Mrs Mi, Chatswood

I was waking up from an epic sleep-in on Saturday morning when I got a text from Captain Awesome.

“Hey are you going to that robot restaurant today??”

I usually consider myself relatively informed about new restaurant openings, but this I hadn’t heard of. Captain Awesome filled me in on the new Chinese restaurant in Chatswood which has a robot chef, and that as today was their opening day, they would be giving out free bowls of the signature pork mince noodles to the first 88 customers.

I was sold, and clearly Captain Awesome was as well as she’d been waiting for them to open since 10.30am that morning. So we drove out to join her to check out this robot chef in action.

The interior of Mrs Mi

Captain Awesome and a few others had already snagged a table by the time we got there, so we walked right on in, missing the robot chef, and joined them. The restaurant was pretty full and busy, with lots of staff on the floor to help out on the first day of trade.

The menu consists of Northern Chinese specialties, with a focus on dumplings and handmade noodles. We each chose a noodle and also ordered some dumplings to share.

Mrs Mi xiao long bao – $9.80

The xiao long bao were the first to arrive – there’s some stiff competition in the XLB arena in Chatswood with the likes of Din Tai Fung and New Shanghai, but Mrs Mi’s XLBs are damn good and are a serious contender. The dumpling skins were thin, with several pleats at the top, yet were sturdy enough to hold the flavoursome soup inside.

Braised pork belly with noodles – $13.80

All the noodles at Mrs Mi are sliced by the robot chef into a pot of boiling water. There’s a choice of having your noodles in broth or dry. The braised pork belly noodles had some fatty and tender pieces of pork, and some green Chinese vegetables thrown in for good measure. Even though this was a “dry noodle” dish, it still had enough of the braising liquid to coat the noodles with sauce.

Braised beef brisket, and tendon noodle soup – $14.80
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Kujin, Elizabeth Bay

Hand-eye coordination is definitely not my strong suit. There have been countless times where I’ve been presented with the challenge of catching multiple bowls of rice or eggs at a teppanyaki restaurant, only to have most of it land on me and my clothes. I have a sneaking suspicion that the chefs are actually trying to get food on you sometimes, but it’s safe to say that teppanyaki restaurants aren’t really my favourite.

That’s not to say that I don’t love food that is cooked on a teppan. I love the way that the Japanese expertly cook steak, vegetables, noodles and okonomiyaki on a hotplate, and part of the reason why I love it is because the food is cooked right in front of you, allowing you to take in and observe the chef in action.

Cooking at the teppan

Kujin is my kind of teppanyaki restaurant – there’s no food throwing of any description! The menu covers a broad selection of Japanese dishes, from small izakaya-style share plates, tempura, kushiyaki skewers, sashimi, and of course, dishes cooked on the teppan.

Tsukune and chicken thigh skewers – $3.50 each

We start with some kushiyaki skewers that are cooked on a charcoal grill next to the teppan. Both the chicken thigh and the tsukune chicken meatballs are basted in a sweet teriyaki sauce.

Soft shell crab salad – $14
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