There’s something about finding a fantastic restaurant that’s in a hidden, unsuspecting location that makes it so satisfying. It might be to do with the fact that it feels like you’ve stumbled across someone’s secret, which is definitely the case with Toriciya, a restaurant that’s tucked away in an almost-residential area of Cammeray. There were plenty of Japanese people enjoying bottles of sake and yakitori in this izakaya, so we got a table and joined in the fun.
Sake was the first order of the night, and it was hard to choose with such an extensive selection available. We eventually chose a sake on the sweeter side to go with our food.
Aside from the normal menu of sushi, shared dishes and yakitori skewers, there was a specials menu which included this beautiful kingfish and jalapeno carpaccio. The thinly sliced raw kingfish was layered onto a tangy yuzu soy sauce, and dollops of pureed jalapeno peppers adorned each slice. Fresh, zingy and slightly spicy, this was a sign of more delicious food to come.
Miso marinated black cod is a dish that we order over and over again at Japanese restaurants because it’s always delicious. The serving wasn’t that large but the fish flaked off easily and there was enough of all of us to have a sizeable chunk.
So a whole kingfish head may look a bit daunting, but it’s heaps of fun to just get in there with your chopsticks. I’m always surprised at the amount of flesh that can be found in the fish head and it’s often some of the tastiest bits if you’re prepared to pick through the bones. None of us were game enough to eat the fish eye but I managed to score some of the cheek which is one of the best parts!
In the corner of the open kitchen, there’s an authentic yakitori grill so we were expecting good things. The chicken thigh and shallot yakitori had tender juicy meat alternating with charred bits of shallot, and the pork belly had some nicely crisped edges of fat.
Sir D was looking forward to the tsukune (chicken meatball) after his trip to Japan. These were glazed with a soy sauce and while apparently they weren’t quite the same as what you can get in Japan, they tasted pretty good to me!
I was so glad we ordered this dish because it was simply amazing. Upon first appearances it just looks like a mountain of shallots, but underneath all the green there is some pretty spectacular ox tongue that’s been marinated and simmered in Nagoya red miso. The ox tongue was glistening with sauce and extremely tender and melt in the mouth – this one is definitely a must-order!
Another special was this roasted pork belly which reminded me a little bit like ‘siu yuk’ which you can get from Chinese BBQ shops. It doesn’t have any crispy pork skin, but the pork is sweet from the marinade and roasted until it’s slightly charred and crispy on the side. The ribbons of fat between the layers of meat are the best parts and ensure that the meat stays super juicy.
Our last dish was a grilled rice ball topped with a dark miso paste. Nothing too fancy, but it hit the spot with the crisped outsides and the sweet and salty miso adding flavour to the rice.
We sat, drank, ate and talked for a good couple of hours while our sake was topped up and the food came out. It was definitely a enjoyable meal and the service was helpful and deferential. It became clear that the restaurant was not-so-secret after all because it filled up quite quickly on a Friday night, so it’s good to get in early. It didn’t end up being the cheapest meal (we spent around $45pp incl drinks) but the food was delicious and the whole experience made for a great night!
18 Cammeray Road
Cammeray NSW 2062
Ph: +61 2 9904 2277
Open Tuesday to Sunday, 6pm-10pm