Archive for ‘Japanese’

April 24, 2012

PaperPlanes

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Paper Planes

Okay, I admit that I have a little crush on the Barge brothers and the delectable cocktails and dishes they bring to the scene. Teamed up with Phil Capaldi, the boys have a new addition to the family in a hidden, reformed alleyway along Campbell Parade. Walking in, your eyes are casted to the 400 and something skateboard roof, flying origami cranes and an enticing long bar at the back.

Paper Planes

We kick off with some chilled beverages and in true LL Wine & Dine style, there’s an innovative cocktail menu. Tonight I’m on the Tokyo Pop, a fruity mix with a cheeky popping candy rim. The boys are on tap beer, Orion, which is of course Japanese.

Paper Planes

The menu is designed to share and there’s a mix of old and new Japanese. The entrees and mains are a modern take, while the sushi menu keeps it simple but offering good ol’ favourites with a sprinkle of PaperPlanes magic.

Paper PlanesHomemade Pork & Cabbage Gyoza

Paper PlanesSalmon Tartare Nachos

Entrees kick start with dishes of edamame, gyoza and salmon nachoes. The homemade gyoza is limited each week and are served with a chili oil and ponzu mix; the ponzu adding the perfect amount of tartness. Th salmon nachoes are kept cool in a wooden bath of ice and served with crispy prawn crackers.

Paper PlanesSpicy Tuna Makisushi Roll

There’s a selection of sushi and sashimi to choose from; my favourite is the spicy tuna with the refreshing inclusion of apple while the spider roll has a firey kick with hidden fresh wasabi.

Paper PlanesSake Flamed Teriyaki Chicken

Paper PlanesBraised Beef Short Ribs

The mains are hearty and keep us warm from chill and rain – the sake flamed teriyaki chicken is deceptively flavoursome and perfect with a bowl of rice and the sauteed mushroom mix. The braised beef short ribs are perfect for the lazy as they are off the bone swimming in a sauce of yakiniku (sake, mirin, soy) – all balanced with the sourness of pickled vegetables.

Paper Planes
Tokyo POP plant

Paper Planes
The Black Egg

The desserts are adventurous. Our Tokyo POP plant is a lemon cheesecake in disguise, all of which would have been complete if there was a super crumbly biscuit base which we were all digging for! The black egg on the other hand, is delectable. It is a layered “egg” of macadamia nut oil, coconut milk curd and a floating disc of chocolate sauce (there’s not much, so you have to fight for it!).

Paper Planes

Follow the lighting strike and have a cocktail, or two.

PaperPlanes
178 Campbell Parade
Bondi Beach, Sydney
www.paperplanesbondi.com

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September 8, 2011

Tetsuya’s

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Tetsuya's

Please give Mr Waduka back his missing hat, because there aren’t many restaurants around that meet this standard of high quality food, presentation and incredible service. Valet parking, a peaceful bar with deep, sinkable leather chairs and a central Japanese garden that transports you from the hustle and bustle of Sydney’s CBD.

Tetsuya's Unsalted Butter w/ Ricotta & Truffles

To tantalise our tastebuds, fresh warm rolls of  white and sourdough were at our disposal as we attacked the surprisingly amazing butter. Soft, mousse-like butter with sprinkles of truffles. And the rumors are true, you really could eat spoonfuls and spoonfuls of this stuff…

Tetsuya's
Potato Soup w/ Coddled Quail Egg

Our first course are espresso cups filled with warm potato soup with coddled (partly cooked) quail egg sitting at the bottom. Mix, mix, mix, we’re told. Creamy and indulgent.

Tetsuya'sPacific Oysters w/ Rice Vinegar & Ginger

The oysters are an additional course, but worth the while. The Pacific Oysters are from the Central Coast and swimming in a small pool of rice vinegar and ginger. Ah it’s amazing how simple dressings need to be when you’ve got fresh oysters.

Tetsuya's
Savoury Custard w/ Avruga 

Shortly after, a small wooden spoon, wooden coaster and cup magically appear. After inspection, it’s a silky egg custard filled with dashi broth and topped with avruga, a caviar made from herring. The tastes of mushrooms fill my mouth, but there’s not a mushroom in sight.

Tetsuya'sSashimi of Kingfish w/ Blackbean & Orange 

Next up are paperthin sashimi slices of Kingfish drizzled with a blackbean, orange sauce and ribbons of spring onion. It’s an amazing fusion of Japanese and Chinese flavours.

Tetsuya's Confit of Petuna Ocean Trout w/ Shaved Fennel, Unpasteurised Ocean Trout Caviar 

The only dish that remains on every single menu is Tetsuya’s signature Ocean Trout. From the waters of Macquarie Harbour, the Ocean Trout has a thin coat of kombu. We’re told that kombu, a staple of dashi broth, is slowly and continously grounded until it can be sifted again and again, and mixed with coriander seeds and salt.

