Posts Tagged ‘japanese’

Devon Cafe, Surry Hills

I had the opportunity to go to a work conference in the city, so I went to bed early, and caught an early train into central station. Devon Cafe was the destination, and I had a mere 40 minutes to order, consume, and then walk to Hyde Park. Truffle cheese toasties are only available when in season, and only on the weekend. Darn it! Worker Bees need truffle toasties too!

Two breakfast dishes caught my eye, and after being reassured that it would take ten minutes, I made my choice.

Breakfast with the Sakuma’s ($25):

Breakfast with the Sakuma's

Miso grilled king salmon,smoked eel croquette, 63′ egg, radish petit salad & kewpie mayonnaise. This had a extra unami scattering of seaweed and sesame flakes, plus some brown crunchy stuff that I couldn’t identify. The croquette was mostly rice, and very crunchy on the outside. It came with lots of different elements that kept me interested, all the way to the end. I couldn’t really use the mayonnaise as I found that the salmon was quite rich even without it.

The other dish that piqued my interest *had* been the Eggs Blini – for the mere existence of the blini, but having seen my communal table mate get his serving, I was very happy with my choice.

Ovvio Ginger Zap tea ($6.5):

Ginger Zap Tea

This was nice and tingly ginger flavour. I was surprised that it didn’t come served with honey, but then I didn’t ask. It felt like such a waste to use this loose leaf ‘tea’ tissane only once, so I took the remainder with me in a little container and enjoyed its zippiness for the rest of the day.

Edition Coffee Roasters, Darlinghurst

This place is so hard to find! It sits on a nondescript corner in east Sydney, in a building that was ‘established 1983’. I walked past, powering up the hill, and it was only when I realised that I was looking for number 265 (not 256), that I found it. There is no sign. Here is a photo for future reference:

Edition Coffee Roasters

C’mon, admit it. You too would have walked straight past.

The space is small and narrow, with blond wood, white tiling and gorgeous vintage Japanese cutlery:

Cutlery @ Edition Coffee Roasters

The menu was simple, yet so hard to choose from.

Chai tea ($5.5):

Chai tea pot

Wow. Look at that pot. Want. The chai is from the blue mountains, it is then steamed with your milk, of which I had soy.

Chai tea @ Edition Coffee

Unfortunately all the aroma I could smell from the pot was freshly grated nutmeg. The hand thrown cup also seemed to have grated nutmeg in the base. I really liked the cup.

Mushroom pond ($13):

Mushroom pond

So much has been written about this dish, what else can I add? It is really beautiful to look at. I spotted enoki, shittake, oyster mushrooms. The broth to me just tastes like watered down soy sauce. Sorry. My topping today, I’m pretty sure, is crème fraiche instead of mushroom cream. The udon noodles are a pain to eat in a delicate fashion without spraying cream flavoured mushroom stock everywhere. This is a nice and pretty dish, but I want more.

So, because I’m a little piggy and I am here to celebrate the end of exams (yay!), I order something more.

Porco Rollo ($13):

Porco rollo

Glammed up banh mi, or Vietnamese pork roll. The ginger ‘slaw’ is really pickled purple cabbage with skinny strips of pink pickled Japanese ginger. The pork has lovely crispy bits, but falls apart in soft shreds. I want to be able to cook this at home. I like the addition of sliced radish and sprinkling of nigella seed on top. I think the ‘tamogoyaki’ (sweet Japanese omelette) is unnecessary, and doesn’t really add anything special.

I want to come back and try the Oden Japanese Stew , as well as one of the brewed teas.

Edition coffee roasters
Street: 265 Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst NSW 2010 (Corner crown Street)
No phone
Mon-Fri: 0700-1530
Sat-Sun: 0800-1530

Renkon Japanese Food

Donburi is a Japanese ‘rice bowl’ dish.

The Renkon posters say that they do just Donburi, but you can substitute udon noodles for the rice. Main dishes are $11.

Agedashi tofu ($5) has four big bite sized tofu pieces with the coating rapidly going mushy and soft. I quickly rescue the pieces to stop them from deteriorating any further.

