The first time we tried getting into Maedaya we had just done a yoga class and were starving, and the place was packed, with a half hour wait. So we walked on to the Vegetarian Nirvana down the road instead(which is always a good meal).
Next time lucky it was a Wednesday night and we got bar seats right in front of the grill. Action view!
Maedaya does 'izakaya' rather than the more common Melbourne Japanese model of sushi/ sashimi and noodles/ rice. This means most dishes are cooked on a charcoal grill and consists of marinaded meats and vegetables. Generally you order per skewer. The menu is a big laminated photo type menu (not unlike the TGI Friday menu!) which is useful for seeing what you are getting (but I could not help wondering if this means that this place is similar to TGIF for authentic Japanese?)
To begin with they placed a selection of dipping sauces on the table with some flat bread and told us to taste each one and if we particularly like one we could get it in a larger size. The wasabi mayonnaise was my favourite and though I do not remember the other 4 well, we found that the meats were generally well marinated as it was and did not really need more sauce.
From memory (sorry no photos) we ordered some edamane to start and a wakame and rocket salad (which had just the right chilli kick for me and was really tasty). These came from a 'special tapas' menu that the waitress gave us as a little paper specials menu (and then took away which was a bit annoying as i wanted to try more of this stuff).
We then had pork belly skewers which were naughty but tasty, asparagus rolled with pork belly (similar to pancetta rolled asparagus), marinated tofu skewers, shitake mushrooms, eggplant with miso and soft shell crab (not done on the grill - was deep fried). We also got some rice ($2 each). The cost of each item was between $2-4 with the crab being $6 (my memory might not be super accurate here). What I do know is that the entire meal with some green tea cost about $40 (no Sake for us tonight on a school night, though the list was impressive).
Overall I enjoyed dining here. The dining room fit out is interesting, with dark timbers and some random ropes hanging down one wall. The extraction system over the charcoal is quite impressive as at no point did we feel smokey. Sitting at the bar meant we got food straight from the chef as he cooked it which was nice. There were a few blips with the service and the rice came out a bit slowly but in general it was a really pleasant meal. Just a shame that it is usually so crowded or I would go there more! There is more to the menu than we tried, including some noodle dishes and some more 'main meal' style dishes but I think the grill is the way to go here.
Can someone please explain to me why blogger wont let me have spaces between each paragraph? It is very frustrating!