Tetsuya's Grilled Red Snapper w/ Peppers & NZ Scampi

A perfectly cooked piece of grilled snapper is next, and it is brought together with scampi pieces and smoked peppers. The fish breaks apart easily with the edge of the fork and the sweetness of peppers and scampi isn’t too overwhelming.

Tetsuya's Steamed QLD Spanner Crab w/ Bean Curd, Foie Gras & Junsai

Spanner crab and foie gras are my favourite connoactions together. Gentle pieces of steamed crab sit together on a bed of silky bean curd, fatty foie gras and hints of Junsai.

Tetsuya's
Breast of Quail w/ Jamon Iberico & Garlic Puree

The land proteins begin, and the first dish is a medium rare breast of quail served with puffed barley rice and Jamon, a Spanish cured ham. The smokeness fills the table, and there’s something so earthy and comforting about the textures and flavours of this dish.

Tetsuya's
Seared Loin of Venison w/ Salt Roasted Beetroot

Our seared venison loin seems somewhat sous vide before it’s seared as it’s perfectly medium all the way through. Wedges of beetroot scatter the plate with beetroot jus and swirls of chlorophyll. I rarely (no pun intended!) have anything that is this rare but it’s beautifully done.

Tetsuya's
Hay Infused Ice Cream w/ Sorrel Granita

Our waitress brings over a stack of spoons, unraveling each spoon like a babushka doll. A shotglass of hay infused ice cream topped with a sorrel granita. When mixed through, the sweetness of the ice cream works well with the tartiness of the granita. Not my absolute favourite but it works well to cleanse the palate before out trio of desserts.

Tetsuya's
Apple Tarte Tatin and Bread & Butter Pudding

Twin desserts present itself, and I giggle inside. We’re kindly advised to start with the tarte tatin; four layers of goodness. A scoopful of gelato, crunchy sweet crisps, cream and hidden apple chunks at the bottom. It’s married with a pudding which is absolutely devineeeee. It’s not as sweet as I first imagined, and we’re both scraping the ramekin clean.

Tetsuya's
Spiced Carrot Cake 

Almost bursting at the seams, our final dessert plays all the notes; from the savory tones of the carrot cake (which was so incredibly moist..), tanginess of the cream cheese ice cream, salty crushed peanuts and sweetness of the caramel swirl. Wow, what a finish!

Tetsuya's
Coffee & Pistachio Mini Macarons

Tetsuya’s is old school glamour and invention. Tetsuya’s is focused on perfecting technique, matching flavours and just getting it right. No fancy tricks, no puffs of smoke, no oranges that taste like apples, and apples tasting like oranges – it’s just good ol’ amazing food, wines and kind, knowledgeable service staff.

Tetsuya’s
529 Kent St
Sydney
www.tetsuyas.com

 

Tetsuya's on Urbanspoon

August 17, 2011

Jazushi

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Jazushi

There’s always an occasion for live music and good food; blind first dates, reunions, meeting the in-laws; all potential cases for long silences and awkward pauses. Jazushi’s been around for a while now, nestled on a corner on Devonshire St. The interior is bare with exposed brick walls and a few framed records and paintings, but the ambience is warm and chilled out at the same time.

Dinner tonight is a farewell for my colleague and in particular from my team, so her bright smile and samba moves will be missed. The set menu is organised at $55 per person with all dishes served banquet style.

JazushiSalmon & Kingfish Carpaccio

Jazushi
Green Tea Noodle Salad 

Japanese at Jazushi is contemporary but keeps true to its roots. The salmon & kingfish carpaccio is a minefield of flavours with even the pickest eaters munching on a few slices.

The green tea noodle salad is intriguing, a cold noodle mixed through a mix salad with a sweet soy onion dressing. Seemingly bland on paper but filled with amazing flavour for such a humble salad.

JazushiSilver Cod w/ Saikyo Sauce

JazushiCamembert Tempura

Next are bite sized pieces of silver cod flavoured with saikyo sauce, which is one of the most amazing fish dishes I have ever had and, my favourite of the night. Saikyo is a sweet miso based sauce, using more rice than soybeans and uses less salt than normal misos, reducing it to a sweeter, buttery taste.

Cheese is not one of my favourite things (being lactose intolerant explains why…) but I had to give the tempura a go. Cheesy, but not as intense had I imagined and the batter was devilishly crunchy.