Salmon & Avocado Donburi

Salmon and Avocado comes only with rice. I think I was looking for chirashi sushi. I get half an avocado, and some baby spinach on top of a pile of clumped together rice. Instead of using the provided soy sauce, I used the sauce that came with the agedashi tofu to moisten everything up. It is quite tasty mixed all together.

Misodare chicken donburi

Misodare (Spicy miso sauce) with chicken and extra veggies (+$1) also looks pretty tasty.

Post-post Note:
I came back again another day to try the udon noodles. They were quite oily. What I do like about the place is the fast service and the fact that they are open for a 2pm lunch!

Renkon Japanese Food
82 Willoughby Rd, Crows Nest
Wed-Mon: 1200-1500, 1700-2100
(02) 9906 8610

Zushi, Darlinghurst

The main aim of the game was to get gelato next door at Gelato Messina. To prevent unseemly early consumption of the stuff, my friend and I thought that we ought to spend some time at Zushi first.

If you dine between 6-7pm, you can get their signature inside out rolls. This is pretty good: each roll of approximately 9 pieces then costs you approx $7.50. Bargain, eh?

We got:

– Ocean trout
– Lobster
– Soft-shell crab
– Tempura prawn

Zushi, Darlinghurst

And I have to say, our favourites were the first two, and not just because we gobbled them down in great hunger. The lobster one was decorated with a little Japanese mayo and crunchy watercress sprouts. The whole thing was so light and fluffy it wad like eating air.

The ocean trout had a light dusting of chilli sprinkles (tobiko): not overpowering, but it added interest.

The tempura batter on the prawn was light and barely visible.

And yes, there was room enough for one and a half scoops of gelato each. (Hazenulnut and truffle and salted caramel with peanut, if you must know).

Zushi Darlinghurst
239 Victoria St, Darlinghurst 2010
(02) 9357 3533

Sura Ramen, Ton Ton Noodle Takeaway

Once again, I’m eating ramen. I have *got* to get out more.

I really wanted a sharp Kaiso salad from sushisuma. However, I was in town and didn’t feel like traveling too far afield.

I had a look at Shalom Indonesian restaurant – I’m convinced that the branch on Pitt Street Chinatown offered Murtabak, but the shop on Sussex Street appeared to offer ordinary indo fare and it didn’t appeal, not tonight.

So I ended up back at Ton Ton noodle takeaway in Regent Place.

Sura ramen is described as: “a sweet and sour ramen with chilli oil”, and upon presentation it was quite gelatinous. It had a similar texture to Chinese shark fin soup.

As I ate, the sour hot broth became thicker, like the noodles were secreting wheat into the broth. It was very moreish, with sliced spring onions, wood ear fungus, soft silken tofu and one or two pieces of sliced pork or bacon. However, by the end of the dish I had gotten sick of the samey sour taste, and I had to leave the last few mouthfuls behind.

Ton Ton Noodle Takeaway Regent
Ground Floor
501 George St (lumiere building, corner Bathurst St)
Sydney 2000
Ph: 02 9267 1313
Fax: 02 9267 9995
1130 – 2200, everyday

Ryo’s Noodles, take two

No sooner had I blogged about my my first visit to Ryo’s Noodles, then I managed to arrange to meet up for lunch with my friend Sarah. Destination: Ryo’s Noodles!*

This time, the queue at 1pm was a little longer, but we still got our seats at the bar within 20 minutes.

Eyeing off the Top 5 menu, this time I chose No. 3: “Hot and Spicy Ramen with pork, soya egg, scallions”, and Sarah chose the “Miso Ramen with pork, half soya egg scallions, ”, and of course the pork rice ball and the cod roe rice ball. On reflection, we ought to have chosen the “pickle rice ball” instead of the latter, since I was there to try new things. Next time.

The ramen came out first, and we dug in, with the rice balls coming out a few minutes later. Apparently there were no knives available to split the rice balls, and so I had a go of hacking the rice balls into two pieces with my very blunt chopstick. The pork rice ball was as good as I remember, the perhaps we had left the cod roe rice ball too long on the plate – it didn’t have those cold pearls of salty goodness bursting in your mouth – it appears the roe got cooked from the heat of the warm rice.

The thing that I noted most (and missed most!) was the slice of seaweed that adorned most other ramen dishes. The hot and spicy flavour was nice, cutting through the oiliness of the tokotsu broth. Which started congealing in pools almost as soon as the bowl arrived!

