Toshiya, Cremorne

It’s always a good sign when you enter a suburban restaurant mid-week and it’s full of locals, because you know you’re onto a good thing. Toshiya is very much a local favourite with what seemed like regular diners just having a regular Wednesday night dinner. But it’s certainly no regular Wednesday night dinner, with unique Japanese fusion dishes on the menu that Chef Toshiya has carefully created using his mixed training in Japanese kaiseki ryori and classical French techniques. Fusion sometimes scares people off, but here, it works – with the likes of sashimi tacos, prosciutto salmon sushi and green tea brulee being among my favourite dishes. There’s also more traditional Japanese food on the menu like miso wagyu beef and sushi rolls, but the more adventurous dishes are where the fun is at!

Penguin says Feed Me dined at Toshiya courtesy of Washoku Lovers

TL;DR: Modern Japanese fusion pushing the boundaries of what Japanese food is
Favourite dish: Sashimi tacos, prosciutto salmon sushi
Would I return? If I’m in the area and can get a table!

1/283 Military Rd
Cremorne NSW 2090
Ph: +61 2 8969 6989
Lunch: Friday and Saturday, 12pm to 2.30pm
Dinner: Tuesday to Sunday, 6pm to 10pm

Inside Toshiya
Beef tataki: Seared raw beef sliced thinly, topped with onions and ponzu sauce – $15
Soft shell crab: Deep fried crab topped with spicy leek, shallots, flying fish roe, chilli mayo and shiso soy. Part of the Special Assorted Entree – $39
Duck dumplings: Pan fried duck dumplings with dumpling sauce. Part of the Special Assorted Entree – $39
Salmon carpaccio: Thin sliced salmon with yuzu dressing. Part of the Special Assorted Entree – $39
Sashimi tacos: Assorted sashimi in gyoza taco shells, topped with spicy mayo. Part of the Special Assorted Entree – $39
Grilled scallops with garlic butter. Part of the Special Assorted Entree – $39
Pan fried scallops – $16
Prosciutto salmon aburi sushi – $19.50
Lobster spicy volcano roll: Inside out roll topped with tempura lobster, tartar sauce and teriyaki chilli oil – $29
Miso wagyu beef: Sliced wagyu beef in a miso sauce – $19.50
Green tea brulee – $8.50
Chocolate spring roll – $8.50
Red bean ice cream – $3

Restaurant Hubert, Sydney

Entering Restaurant Hubert makes you feel like you’ve been transported to a sophisticated Parisian dining room. As you open the doors, you’re greeted with mood lighting and wood panelling, with the hubbub of the dining area getting louder as you descend the stairs into the basement. I’d heard lots about Restaurant Hubert before my visit. “Make sure you get the duck” was probably the one I heard the most, and so literally the second my butt touched the seat, I asked if we could reserve one of the ducks for tonight. We managed to get the last duck, which was amazing with crispy skin, deboned and stuffed with duck sausage. But don’t worry, even if you don’t manage to get your hands on a duck, everything else is also delicious. Other stand outs for me were the prime beef tartare (amazing chips!) and the pommes anna. Save room for dessert as well because these were also amazing. Don’t just take my word for it though – if you haven’t been to Hubert yet, grab 5 friends and make a booking there ASAP!

TL;DR: Classic French cuisine in a glamorous dining space
Favourite dish: Canard farci, Prime beef tartare
Would I return? Yep, already have!

Restaurant Hubert
Basement, 15 Bligh Street
Sydney NSW 2000 Australia
Lunch: Thursday & Friday, 12pm to 3pm
Dinner: Monday to Saturday, 4pm to 1am

Descending to the basement
Duck parfait: Liver mousse, maple syrup jelly – $19
Prime beef tartare: Wagyu topside, classic condiments, French fries – $24
Malakoff: Fried gruyere, dijon mustard, dill pickle – $15
Canard farci: Whole roasted duck stuffed with duck sausage, cherry sauce – $95
Bavette steak: 300g grilled Rangers Valley flank, Cafe de Paris butter – $48
Pommes anna: Layered potato, beurre blanc – $12
Melon en surprise:
Santa Claus melon, finger lime, sorrel jelly, young coconut sorbet – $22
Vacherin: Sauternes ice cream, meringue, honeycomb, lemon & mandarin – $19
Le grand macaron: Raspberry, rice cream
Mood lighting in the dining area

Suminoya, Sydney

Are you a KBBQ or JBBQ person? I do love my banchan side dishes at Korean barbecue but Japanese barbecue (yakiniku), with their premium cuts of meat and dipping sauces, is where my heart lies. We recently returned to Suminoya, a Japanese yakiniku buffet in the city, and was surprised to find it kitted out with shiny new ventilators, leaving the place entirely smoke free! There’s a tiered menu with different price points offering different dishes. We went all out on the Deluxe buffet which meant we could order as many servings of ox tongue, wagyu beef rib and sushi as we wanted within 60 mins, with a further 30 mins allowed for eating. The standouts for me were definitely the wagyu cuts, with other dishes such as the sashimi, sushi and salads acting as foils for the inevitable meat coma. Don’t forget to save room for dessert with both the black sesame and green tea ice creams being a nice way to end the meal.