JazushiJFC 

JazushiMixed sushi 

The main dishes began to roll out and of course, the JFC was on the menu with many izakaya styled restaurants following suit. The JFC was Jazuhi’s Fried Chicken with a lighter karaage style batter served with yuzu citrus sauce and tartare sauce. And of course, a few nigiri pieces with sneaky dots of wasabi underneath…

JazushiKakuni Pork Belly

Dishes of pork belly begin to roll out and we all salivate over its tenderness. The pork belly is melt-in-your-mouth tender as it’s cooked kakuni styled; meaning cubes of pork belly simmered in dashi, soy, mirin, sugar and sake and being slow cooked, all the fat begins to break down, mmm! The dishes didn’t stop there with the final dish of Wagyu beef steak served with sweet teriyaki and garlic sauce, and by this time I had fallen into a food coma.

JazushiCreme Brulee 

The top of the night, it’s a creme brulee in the tiniest ramekin, and it’s no wonder the Japanese stay so thin by keeping their dessert portions!

Jazushi

Perfect for delicious contemporary Japanese delights and sways to live jazz music every night.

Jazushi
145 Devonshire St
Surry Hills, Sydney
www.jazushi.com.au

Jazushi on Urbanspoon

April 1, 2011

Izakaya Den, Melbourne

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Izakaya Den

Melbourne bars really make you work hard. To earn this feast and Asahi; we persisted through a number of spins, till we landed in front of a set of stairs, a heavy glass door, through a black curtain to lead us to the gorgeous vertical dining room of the Izakaya Den. We take a seat at the bar (and it’s a must) to watch all the Japanese chefs dressed in black and coloured bandanas in action.

Izakaya Den

Unroll the architecture map sized menus and your eyes wander up, down and across the variety of sakes, shochu, wines and beers. An izakaya is a casual bar in Japan with shared bar snacks; all the dishes are categorised as small, hot, cold and chargrill.

Izakaya Den Spicy tuna tataki, garlic soy

Izakaya Den
Sweet corn kaki-age

For entrees, the spicy tuna tataki sitting on a creamy garlic soy fire up our tastebuds. Tataki is type of technique to prepare fish and meats, particularly tuna, that slightly seared. Not a usual tuna fan, but this dish worked really well with the garlic soy to give it a firey kick, and one of the favourites of Izakaya Den. Next are the simple and sweet corn clusters which were amazing. Sweet, crunchy and light.

Izakaya Den AAco’s Wagyu grade 7+ porterhouse

Izakaya Den
Den fried chicken

Izakaya Den

For mains, the wagyu beef is off the char-grill menu, simple and plain, but served with a sweet soy that made all the difference – it adds a sweet touch to a plain steak, Jap style. Not crazy but the den fried chicken certainly is. It may look fried, bubbly and all things oily, but the different herbs and spices used to coat the chicken pieces are delicious. Best downed with half litre of imported premium Asahi.

Izakaya Den Black sesame brulee, orange peel

Izakaya Den Houjicha ice cream

While watching at the bar, my dining companion became fascinated by the Paco Jet machine on the counter. It’s a food processing machine that makes ice cream in a flash. So… dessert with ice cream was a no brainer.

To keep with the Japanese theme, dessert starts with a black sesame brulee with orange peel strings; and it tastes like good ol’ black sesame, and not the artificial kind. The brulee top cracks wonderfully and it’s absolutely addictive. We dig into the houjicha ice cream, an in-house made ice cream using the Paco Jet machine with roasted green tea. The flavours are subtle and so incredibly fresh – no icicles or wateriness.

Izakaya Den is as close as a Tokyo bar can get… including whether you can find it!

Izakaya Den
Basement, 114 Russell St
Melbourne
http://www.izakayaden.com.au

Izakaya Den on Urbanspoon

October 24, 2010

SIFF 2010 Sugarhit – Azuma Kushiyaki

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My first Sugarhit for the Crave festival is Azuma Kushiyaki. I particularly enjoy the restaurants who are embracing the point of Sugarhits as an opportunity to showcase samples of their desserts, so I was grinning to see that they were serving their desserts in not one, but two sample boxes!

Azuma’s first box includes a vanilla pannacotta with strawberry coulis, and Belgian chocolate mousse with raspberry coulis topped with freeze dried raspberries. This was delicious with a light pannacotta that was perfectly flavoured with the sweet raspberries. The chocolate mousse wasn’t too sweet either and the both complemented each other very well.

The next box included a Japanese wasabi ganache tart, almond financier, Japanese green tea tart and smiley macaron. Although this box was more experimental, I could not enjoy it as much as the first – not being a fan of wasabi and heat, I really couldn’t conjure the willpower up to eat it.

It was a bit of a laugh that the macaron faces were so similar to their eaters…

Sugarhits are happening in the month of October after 9pm. All desserts are served with a glass of Brown Brothers Orange Muscat & Flora or Hennessy Cognac.

Azuma Kushiyaki
1/2 Chifley Square
Sydney
www.azuma.com.au

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