The other thing that I noticed was that although both ramen dishes came with soya egg, the Miso one only had half an egg rather than the whole one of the hot and spicy flavour. Midway, we swapped, and Miso flavour in comparison tasted like sucking miso paste off a spoon. The flavour was so strong!! Whilst I was eating this one, I said that I preferred the hot and spiciness of my own, but of course once I switched back, I couldn’t handle the broth anymore. Sarah did like her Miso one – I guess it is a case of what you get used to, or what dish turns up first. She agreed on the deliciousness of the pork rice ball, and the almost creamy tuna-like quality.

Next time, I think I would have to try the Soy Ramen (No. 2 on the Top 5, I think). You get a simpler taste of salt/soy rather than the overpowering taste of Miso.

In other news: I have found two better stockists of the Sonoma bread on the north shore.

1. Taste Organic (145 Falcon Street, Crows Nest), here, stocks Sonoma, with only a small markup on the direct-bakery price (39cents on a loaf of soylin). Not only that, but it is just up the road from Ryo’s.

2. Thomas Dux (13-19 Willoughby Road Crows Nest), owned by Woolworths. I must’ve been blind not to see this one whilst walking up Willoughby Road last time. They stock Sonoma, Brasserie Bread and Byron Bay Bread. Yummo!

*this shows you just how long it takes me to get around to writing some of these posts. Not all the time though.

Review: Miso Restaurant, World Square

I’m not in the city often enough to remember when this popped up*. Certainly it has been open for several months, and is run by the Matsuya group who also own the very succesful Makoto sushi train around the corner and the Japanese bar Musashi in Campbell st Chinatown. This place seats about 50, and it is less frantic than the other restaurants, almost calming and
Everyday they offer a different bento box special, and they also offer
something called ‘teishoku’. They describe this as a healthy set meal, often
served home-style on small plates, and designed to reset your body and mind.
The blurb says: “It is a nourishing combination of rice, main dish, miso soup, and fresh seasonal vegetables.”

Prices vary depending on what main meal component you order, but it is usually $18 on average.
The first time I visit I order the bento box of the day. Service is quick,
and it is delicious. The serving size is such that you feel satiated but not over full.
This time I want to try a ‘teishoku’ combination – wagyu beef and chirashi rice ($17.80), and gen ma cha ($3.80), the roasted rice green tea. I wonder – is Chirashi Sushi the dish that Ton Ton noodles offer at lunchtime?
The majority of the customers are Chinese, but next to me are some Greeks, one of whom is very insistent on getting chicken breast katsu don. Not the thigh, must be the breast. It takes about 10 minutes for my meal to arrive. There is a random selection for the little appetizers that come with your meal: this time I got a little dish of ramen with a light soy sauce and a sprinkling of sesame seeds; and something like a ball of pureed potato salad, complete with crunchy pickled vegetables.
I love this ‘potato salad mash’. It is just so moreish, probably because of the mayonaise mixed throughout. The beef is thickly cut, covered in ‘yakiniku’ sauce. This is tasty initially, and then when it cools, seems to taste very salty. Elsewhere on the interweb, I find out that this sauce can be a combination of hoisin, soy sauce, miso, lime juice, ginger, sesame oil and honey.
The chirashi sushi (aka ‘scattered sushi) was a bowl of medium grain rice, with thin slices of oily salmon, some of which have been seared with a blowtorch. There is a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds on top, and a bit of soy or similar sauce Yum! I finish every morsel.
By the time I get to dessert, I’m full. My neighbours have just received their tonkatsu sets – the menu warns that it takes 20 minutes to prepare the tonkatsu dish. There is the sound of happy crunching. I try a litte spoonful of what appears to be creme fraiche with a dollop of strawberry jam on top. Nice, but I’m happy with the tingling taste of sushi and beef remaining on my tastebuds. Recommended!

Miso Restaurant

Shop 20, World Square Shopping Centre (Hordern Arcade, Off Pitt Street)
644 George Street.
Lunch 11.45 a.m. – 2.30 p.m. Monday-Friday
Dinner 5.30 – 9.30 p.m. Monday-Saturday
Ph: (02) 9283 9686

* Website says since May 2008. Really?

