Hinoki Japanese Pantry had been on our ‘to try’ list for a while now. We generally go out of our way and make an effort to travel to these places on our list, but fortunately on this occasion we bumped into this place while walking along Smith Street, Fitzroy! I guess some things are meant to be, and we did not hesitate to rush in.
There’s a gradual transition from exposed bricks to the white walls which lead to the Japanese grocery area. Bright colours from the food products to the sushi menu lit up the whole place just like in Japan, this place never looked dull and boring. As much as we were tempted to browse the isle to buy some seaweed or Furikake (rice seasoning), the fact was we were hungry and needed food ASAP!
We got some takeaway packs – a mixed sushi/maki pack, and a mixed maki pack. First thing I noticed, was that these packs looked way better than your run in the mill shopping centre sushi packs. The ingredients actually protruded past the height of the rice on the maki! This was not only more visually appealing, but it also benefits my belly.
I guess the big question is how does it taste? The answer to that is… absolutely amazing! The fish was exceptionally fresh with great texture. I couldn’t fault the salmon, king fish or the tuna. Even though these packs came from the cold display, the rice wasn’t hard and separated, an indication that they wouldn’t have been in the cold display for that long.
The mayo in the maki was very tasty and provided a light creamy mouthfeel, while the spring onion reinforced a freshness to the roll. I loved how all the ingredients worked together. Even the soy sauce was awesome, I normally don’t use too much soy sauce but I did get a little carried away on this particular occasion! I had never seen this brand before, but it was in a shiny silver packet, which already looked quality.
In summary, Helen and I had a great experience at Hinoko Japanese pantry. We came, we conquered and we bounced. We totally forgot about buying some things for home before we left! Without a doubt we’ll be returning here to eat some great sushi, and to do some grocery shopping next time.
Hinoki Japanese Pantry
Approx $15 AUD per person
Address: 279 Smith Street, Fitzroy VIC 3065
Phone: +61 3 9417 4531