UPDATE Monday, July 26: Eazy Peazy has relocated its hibachi grill to the curb, for a lockdown-friendly streetside yakitori pop-up. It's running daily, with a rotating menu of skewers available for $5 a pop, or three for $12. The regular food menu is also being offered to go, along with a slew of daily specials — think, panko-crumbed eggplant with kewpie mayo and tonkatsu sauce. And if you're thirsty, there's a range of takeaway cocktails served in bags. For more details on Victoria's current restrictions, see the Department of Health and Human Services website.
The duo behind Melbourne's sake brand Toji Sake has brought a new taste of Japan to Richmond. Founders Shar and Yuta Kobayashi have joined forces with Chef Dan Chan (Cumulus Up, Supernormal Canteen), who recently completed a stint at Hong Kong's highly lauded yakitori restaurant Yardbird, to open Eazy Peazy.
The 100-seat restaurant on Swan Street is dishing up food inspired by both Australia and Japan, as well as sake cocktails.
Kobayashi's Australian-Japanese roots and Chan's experience cooking Japanese fare have both influenced the menu, which focuses on izakaya-style snacks, such as yakitori, and dishes cooked on a hibachi (a Japanese charcoal grill).
For yakitori, expect all the chicken parts ($4.5–6.5) — thigh, oyster, heart, breast — as well as leek ($5.5), baby onions covered in miso ($4.5) and okra ($6.5). Other snacks include the likes of duck gyoza with shiso and salted plum (three for $16), kingfish sashimi with smoked daikon ($19), smoked beef tartare ($22) and short ribs with chimichurri ($18).
Bigger items might include okonomiyaki ($21), porterhouse with wasabi ($49), agedashi eggplant ($22) and chicken karaage ($22).
Behind the restaurant's long concrete bar, you'll, of course, find a few Toji Sake concoctions. The brand's crisp junmai ginjo ($11 a glass) and high-grade junmai daiginjo ($14) sakes feature in a selection of cocktails, such as Aloe Peaches ($18) — with aloe vera juice, peach liqueur and cranberry — and the Shiso Crazy ($19) with shiso leaves, rum and soda. A mostly Australian wine list and a lineup of Japanese and local beers in tins, bottles and on tap round out the drinks offering.
If you want to go all out with drinks and booze, order the feed me menu ($60) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and you can also add on bottomless sake, prosecco, tap beer and house wine for an extra $39 a head.
The fit-out, by award-winning Melbourne firm Carr Design, is meant to fuse traditional Japanese elements with modern touches. Think interior walls representing the rice fields of the Niigata Prefecture, a snow-like ceiling reminiscent of the Asahi mountain ranges and doors that look like raked sand in a zen garden. These elements are juxtaposed with projections of Tokyo's famed Shibuya Crossing and Japanese cartoon figurines used as handbag hooks.
Images: Carly Ravenhall and Hortenzia.