Shimbashi Soba & Sake Bar

17 Liverpool Street, Melbourne
03 9654 6727
Japanese, Tapas


  • Potato Salad
  • Okonomiyaki
  • Takoyaki
  • Gyoza
  • Chicken Soba (Large)
  • Duck Soba

The Good

The Potato Salad, which was a complimentary dish, was delicious. Fragrant and aromatic mashed potatoes with an exceptionally smooth texture was mixed with a light dressing, creating an enticing and refreshing starter.

The Mediocre

The Takoyaki balls were luke warm at best. Lacking in crunchiness, the inner had a powdery texture and didn’t contain much octopus.

Gyozas were no better. Extremely oily, the dumplings were limp and lacked flavour. Dipping it in the sauce helped a little. However it’s quickly evident why there’s little flavour, as there wasn’t much substance within the dumplings to give it any taste.

The Okonomiyaki was powdery and consisted mostly of corn starch with little actual vegetables. The mushy texture was not helped by the lack of a signature crunchy outer layer.

The Bad

While I normally have no problems paying extra for larger portions the charge here was simply unjustified. When all you get is a bowl that is exactly the same size as your neighbours’ one, consisting of a grand total of THREE tiny pieces of chicken, I literally don’t know what the extra money went to.If I wanted only extra noodles, I would’ve ordered exactly that.

Onto the taste then, or maybe the lack thereof, as the broth of this ‘Chicken’ Soba was just a salty, bland and watery mixture with absolutely no depth in flavour, or any flavour in fact. This soba was thoroughly unsatisfying and was a blatant ripoff.

The Duck Soba was no better. With much of the ‘duck’ consisting of just fatty bits of skin, most of the dish was actually inedible, unless you are asking for a heart attack. Dipping the soba in the overly salty soup, which lacked any flavour apart from soya sauce, was unsatisfying at best.

The service was probably the most unprofessional I’ve ever come across in any Japanese restaurant. We waited half an hour to be seated, all the while seeing dirty dishes idling by on empty tables.

Between the clumsiness of the waitress spilling water all over the table, and every single dish arriving at different times despite requesting for all entrees to be served first, this dining experience was unpleasant to say the least.

The Verdict

At this price point, the food court quality food, coupled with the clumsy, disjointed service and half hour wait is simply unacceptable.

Having sampled similar dishes in Japan, this restaurant is a disgrace to Japanese cuisine.

Would Penguin Eat Again?

Suffice to say, I will most definitely not return.

The mediocrity and daylight robbery here is just phenomenal.

Penguin Rates

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