TL;DR: All you can eat Japanese BBQ, without the smoke!
Favourite dish: Wagyu beef rib
Would I return?: If I’m hungry

Penguin says Feed Me dined at Suminoya courtesy of Washoku Lovers

1 Hosking Place
Sydney NSW 2000 Australia
Ph: +61 2 9231 2177
Lunch: Monday to Friday, 12pm to 2.30pm
Dinner: 7 days, 5.30pm to 10pm

Shiny new ventilators = no smoke!
Gourmet buffet – $50
Premium buffet ($60) and Deluxe buffet ($65 Mon – Thu; $70 Fri – Sun and Public Holidays)
Touchscreen ordering system
Ox tongue on the grill
Curry rice – apparently a typical dish eaten at yakiniku
Garlic prawns, garlic with butter and corn in butter
Duck breast
Mixed sashimi
Aburi scallop and aburi wagyu sushi
Wagyu beef rib and wagyu beef rib finger
Roast beef salad
Grape slushy
Black sesame and green tea ice cream

12-Micron, Sydney

If you’re looking for a place where you can do drinks, dinner and dessert, then look no further than 12-Micron in Barangaroo. We’re here for the dessert bar, having heard about the dessert tasting menus. There’s options of 3, 5 or 7 courses, but we decide to order a la carte among 6 of us for more variety, and also so we can say, “One of everything, please!” The desserts arrive, colourful and artfully plated, making for an impressive spread. There’s some interesting ingredients as well, like native Australian rosella, quandong and finger lime. Each element on each plate is beautiful and packed with flavour, but sometimes the components seemed to be fighting for the spotlight rather than working well together. My surprise favourite was actually the Pyengana cheddar dessert as it had a nice balance of sweet and savoury. It was an interesting meal, but none of the dishes were a stand-out for me, so I probably wouldn’t be rushing back any time soon!

TL;DR: Fine dining desserts with unique flavours
Favourite dish: Pyengana cheddar, milk chocolate, plum, honeycomb
Would I return?: Probably not

Tower 1, Level 2, 100 Barangaroo Ave
Barangaroo NSW 2000
Ph: +61 2 8322 2075
Open 7 days, 12pm til late

Mood lighting
Table setting
One of everything, please!
Earl grey, mandarin, white chocolate, peppermint – $19
Pineapple, coconut, sago, mint – $17
Pavlova, quandong, strawberry,
white chocolate – $18
Peanut butter, rosella, toast ice-cream – $22
Chocolate, passionfruit, rainforest lime, muntries – $24
Pyengana cheddar, milk chocolate, plum, honeycomb – $19
Carrot, cream cheese, liquorice, blood orange – $18

Bacco Osteria e Espresso, Sydney

Bacco Osteria e Espresso is the latest addition to the Angel Place laneway dining district. A cafe/espresso bar in the morning, morphing into a full on restaurant by midday, its small menu is inspired by seasonal ingredients, house-made everything and regional Italian dishes. The food here is simple, delicious and allows the ingredients to shine. Case in point: the artichoke hearts draped over a bed of creamy stracciatella cheese, drizzled with olive oil and served with crostini. Keep an eye out for the specials, like the hand-dived wild Port Phillip scallops which were superbly sweet, and served grilled on the shell with garlic and butter. We ordered all the pastas which were incredible. I thought the standout dish would be the spaghetti alla chitarra with sea urchin (don’t get me wrong, it tasted amazing and reminded me of Chinese ginger and shallot crab, in a good way!), but my favourite was the gnocchi with pistachio and pecorino – a recipe straight from executive chef Andrew Cibej’s nonna. I guess there really is nothing that compares to an Italian nonna’s food!

TL;DR: Italian osteria that prides itself on showcasing local, seasonal produce with amazing house-made pastas.
Favourite dish: Gnocchi, pistachio and pecorino
Would I return?: Yes, most likely for the pastas!

Bacco Osteria e Espresso
2–12/1 Angel Pl
Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: + 61 2 9235 3383
Open Monday to Friday, noon to late; Saturday, 5:30pm to midnight

Artichokes, straciatella – $18
Wild Port Phillip scallops – $24
Spaghetti alla chitarra, sea urchin, beach banana – $28
Bucatini, pippies, nduja – $26
Strozzapreti, goat and guanciale ragu – $26
Gnocchi, pistachio, pecorino – $24
Roasted broccoli, house-cured bottarga and chilli – $12

A Sydney food blog