senoji – victoria park

This place deserves more than the quickie post that follows. On an impossibly quiet Boxing Day (this post is incredibly belated!) we somehow ended up having lunch at Senoji (partly thanks to most places in Vic Park being clamped shut over the festive period, that’s Perth for you). My sister and I were pacing the footpath outside Senoji, hurrying up 12 noon to come around as we were really peckish – anything that was going to open only opened at 12 noon! Lucky for us, the waiter  let us in early and sat us down in the quiet dining room.

Senoji’s menu is much more interesting than what restaurant looks like. Apart from the enticing specials menu of fresh oysters, wagyu beef and the like, the menu is split into mains and izakaya-like dishes to be shared. Being greedy we ordered from both portions of the menu and were entertained by (whom I assume to be) the owner’s kids, who were busy scribbling and giving us little presents of origami paper. Cute.

Our smalls dishes arrive pretty quickly. The pork gyoza dumplings were fairly ordinary, I’m not sure if they were the commercial frozen sort but they were cooked well with crispy bottoms. However, the dish of braised spicy eggplant and octopus was delicious. In a spicy and garlicky sauce, the eggplant pieces were chunky, juicy and creamy. The octopus was bouncy but not tough, playing a textural side kick to the eggplant.

Soon we did not have the place to ourselves. Tables were being filled by those who seem to be in the know – regulars and locals. Our mains arrived with little fan fare – the efficient waiter filled our small table with our dishes

The batayaki (butter-yaki?) beef was delicious – slivers of beef fried in butter, it was silky and incredibly more-ish with steamed rice. I felt quite guilty eating it. Rich and sweet, it contradicted the clean style of japanese food but still had a delicate texture. A much more interesting dish than teriyaki beef. My sister’s main was katsu chicken curry. The lethal combination of well seasoned curry and crunchy, crispy deep fried chicken was a winner. It’s hard to go wrong with curry katsu and the dainty garnish of side salad doesn’t hurt either.

All in all, I can’t wait to go back to Senoji for another meal. My sister went back recently and reports that it is still just as good. The sake bar – you can’t miss it, it’s right in front of the front door – is mindboggling! I daresay it is one of the largest in Perth (it’s larger than in the top photo, the sake bottles go around the corner to the left). Apparently Senoji offers tastings of sake, so if you are looking for your perfect sake this would be the place for you. I’m wondering why Senoji is not well known, perhaps it’s a local secret. Definitely a hidden gem worth trying out.

Up’s: Good food and service. Authentic with different dishes thrown in. The izakaya style dishes and the specials are winners.

Down’s: Decor is not stunning but the sake bar makes up for it.

Food: 4/5
Value: 3.5/5
Service: 4/5
Atmosphere: 3/5

Senoji, Shop 1/ 885 Albany Hwy, East Victoria Park WA 6101
T: (08) 9362 2979
W:
http://www.senoji.com.au

Opening Hours:
Lunch Thu – Sun noon – 2pm
Dinner Tue – Sun 6pm – 10pm

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