Time Out Melbourne

Shizuku is Abbotsford's new mod-Japanese eatery executing some bold culinary ideas with mixed success

Good ramen broth is rare in this town. And for that alone, we’d say Shizuku is worth a look. Their shoyu stock has a rich, sticky sweetness from being cooked for 18 hours with pork bones and belly and enriched with soy sauce. The long egg noodles are springy with just enough bite and the bowl is topped with a sunny, squidgy yolked egg, fresh, finely shredded daikon and pickled ginger and a nutty scattering of sesame seeds. It’s a shame that the meat is the same 18-hour boiled belly - the pork has expended all its worth into the liquor and what’s left is just exhausted hunks of protein. The body of the soup is good, no question. But sadly, the almost-nailing-it-but-not-quite story is one that's repeated a few times here.

Shizuku appeared two months ago between the pho houses and $2 shops on Victoria Street. It certainly stands out against the landscape of Laminex. The ceiling is festooned with wooden flower blossoms and a huge wooden megaphone, and the menu takes a giant leap outside of the box.

There are the endearingly named ‘cheesy snacks’, which we're told is cheddar cheese captured in nori sheets and cooked. But that cooking method is à la microwave, which results in chewy packages of dried-out cheese. You’re better off with more traditional pan-fried pork and cabbage gyoza topped with squiggles of spicy kewpie mayo. Straightforward tasty.

We’ve got high hopes for the ramen burger. Instead of buns, soft pork belly (or eggplant) in a nutty-sweet peanut and prune sauce is sandwiched between thick fried patties of ramen noodles, with some lettuce and kewpie mayo. It looks great, and each element tastes as it should. In the eating, it’s two big handfuls of smoosh.

We really want to like Shizuku. They’re clearly working overtime to make things fun, and there is some kitschy charm to the place. There’s something very Tokyo about pushing a glass ball into your luminous soda to activate the fizz while cheesy pop plays in the background.

Hopefully it’s just a case of them trying to gallop before they’ve found their balance. There's potential, but Shizuku still has a ways to go.

Updated on 24 Sep 2013.

By Gemima Cody   |   Photos by Graham Denholm

Shizuku Japanese details

309 Victoria St, Abbotsford 3067

Telephone 03 9995 8180

Open Daily 11.30am-10pm

Shizuku Japanese map

Report a problem with this page

Restaurants and bars nearby

Thanh Ha 2

64m - Basic, quick and inexpensive Vietnamese that’s fresh and tasty.

Seoul Soul

78m - If you've never tried bibimbap –  that Korean dish of rice with a...

Ha Long Bay

78m - With more than enough Vietnamese food joints to choose from along this busy...

The Vic

122m - The Vic is one of Victoria Street’s few drinking establishments, nestled...

More restaurants and bars nearby

Other venues nearby

Bakehouse Studios

404m - Established in 1991, Bakehouse Studios has hosted recording and pre...

The Laird

559m - Since 1980, the Laird Hotel has been a place where gay men can be...

Wing Chun Abbotsford

569m - Wing Chun is a form of Chinese martial arts that focuses on concepts of...

More venues nearby


Got an itch for short films? Flickerfest is here to scratch it

Oak and Vine

Oak and Vine

A restaurant that pays tribute to Victoria's produce growers and suppliers

Readers' comments, reviews, hints and pictures

Community guidelines

blog comments powered by Disqus

Get the Time Out weekend planner. Straight to your inbox, every Thursday.
Read more