Queen Chu is one of my best friends. The reason why we work so well together is because we’re both obsessed with food. We both love to cook, we both love to read cookbooks, and, of course, we both love to eat. Unfortunately since uni started this year, there hasn’t been much time for us to do any of those things together because we are both drowning in the seemingly insurmountable workload that comprises an honours thesis. Somewhat amazingly, along came a weekend when we were both relatively free and immediately we began brainstorming places to eat. We rounded up a group of 6 and headed to Sushi Samurai to catch up over some sushi.
Luckily I had made a booking earlier in the day because when we arrived at 7.30pm on a Saturday night it was completely packed and they were turning away people who had rocked up hoping to get a table. The restaurant was quite dark which made it difficult to read the extensive menu as well as take photos. We were also seated under the air conditioner which was dripping water occasionally onto the table so we made sure we didn’t put any of the food in that spot!
The tofu came topped with sesame seeds, spring onions and finely grated daikon radish and they sat in a rich soy and dashi broth. The deep fried potato starch casing became sticky and glutinous as it soaked up the delicious broth.
As soon as I saw cream croquettes on the menu I had to order them. Who could resist crumbed and deep fried batons with a creamy filling? I couldn’t detect much of a crab flavour to them, but that didn’t matter because what I was really after was the super crunchy outside and the creamy insides. These came with a sweet chilli sauce but we all preferred the Japanese mayonnaise, especially MB who made sure every last bit of it was consumed.
Karaage chicken is one of my benchmark dishes when I go to Japanese places and this one hit the spot. The chicken was juicy and tender and the batter on the outside was crunchy and well-seasoned. Again it came with the sweet chilli sauce but we dipped it in the small dollop of Japanese mayonnaise.
BLT and Queen Chu requested the miso eggplant and although I don’t usually like eggplant, this one was delicious and I kept going back for more. The eggplant was soft and yielding and smothered in a sweet miso paste. Definitely something I would order again.
Seeing as we had quite a few sushi and sashimi lovers, we went ahead and ordered the sushi and sashimi combo which was a long platter filled with salmon avocado roll, assorted nigiri and fresh sashimi.
There were some oohs when this large platter was placed on the table and we eagerly dug in. The sashimi slices consisted of salmon, kingfish and tuna, and the nigiri included prawn, cuttlefish and egg amongst others. There was a long silence while everyone ate their sushi and sashimi, which I took as a sign of enjoyment. The platter also came with two bowls of miso soup (not pictured).
We also ordered the tiger roll which was a tempura prawn inside-out roll which was topped with thinly sliced avocado, sesame seeds and squiggles of Japanese mayonnaise. It was satisfying but couldn’t quite compete with the enticing fresh sushi and sashimi platter.
Last but not least, the tempura arrived in a basket and was still hot and fresh from the deep fryer. The tempura serving was very generous, with two prawns, two pieces of fish and lots of vegetables. The batter was very light and crunchy which is exactly how I like it.
It turns out we ordered the perfect amount of food, as everyone was full and satisfied but there was no leftover food on the table. Both Queen Chu and I had satisfied our sushi cravings, and after a night of food, fun and laughter with friends, we parted ways to get back to the ominous mountains of honours work awaiting us at home. Until next time.
Shop 3, 197 Military Road
Neutral Bay NSW 2089
Ph: +61 2 9953 4059
Open 7 days, 11am-2.30pm and 5.30pm-10pm