Matsu Hashi, Clifton Hill

I seriously couldn’t be bothered cooking and I had a serious craving for Japanese.  I heard that there was a decent Japanese joint in Clifton Hill so we headed over on a cold Thursday night to give it a go.  The place is called Matsu Hashi, a discreet restaurant on Queens Parade.

The décor had that typical Japanese style – lots of geometrical shapes, clean surfaces and door curtains, with a sushi chef working away amidst a fleet of sushi boats.

Our table was set with a dishlette of pickled salad, another empty dishlette for soy sauce, and the vessel that contained the soy sauce, as well as a napkin with wooden chopsticks.  I suppose wooden chopsticks are more convenient than having to wash hundreds of sticks every night.

I ordered the Beef Curry Udon because I was curious about having curry with noodles instead of rice.  It arrived in a huge deep plate, the udon noodles submerged in a saucy curry filled with beef, carrot and potato.

It had a gravy-like consistency with the expected sweet curry flavour that was smooth and mild.  This flavour was was consistent with each mouthful, regardless of whether it was a piece of beef, potato or noodle.  The beef was tender, the vegetables soft and the udon noodles al dente.
I did a bit of reading about the history of curry in Japan.  It was brought over by the British in the late 1800s, when India was under their administration.  The Japanese experimented with it and eventually adapted it to infiltrate Japanese cuisine.  Here is a cute cartoon I found at cheftaro.com:
Dave got the Katsu Don – crumbed pork and onions with egg and rice.  He had eaten this earlier in the week for lunch and said that the quality of the meat and onions were much better than his lunchtime rendition, but the rice could have been better.  
I sampled a piece of pork with some onion and it was savoury and succulent.  Food envy…
I enjoyed our brief encounter with Matsu Hashi.  The staff were very quiet, dutiful and polite, and the food quality and presentation was excellent considering the great price.  I would love to try some other dishes like the soft shell crab, a few pieces of gyoza and the grilled eggplant with soya bean paste.  

http://www.matsuhashi.com.au/

Matsu Hashi on Urbanspoon

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