1 June 2023

Hot in the City: Maji Japanese Cuisine dishes up a delightful dinner

| Lucy Ridge
Woman and man in green Maji branded jumpers stand in restaurant

Crystal Leung and Pong Ma are the married couple behind Maji Japanese Cuisine. Photo: Lucy Ridge.

There’s something of a foodie hub developing under the new apartment blocks in Campbell. Pizza, coffee, noodles, fine wine and more – residents hardly need to leave their building for their choice of meal any night of the week.

Maji Japanese Cuisine opened in February 2022 under the Koben building on Constitution Avenue. Married owners Crystal Leung and Pong Ma opened the restaurant to showcase the best of Japanese cuisine, based on Pong’s many years of experience working in Japanese restaurants in Hong Kong and Australia. Pong runs the team in the kitchen while Crystal provides friendly customer service.

bowl of soup with toppings

The miso soup pot is a generously portioned dish and perfectly comforting on a cold night. Photo: Lucy Ridge.

The high-ceilinged space is elegantly decorated with basket light fittings and the occasional piece of Japanese art. A curved wall of windows makes the space feel large and airy, and when we visited on a weeknight, the atmosphere was warm and inviting.

The menu covers a wide breadth of classic Japanese dishes ranging from everyday cheap eats to more indulgent dishes. They visit the fish market regularly to source the best ingredients and have regular seasonal specials. Crystal and her staff are on hand to talk you through the choices and give customers information about the dishes. There’s a decent selection of sashimi, nigiri and sushi, but on a cold evening, we skip to something warmer.

two skewers with toppings

Maji has a menu that covers Japanese snacks, sushi and hearty meals. Photo: Lucy Ridge.

To start our meal, we share a serving of takoyaki skewers – octopus fried in balls of dough – and the house-made seafood spring rolls. The takoyaki is delicious: a slight crispness to the exterior with soft insides and delicious pieces of octopus. The seafood spring rolls were so good we were tempted to order a second round. They were super tasty and had a great texture that reminded me of fishcakes without being rubbery.

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I ordered a Miso Soup Pot, which comes with either chicken or pork belly, and udon noodles or rice. At $32, it’s on the pricier end of the menu, but the hefty portion size and quality of tasty toppings make it well worth the price tag. The slightly cloudy miso soup is comforting and hearty without being overwhelming.

interior Maji

Maji is located in a foodie hub centred around the new apartments in Campbell. Photo: Ben Calvert.

The broth and toppings are served in a hot metal bowl, with the noodles on the side and a separate bowl to eat from. The chewy noodles are comically long, but with some manoeuvring (and a few giggles), I transfer a portion into my bowl and top with pieces of chicken, king brown and enoki mushrooms, sweet cabbage, fish cake and silky tofu.

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My friend orders tonkotsu ramen with chashu pork. The broth is rich and creamy, and the pork is beautifully charred, tender and flaky while still moist. The toppings are simple but done well; the soy egg is perfectly jammy.

We spied a neighbouring table receiving a dish of teriyaki chicken served in a wooden smoking box which smelled incredible, and the bento box specials on the menu also looked particularly good.

Bowl of ramen

The chashu pork tonkotsu can be served with ramen or udon noodles. Photo: Lucy Ridge.

The drinks menu at Maji has a selection of sake – which can be served warm or cold – Japanese beers, whiskey and local wines. We opted for cans of Japanese craft beer served in tall conical glasses.

There were a few tempting desserts like Japanese black sesame ice cream and taiyaki (fish-shaped pastries filled with red bean paste), but we were too full this time. Maji also has a fridge with prepared sushi for quick takeaway meals.

Maji Japanese Cuisine is located at G09/21 Provan St, Campbell, on the corner of Constitution Avenue. They are open from 11:30 am to 9:30 pm Tuesday to Sunday (closed Monday). Follow Maji Japanese Cuisine on Facebook or Instagram.

Original Article published by Lucy Ridge on Riotact.

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