Once an overcrowded very popular modern Japanese restaurant Ocha has moved to new quarters at 3 Church St. Hawthorn where they have room to spread out so that it is now possible to eat in comfort in a large quietly decorated space, which also features very modern origami like lighting.
There is considerable stress on presentation. Dishes tend to have multiple ingredient making it particularly demanding on kitchen staff. Here are some dishes we had there recently illustrating this. Dishes are attractively presented. Food is very fresh matching and maintaining individual tastes of ingredients. An 'antipasto' dish had mullet roe, beef tataki, Sugaki oysters in wine vinegar, garlic and butter periwinkles, Ebi Pango - Japanese prawn dumpling, Horenzo - spinach and soy salad and salmon canape demonstrated this as did many of the following dishes. A Sushi Nigiri - with salmon toro and unagi (eel) was accompanied by a soft shell crab roll and a range of Sashimi - tuna, kingfish toro, salmon and lobster
A typical and classic Japanese fare displaying lovely textures. A vinagared seafood salad was
both attractively presented and appealing in the variety of tastes it provided. I did not get a picture of the next dish, a baby abalone tempura presented in the abalone shell.It was not as crisp as it should have been which was disappointing. Miso marinated black cod seems to be
a Japanese specialty dish that varies enormously from restaurant to restaurant. It is a signature dish at Nobu and whilst this was an excellent piece of fish it did not approach that we had at Nobu. Duck sandwich was actually slices of tender duck breast with a light sauce and a crisp bean shoot accompaniment.
Wagyu beef amiyaki was yet another beautifully presented dish. It was tender but it could have
been any fine steak because the Wagyu taste was lost in the sauce. Wagyu seems to lose out as soon as anything is done to it except for being quickly barbecued. We finished the meal with a dessert selection.
Passion fruit mousse, fruit, vanilla ice cream and plum wine jelly, fruit salad and green tea ice cream.
There is a concentration on presentation requiring attention to detail and efficient organization for plating dishes
This is certainly one of Melbourne's finest Japanese restaurants concentrating on getting the best out of the finest produce and presenting it beautifully in attractive surroundings. Whilst not every dish came out perfectly there is nothing serious to complain about.