For me, Japanese food is all about finding deliciousness in simplicity. It never fails to impress me when a dish like this simple spinach and sesame sauce is packed with flavours and textures which turn it into something spectacular. It doesn’t look like much but the nutty flavour of the sesame permeates through the dish making it moreish and the perfect appetiser.
Ju-Rin is one of my favourite Japanese restaurants in Crows Nest and while the prices aren’t particularly cheap, it’s always a treat to go there for a meal. The sashimi is super fresh as always and beautifully presented with thin slices of cucumber and shredded daikon. I especially love the scallop sashimi which is plump and sweet.
Scampi sushi with scampi miso soup is a personal favourite of mine. I can’t get enough of the sweet scampi flesh with the slightest dab of wasabi underneath. And even the head is used to infuse flavour into a bowl of miso soup and is served alongside the scampi sushi.
A special bento box can be ordered at lunch times which has a selection of tempura, sashimi, your choice of teriyaki beef, chicken or fish as well as sides including miso soup, chawanmushi, seasonal appetisers and a bowl of rice. Today we opt for the teriyaki chicken which sits on a bed of lettuce with a sweet, sticky teriyaki sauce.
The chawanmushi is a Japanese steamed egg dish and the egg has a smooth and silky mouthfeel. It has been steamed in a dashi broth giving it a strong umami flavour and dotted in amongst the smooth egg custard are little pieces of shiitake mushrooms. Another compartment of the bento box contains two deep fried dumplings with a sour vinegary dressing underneath. The pastry has been deep fried to a crisp and there is a seafood filling with prawns.
There is a compartment filled with assorted tempura vegetables and a tempura prawn. The tempura batter is light and crisp and a dipping sauce is also brought to the table to accompany the tempura.
On one of our visits we spot a sake marinated black cod on the specials board and we can’t resist ordering it. Two pieces of cod on a plate arrive on the table and the flesh flakes away with the poke of a chopstick. The cod looks plain but we’re hit with the sweet flavour of sake as soon as we taste the fish and while it’s subtle, there is a definite alcoholic flavour (but not in a bad way!). The flesh is firm but still retains moisture and it’s another example of a simple yet delicious Japanese dish.
Another visit to Ju-Rin sees us there on a cold and windy day and a big pot of udon is the perfect remedy for the weather. The udon with beef tongue comes in a massive stone pot still simmering away when it arrives on the table with seaweed, mushrooms, fishcake and egg. And of course there’s the beef tongue which is melt in the mouth tender and has me eyeing Sir D’s half of the beef tongue pieces. I would have thought that sitting in the simmering broth the beef tongue would be overcooked but it’s just as good as the grilled beef tongue from Hana Ju-Rin.
I spot the tempura ice cream on the dessert board on the wall and decide that we have to get it. Not before long there are scoops of deep fried ice cream on our table with a green tea sauce, chocolate wafer and fruit with a liberal dusting of icing sugar. Sadly the batter isn’t as crisp as I would have liked, probably having gone soggy from the ice cream and sauce. It’s still a great desser though but I’m still waiting to find the perfect fried ice cream!
316 Pacific Highway
Crows Nest NSW 2065
Ph: +61 2 9966 5811
Open 7 days, noon – 2.30pm (Last order 2pm) and 6pm – 11pm (Last order 10pm)