as it’s more subtle than lemon or lime) dressing, you can chow down on these either piping hot fresh with plenty of crunch or allow the soft shell crab the opportunity to soak up all the beautiful sauce to really put the bang in every mouthful.

Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen. Crispy prawn roll. AUD$8.90. Wagyu beef roll. AUD$9.90

Crispy prawn roll. AUD$8.90. Wagyu beef roll. AUD$9.90

These are definitely not sushi rolls. Served in a classic bun or brioche roll, we got a quarter sized sampling of the wagyu beef and the crispy prawn rolls. These were matched with the brioche roll, which is much lighter in texture and easy on the butter than many other brioche rolls I have had in traditional French bakeries (not a bad thing in my book). Owner William Liu was particularly proud that Motto Motto uses the same wagyu beef they get at Sono Japanese Restaurant, so there’s no question about the quality of the produce. The wagyu beef is thinly sliced and marinated in sweet soy and served with fresh green salad, pickled cucumber and mayonnaise.

Crispy prawn has fresh salad, pickled cucumber and tartare sauce. Both buns were not overly stuffed or soggy, much to the delight of the neat freaks amongst us. Nonetheless these quarter-sized samplings still required two bites, so I recommend slicing a full-sized roll into half to make things more manageable for your gob.

Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen. Ton-kotsu ramen soup (classic). AUD$12.90

Ton-kotsu ramen soup (classic). AUD$12.90

I’ve had a few bowls of ramen in my time and whilst I still maintain that the best are in Japan (often in hole-in-the-wall joints that are tucked a meandering way from main foot traffic), there are none too shabby versions to be found elsewhere in the world, including Australia.

Often the key to an amazing ramen broth is patience to leech every bit of essence from the ingredients into the soup. Motto Motto boil theirs for 12 hours to derive a pork superstock that is rich and fatty – a joy to slurp up when your tummy needs warming, but they didn’t neglect the noodles. Nothing irks me more than limp gluggy overcooked noodles that fall apart like wet tissue paper at the lightest touch, so when I could bite into the Motto Motto ramen noodles and each strand sprung back lightly and could gracefully carry the soup up in every slurp, I was in heaven. The full-sized version includes slices of pork belly and egg, but I didn’t get an opportunity to sample these components.

Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen

Everyone got the opportunity to order their own rice bowl, otherwise known as ‘donburi’. These are bowls of rice topped with a variety of prepared toppings one eats along with the rice and can be quite simple with razor thin slices of beef and onion, or arranged like a Monet painting out of an assortment of raw seafood.

Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen. Seared salmon and avocado rice bowl. AUD13.50

Seared salmon and avocado rice bowl: Tasmanian salmon, avocado and teri-mayonnaise. AUD13.50

Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen. Pork belly rice bowl. AUD$12.50

Pork belly rice bowl: Slow cooked pork belly with vegetable. AUD$12.50

Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen. Raw seafood chirashi rice bowl. AUD$13.90

Raw seafood chirashi rice bowl: Tasmanian salmon, pacific ocean tuna, scallop and yuzu citrus sauce. AUD$13.90

Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen. Saikyo yaki fish rice bowl. AUD$13.90

Saikyo yaki fish rice bowl. AUD$13.90

I would’ve loved to have had the raw seafood chirashi rice bowl, but raw seafood is still off the menu until the baby is born. Instead I tried the saikyo yaki style grilled fish with mixed seafood. The mixed seafood included little chunks of Hokkaido scallops (yum!) and crab sticks (meh) on a bed of creamy rice and vegetables. The SO also ordered this for himself when we visited and quite liked the rich flavour of the miso marinated grilled white fish. If you’d like to try something a little different, the saikyo yaki grilled fish donburi would be my recommendation.

 

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Disclaimer: I attended the media launch event at Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen as an invited guest of Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen and KDPR, where I was provided menu samples for free. I also visited Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen several days later and paid for my own meal. My comments are a reflection of my experience, which may have been non-standard, but remain completely honest and my own.