I love it when a new restaurant opens up in Chatswood since I frequent the area so often that the dining options become a little boring after a while. Taking over the old Borders site is a brand new and spacious Japan City. In addition to all the Japanese homewares sold in the store, the larger shop area means that they have also opened a new “Eat Street” featuring a number of stations selling different types of Japanese food. It’s like a Japanese food court which got me all kinds of excited so Sir D and I planned to visit there late on a Thursday night.
Having been barely open for a week when we visited, it was clear that they were still finding their feet as the first waiter I came across looked at me blankly when I said I had made a booking. After a short wait, we were seated and the system was explained to us. There are separate menus for each station and you have to go to each separate station to place your order. You pay the counter and then are handed a buzzer which tells you when your meal is ready to pick up.
We selected the items that we wanted by looking at the menus on our table. There are about five different menus for the sushi bar, noodle bar, teppanyaki station, tempura station and the dessert bar. After selecting our items, Sir D and I make our way to the separate stations to place our orders. We end up ordering from three different stations which means we end up with three buzzers on our table. I think they could probably do with one counter for ordering and picking up, which also expedites the orders to the separate stations, but it worked out ok in the end because the buzzers were labelled with which station it was from.
The sushi was ready first so we went off to collect our order from the sushi bar. The sushi bar menu includes a selection of nigiri sushi, rolls, sushi and sashimi sets and lunch bento boxes. We ordered some of the nigiri which were tasty and well-presented. The aburi scallop sushi had a nice smoky charr on the surface, and a small dollop of mayonnaise on top. The scallop fantasy sushi was two pieces of raw scallop on top of rice, brushed with sweet soy sauce, roe and shallots.
We do love our aburi so salmon and tuna aburi were also ordered. Slightly seared on the top with sweet soy sauce, they almost melted in the mouth and although slightly on the expensive side, they were a good start to the meal.
I was in the mood for noodles so we ordered a nabeyaki udon which arrived in a large metal pot. There were plenty of noodles in the serving but we were a little disappointed by the other items in the pot with only a few slices of fish cake, a piece of tofu, some carrots, one piece of broccoli and seaweed and tempura bits. An egg was cracked into the pot just before serving so that was cooking away nicely in the centre but I guess we were expecting a little more for the price.
The tempura was the last to be buzzed so off we went to collect it from the station. The serving of tempura was quite generous with four vegetables and three prawns but the batter was heavy and inconsistent, with some areas of the vegetables having no batter at all. The dipping sauce was different to the usual tempura dipping sauce, tasting much sweeter than usual and with a heavy ginger taste.
We wanted to order dessert but Sir D rocked up to the dessert bar only to find it was closed (before their stipulated 9.30pm closing time). We were disappointed as we were looking forward to trying their desserts which included things like green tea and black sesame sundaes with red bean, mochi, cornflakes and grass jelly amongst other things. It seems like there are still a few issues to be resolved but it is only their first week of operation so hopefully things will improve further down the track.
On the plus side, Japan City are holding a promotion for two weeks to celebrate the opening of their Eat Street. When we visited, we received a free tea set when we made a dinner booking. From 24th – 30th March, diners who make a dinner booking will receive a free sake set. See Japan City’s Facebook Page for more details.
Shop 605 Westfield Shopping Centre
1 Anderson St
Chatswood NSW 2067
Ph: +61 2 9468 6000
Open 7 days, 11.30am-3pm and 5.30pm-9.30pm