We were meeting some friends for drinks at Honey Bar in South Melbourne - on Clarendon St, and we decided to be spontaneous and choose a restaurant nearby for dinner beforehand.
Feeling like some nice fresh Japanese flavours, we selected Sakura in Spring, which is just further down from Honey Bar so it was very convenient.
Not wanting to eat on the Teppanyaki side of the restaurant, we opted for the A La Carte menu, and we were seated at our table. The first thing we both noticed was how cold and breezy it was in the restaurant!! Luckily we both had our winter coats - as these stayed on us all night! I also noticed other customers putting their winter coats back on during the night. This breeze that was shooting straight through the restaurant also meant that our food got colder much quicker than usual while we were eating.
Being a Japanese restaurant, the presentation of each dish we tried was definitely more refined than just any other restaurant. However, the service was a little slow at times, but this was not a big problem since we were in no hurry. The waitresses were very polite and the food was tasty enough.
For entrée we ordered a serve of Tempura Prawn & Vegetables and a serve of the Gyoza. After quite a wait, both dishes arrived and looked delicious. I was a little disappointed that there was only one prawn in the Tempura dish, however, it was very light and you could really taste the freshness of the vegetables. It was served with a fresh ginger and soy dipping sauce which was very nice also.
The Gyoza were lovely. I would definitely recommend these - the pork filling was so tender, it almost melted in my mouth. The flavours were really delicate, and along with the sweet and vinegary dipping sauce, made for a great dish.
For our main meals, we shared a Teriyaki Chicken dish, and a Sizzling Seafood dish (which from memory was called Kaisen Seafood or something similar) - and we ordered a serve of steamed rice for two to accompany the dishes.
Both dishes were served with an ample serving of beanshoot salad - which, since we had two serves, was a bit of a beanshoot overkill - however we both like beanshoots, so it was not a big problem. But for someone who is not too crazy for beanshoots - be warned!
The flavours of the Seafood dish were very peppery, while still being quite delicate in taste. The scallops and fish were very lightly battered and fried, and the squid was served with a tiny bit of chilli. This dish was different from the kind of dish I would usually order, so I was a bit anxious to try it, but it was very nice. The pepper flavours were not too strong, and it as very enjoyable. Again, I was a bit disappointed about there being only one prawn.
The Teriyaki Chicken dish was served with quite a thick, sweet sauce - which was delicious! The chicken was cooked really well, and although the dish was sweet, there was again some of those peppery flavours from the seafood dish. After getting through most of this dish, the sauce actually became a bit too rich and sweet for me, but as a whole the dish was everything one would expect from a Teriyaki Chicken. I would have rathered this dish to have been served with a different side, but I guess we may have selected two dishes with the same side. In hindsight, I don't think I remember reading what kind of salad was going to be served with the dishes on the menu - so that might be a good thing for the restaurant to add.
Overall this was quite a nice dining experience, although I don't think I will return to Sakura in Spring since the cold temperature was a real problem.
PS - The reason we did not choose the Teppanyaki menu was simply because we had promised some friends that we would go for Teppanyaki together!