Review: Ton Ton Noodles, Regent Place

Ton Ton Noodles

Originally uploaded by A Sydney Foodie

My sister had been raving about this place, and how they had a salad very similar to the Kaiso Salad at Sushisuma which I am so fond of.

We got here at prime time on a Friday night, and tables were hard to find. People were lurking, territorially over the heads of people who were leisurly slurping the last of their matcha green tea milkshakes from the café. The head of Azuma, was surveying his domain, ensuring that all customers had a place to sit: whether it be in the Noodle area, or in the café next door.

We ordered Nagasaki Chambon ($12.80), with the addition of a boiled egg ($2), and black sesame ramen. Service was quick, and luckily we had snaffled a table.

The Nagasaki Chambon was the standout favourite – delicious and moreish. It came with chinese cabbage, wood ear mushroom, prawn, bean sprouts, a prawn, a few pieces of katsu chicken, and the broth was rich and tasty I couldn’t stop eating!. The black sesame ramen was interesting: It came with a quick splash of a black, almost oily, sesame “sludge”. In comparison, the broth seemed almost plain. I suspect that the diner is supposed to swirl the sesame sludge around throughout the broth, but we didn’t for fear of making everything taste the same.

I visited again on a Wednesday night, and what a contrast to the Friday night! Tables were much easier to get, and there was a steady stream of takeaway customers. The Nagasaki Chambon didn’t seem as delicious as last time, it seemed almost plain and boring.

There is an interesting meal deal you can get: any $9.80 ramen dish, plus hand roll and gyoza, for a total of $12.50 There is also beer (Asahi and Sapporo), and BYO for a $2 corkage per person fee.

You know what? Looking at the history of the place, I think I have been here before! Was this the Japanese restaurant in Crows nest, where you got to eat like a sumo wrestler, and grind up your own sesame seed dipping sauce??

Ton Ton noodles
Regent Place, corner George and Bathurst Street, Sydney City (underneath the Lumiere building).
11am – 10pm last service, daily.

Review: Shimbashi and JuGeMu Restaurant, Neutral Bay

Browsing through a three year old copy of Good Living, I happened upon a review of Ju Ge Mu and Shibashi restauarant in Neutral Bay. Oh yeah, since I’m in the area, why not go and visit? Ju Ge Mu is for snacking and teppanyaki-style, Shimbashi is for the noodles. There is a common bar and cashier area, but you can order dishes from either menu (not teppanyaki, obviously)

On a Wednesday night, I was seated straight away in the Shimbashi section. I was tempted by the winter special of buckwheat duck dumplings in a hotpot (Karo hotpot), however, I decided to keep with the recommendation in the article, and go for the Karo Nan – soba noodles in a smoked mackerel broth (sababushi) with duck ($19), and an entree size of sashimi.

I was really on a noodle bent! It must be winter, and craving carbs: I had had udon noodles for lunch that day, and noodles for dinner the night before.

Despite being on a major arterial road, the restaurant was quiet and subdued. There was a section for westerners to sit on chairs, and also a lowered section, so that those who can, kneel, and those who can’t, sat with their feet in a ‘well’, with the table at coffee table height.

Shimbashi - Karo nan

Karo Nan

The sashimi was served quickly, artistically with a beetroot curl, perilla leaf and a shaved cucumber peak on glass leaf plate. I was swooning and in love. The fish was firm and so fresh and delicious, I couldn’t stop eating, and yet I wanted to prolong the pleasure. The soy sauce was served in a little pot that was already sitting on the table. Tuna, salmon, kingfish, and I think, kingfish belly.

Once completed, my dish was whisked away, and my main course was served. four fat chunky slices of smoked duck, four chunky pieces of spring onion. The noodles were really nice and al dente with a slight fight-back from the noodle when you bit into it. The broth was sweet and smoky. However, I did find that towards the end I found it a bit too sweet and one dimensional.

What was fabulous about this place was that for not much more than what I had paid for an ordinary udon lunchbox, I had got a really tasty beautiful handmade soba dish.

JuGeMu and Shimbashi
246 Military Rd
Neutral Bay 2089 NSW
Tue-Sunday 12noon – 2pm. 6 – 10pm.
Ph: (02) 9904 3011