19 January 2024

Chop Chop's share plates and drinks menu makes it a perfect night out with friends (or a fun lunch!)

| Michelle Taylor
a ceiling covered in flowers

Chop Chop’s ceiling is laden with cherry blossoms. Photo: Kazuri Photography.

Eggplant lovers, the miso-glazed eggplant of your dreams awaits you at Chop Chop in the heart of the Melbourne Building on Northbourne Ave.

I have been to Chop Chop once before and enjoyed the sharing plates we ordered. Chop Chop is a fun yet finessed take on Japanese fusion with its unique blend of Japanese tradition, Asian inspirations, and a hint of street-style sophistication. Today, we are back to try some different dishes.

We admire the ceiling laden with cherry blossoms as we walk through to our table, passing oversized booth seating into a more formal dining area. With muted lighting, charcoal walls and understated elegance, luminous swathes of wall art share space with classic Japanese imagery. In the centre of Chop Chop, the sleek lustre of its bar draws our gaze.


Soft silky flesh inside and the most addictively chewy bottom – you won’t forget this dish in a hurry. Photo: Kazuri Photography.

The regular menu is broad and appealing, spanning a diverse range of Asian-inspired dishes – small plates include bao, gyoza and chicken karaage. A raw bar features delicate sashimi slices and wagyu tataki, edamame, sushi creations, chargrilled vegetable dishes and tempura- everything sounds amazing. If you can’t choose, two different set menu options might be the way to go.

We order a range of small plates to share so we get to taste a wide variety.

We enjoy our plate of pan-fried chicken and mushroom gyoza. A sprinkling of toasted black sesame seeds adds texture to the smoky umami of the chicken and mushroom and its accompanying ponzu sauce.

The eggplant is spectacular: sweet, smokey, fleshy and char-grill-scented, while the sweet pops of crispy fried onions are fabulous. This is a tri-textured dish – the top’s crispy from being under the grill, the inside is silky soft and the base is addictively chewy.

The fried chicken bao is scrumptious. This is one of the best bao buns I’ve had – tender and pillow-soft. The massive crunch and subtle spice heat from the chicken karaage filling counters all that softness. Tangy slivers of pickled cucumber and kimchi mayo bring flavour cohesion.

The nori tacos feature so many lush ingredients (salmon, kingfish, tuna, and avocado salsa) while its citrus dressing lifts and heightens the dish. The crunch and distinctive taste of the deep-fried nori ‘taco shell’ is delightful. My friend cannot eat certain seafood, so I finished this plate myself.

The skewered chicken looks humble on its plate, but this dish is a home run! Large cubes of grilled, charred chicken yakitori skewers that are juicy and tender. The marinade of mirin, sake, soy sauce, and sugar glazed crisply onto the skewers is scrumptious against the smokey char of the grill.

The charred broccolini sounds simple, but it is done well – al dente, smoky and paired with a gorgeous yuzu aioli.

a bao

The fried chicken bao is on point. Photo: Kazuri Photography.

We enjoy our cocktails too.

My Sakura, a light, refreshing blend of gin, sake, hibiscus and yuzu, is floral and fragrant.

My friend enjoys her cocktail, Chop Chop’s take on a whiskey sour, brightened with yuzu. She knows whiskey and enjoys how the citrus hits the palate before the whiskey.

It has been a stellar lunch, and I walk away still marvelling at that delicious eggplant dish.


Refreshing, elegant cocktails Photo: Kazuri Photography.

Chop Chop is located at 43 Northbourne Ave. Closed on Tuesday, Chop Chop is open from 12 noon to 10 pm and later on Friday and Saturday. Find the Chop Chop menu here, and follow Chop Chop on Facebook and Instagram.

Original Article published by Michelle Taylor on Riotact.

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