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Mr RYU Japanese Restaurant in Balaclava

Mr RYU is making waves with its high quality and affordable Japanese cuisine in Balaclava. The World Loves Melbourne was invited along to experience an "omasake" selection of dishes including the lunch set box Teishoku. Mr RYU is located in a busy strip of Carlisle Street in Balaclava, a well known foodie precinct. We feel Mr RYU stands out with a touch of class and deserved to be in our Best Japanese Restaurants in Melbourne 2019.

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Spicy tuna taco with smoked herring roe, and micro greens. This dish is a highlight with welcome tang and fresh tuna.

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But first full bodied sake, the amazing Yuho Nama Genshu Junmai, which is unpasteurised "raw" sake that has been aged. Even though it's 60 rice polished, it's called Junmai from the sake master brewer. The chef's favourite sake!

The exceptional Teishoku set meal for lunch featured high quality ingredients at excellent prices from a top notch trained chef Seung, who has worked in notable restaurants including head chef of iconic Kumo Japanese in East Brunswick and senior chef de partie at no 35 restaurant located at Sofitel on Collins. Smart, delicious dishes with top presentation and technique are a standout in the precinct. With the restaurant being new in Melbourne, we felt that it shines as if it has been around for a while. It's an exciting addition to the food scene and this casual approachable style of Japanese is on trend.

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The set lunch changes daily and this selection was fabulous value in our opinion. We watched people at other tables receive their huge set box with notable expressions of delight. Often a bento box is smallish with small portions crammed in to tiny sections; but at Mr RYU the set box is expansive.

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A highlight of the Teishoku was the fresh quality Salmon sashimi, as well as tender Chicken katsu with obvious high quality cut of chicken, tangy Miso soup, refreshing pickled daikon, generous bowl of rice, a surprise element of Onsen egg cooked at 65 degrees, and finally a superb a sexy Green tea panna cotta. What a great range of dishes for your lunch. The tender Chicken katsu was a great indication that the Donburi menu served with rice is a winner.

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The Green tea panna cotta was first class showing the classic training of the chef Seung in terms of texture of the panna cotta, the innovation of the dish with green tea, and the "wobble" on the panna cotta being perfect.

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Prawn nori taco with tobiko, micro greens, and spicy thousand island dressing.

Before the set box lunch we enjoyed a large bowl of edamame (always a perfect starting point). We were highly impressed with  two types of tacos, the Spicy tuna taco with smoked herring roe, and micro greens, as well as the Prawn nori taco with tobiko, micro greens, and spicy thousand island dressing.

You could come here just on the quality of these tacos, an absolute standout. Fresh, crispy and tangy. The prawn was high quality as was the tuna. A lady at the next table saw us eating the tacos and told us she comes to Mr RYU regularly for the tacos each week.

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Japanese gyoza are always a great comfort food and Mr RYU delivered on these. 

Service is top notch with Seung's partner working the floor with engagement and a smile, and Seung himself engaging the customers. It's a cheerful vibe. We remarked afterwards how there are some amazing gems in the burbs.

We enjoyed the full bodied sake, which was perfect accompaniment to the food. Excellent wines and beers are available.

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Another dish of Seared salmon with spicy salmon roe was brilliant.

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Pork katsu sando is a standout, and one of the best in Melbourne. Bread crumbed and a generous 200g pork loin cooked to perfection, with tang of mustard and BBQ sauce, this is a superb dish for a reasonable price. The thick pork loin has a good amount of fat and is juicy, perfect against the soft white bread. If I was working near this precinct I would order the Teishoku and the pork katsu sando regularly. There's a whole sando range you can choose from including Chicken katsu sando, seafood salad sando, potato salad sando, cooked tuna sando and creamy tamago sando.

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We also took note of an extensive Ramen menu. Mr RYU boasts a selection of regular promotions. A joyous Japanese dining experience at excellent prices. Highly recommended.