Hanzo Babekyu, 45 Leeds Street, Footscray. Phone: 0487 935 550
Leeds Street is such an integral part of Footscray Central that it seems a little odd to be heading right there to eat, such has been the somewhat scrappy nature over many years of its food stature.
But headed there we are.
Furthermore, after many months of of a diet consisting mostly of healthy, splendid and frugal homecooking, we are very open to throwing some money around on a lavish Japanese lunch and are hopeful we will be able to so at Hanzo Babekyu, a swish-looking new arrival.
The place certainly looks the part.
Alas, we discover the more elaborate a la carte menu is in operation at evenings only.
Likewise the varied at-table barbecue feasts that commence at about $40 per person.
So that means we are restricted to the tight lunch specials list (see below).
So how do we do?
Are we served a disappointing rendition of “food court Japanese”?
Well, the prices are certainly in that ball park, with the entire line-up falling between $13 and $17.
But our lunches, we are super happy to report, eclipse whatever associations have been generated by the bargain-basement prices.
We eat very well.
My chicken curry don ($13.50) is a supreme outing of its kind, with the all-important ratio of rice to gravy just right.
There are heaps of onion slices in there.
And there seem to just as many good chicken pieces, carrot slices and green bean segments. Incredibly, all these show signs of having been chargrilled before being doused in the deep brown and rich curry sauce.
It’s a winner!
Bennie is equally knocked out by his “Makunouchi” bento ($15).
We’re not sure if the pickles are house-made; nevertheless, they make a nice alternative to the standard pickled ginger we’d normally expect at such prices.
Underneath waving bonito flakes are a trio of deep-fried spheres that are very tasty. They are gooey and appear to contain potato, octopus and perhaps more.
Good beef teryiaki is matched by a prawn/veg concoction of almost Cantonese construction. The prawns, a generous serve, are significantly bigger than expected.
Even the mixed leaves that constitute this bento’s greenery are top notch.
While the more detailed options and barbecue offerings at Hanzo Babekyu must await another day – or night! – we have been delighted with our Saturday lunch, concluding we’ll be returning before long for a repeat.