Summer city errands are a nice excuse for a city lunch - something we don't do very often. Last year Johanna claimed that Gekkazan has the best vegetarian sushi in Melbourne, so we confirmed that it was open and headed on over. We were relieved to discover that this didn't require entering GPO/H&M; rather, it's tucked away on Postal Lane and best approached from Little Bourke St.
Gekkazan certainly does sushi - there's an extensive selection of rolls, onigiri and inari. In many cases the nori is wrapped separately for a crisper roll-your-own experience. Michael positively rated the ready-rolled chilli-fried tofu with black rice, and the vegetarian-croquette-with-lettuce stuffing ($2.90, both pictured above).
If you're willing to wait a little longer, there's also a menu of cooked-to-order meals. The options were a little narrower than we'd hoped - there's currently no vegetarian bento, and the vegetable noodle soups contained chicken stock. There were, however, gyoza ($8.90) - their conjoined skin was intriguing but the filling was a less innovative vegetable mash.
My agadashi tofu donburi ($14.90) was probably our best selection. The lightly-battered tofu cubes were smothered in a thick savoury gravy with a hint of ginger, and tender slivers of carrot and shitake mushroom; the rice was expertly formed and seasoned. There was a bounty of sides to pick at: seaweed and tofu nori rolls, a croquette sample, flour-dusted potatoes, steamed and fresh salad vegetables. I took my time browsing and delighting in each morsel.
Gekkazan is a cityworker's lunch spot with long queues, fast service, dense seating and a lot of noise. But there's thought and skill evident in their food and their service - we were grateful to the smiling staff member who set us straight on the veg options.
We were inspired to visit Gekkazan thanks to a review on Green Gourmet Giraffe. Reviews on other blogs are less effusive but still generally positive, see Let's Get Fat Together, Purple bowl, delightfully tasty, DAISYUM.COM, A Chronicle of Gastronomy (twice), ~~~Wild Mixed~~~, Gastrology and The Bonding Tool.
Postal Lane at GPO, 350 Bourke St, Melbourne CBD
Accessibility: Entry to Postal Lane and Gekkazan from the Little Bourke end is flat, and there are stairs at the Bourke St end. The corridor through the middle is reasonably clear, but the tables are very densely packed and the area is crowded at lunch time. We ordered and paid at a high counter. Signs pointed to gendered, parenting and wheelchair-accessible toilets elsewhere at GPO.