Ajitoya, which translates to “secret shop” or “hideout”, offers home-style cooking and a variety of hard-to-find Japanese groceries, such as mayonnaise and dashi stocks. It also sells plum wine, sake and craft beer to takeaway.
Owners Maya Fujihara and Adam Sleight set up a few rules from the very start; no bamboo, no pebbles, no kimonos on the wall – ever. The illustrated menu, hand-drawn by one of the kitchen staff, is not only useful but irresistibly cute. Sleight, an ex-graphic designer, has sketched his first Japanese sentence on the restaurant's chalkboard. The phrase, “does this train stop in Osaka? ” reflects a menu of laid-back dishes inspired by the street food and homemade meals of Japan's third largest city.
Begin with small dishes such as miso soup and edamame (traditionally paired with beer), and move on to yakiniku (grilled beef), takoyaki (balls of fried octopus), gyoza and tempura. For an extra $7, diners can opt to turn a share plate into a bento-style meal, complete with rice, salad and miso. Ajitoya’s ramen, udon, soba and variations of Japanese curry come in heartier portions. It also does justice to Japan’s booming microbrew culture, with a selection of some of the nation’s best craft beers. A tasting paddle is a great way to try a variety of sakes.
Surrounded by Seddon's eclectic strip of wine stores, health shops and boutique grocers, Ajitoya offers some of Japan’s finest exports in a spot you would least expect to find them.