Category Archives: Reviews

Izakaya Samurai, Neutral Bay

Sushi Samurai in Neutral Bay used to be one of my local favourites for Japanese food, but since new Japanese restaurants started opening up around the area, it seems to have fallen off my radar. I’m glad it was brought to my attention again though by Washoku Lovers, because even though it now has a new name and a new fancy touch-screen ordering system, the food is still just as good – I know because I wrote a blog post about it about 5 years ago! (excuse the crappy photos)

Sake selection* (L-R): Otokoyama Tokubetsu junmai, Ippin junmai and Urakasumi junmai

In true izakaya style, we kick start our meal with alcohol. Sake is our choice of drink tonight, and we’re presented with three different sakes to sample before making a choice. Each has its own distinct flavour, with the Otokoyama being quite dry and the Urakasumi being sweeter.

Sushi and sashimi combo* – $20.40 (usually $40.80)

Izakaya Samurai also offers different specials on different nights of the week. Dining between 5.30pm and 7pm on a Monday night means you can get a sushi and sashimi combo for half price.

Sushi and sashimi combo*

The combo has some fresh salmon, tuna and kingfish sashimi, along with a neat row of nigiri and salmon and avocado rolls.

Sushi and sashimi combo*

There’s a good selection of fish on the plate, including plump scallops, cuttlefish and ikura salmon roe which pop in the mouth.

Grilled spicy salmon sushi* (6pc) – $14.80
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Mister Gee Burger Truck

There are some things in life that are worth waiting for – and one of those things is a good burger. Instagram told me that there was a legendary burger at Mister Gee Burger Truck, and so one Saturday we went in search of The Truffe.

I’d heard about the popularity of The Truffe burger at Mister Gee’s and how they can sell out quickly. To make sure we didn’t miss out, we arrived half an hour before the truck was due to set up. Dedication right there…

Mister Gee Menu

The menu is short and sweet, with one burger, one drink and one type of fries available each time. This makes ordering a breeze – “One of everything, please!” There’s also the option of getting a double patty for an extra $3, which I highly encourage!

Baklava shake – $6

As soon as the truck opens, the orders start flowing and the kitchen starts pumping out food. The drinks are the first to come out, and we happy sip on the sweet, creamy shake with chunks of baklava mixed throughout while we wait for the rest of the food.

Dirty fries and baklava shakes
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Ormeggio at the Spit, Mosman

When the Sydney dining scene changes so quickly, it’s easy to get so caught up in chasing the latest shiny new restaurant that you forget about the ones that have stood the test of time. Alessandro Pavoni has been serving up elegant Italian food for 6 years at Ormeggio, and has achieved two hats in the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide for the past 3 years.

Ormeggio is situated on the water at the Spit Bridge, making it a picturesque location for an early Sunday dinner. We’re indulging in Ormeggio’s Stressless Sunday Dinner, which includes 5 courses of the chef’s choosing for the princely sum for $69pp. It was kind of nice not having to make choices from a menu and let the chefs do the thinking for you – very stressless indeed!

Ormeggio bakery organic warm sourdough, homemade whipped ricotta

We start off with a house-baked sourdough. The bread arrives warm, with a chewy centre and beautiful dark crust, and a light whipped ricotta to spread onto the bread. This is some seriously good bread so when we’re asked if we would like another serve, we can’t say no!

Biodynamic veal tonnato
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Menya Mappen, Sydney

Back in 2010 when Menya Mappen first opened, the idea of a self-service udon and tempura bar was unheard of. But fast forward five years, and now there’s several Japanese self-service style noodle/rice bowl restaurants scattered around Sydney, but the original Mappen is still going strong with queues going out the door when we visit on a weeknight.

It’s literally been years since I last ate at Mappen, and while it’s still the same concept, there’s some nice additional options available. There’s a monthly special (this month is a beef yaki-udon style dish), and there’s also some new drinks including a non-alcoholic apple cider and a creamy green tea slushie.

Apple cider (non-alcoholic) – $1.90; Green tea slushie – $3.30

Move along the cafeteria line and you’ll be asked for your order. There’s lots of options, including a choice of noodles or rice, udon or soba, hot or cold, soup or sauce. Thankfully there’s a decent picture menu to help you decide what you like the look of.

Tempura bar

Keep moving along and you’ll get to the tempura bar. This is where it’s easy to go a bit crazy with all the deep fried foods, but I usually try to restrict myself to two extras otherwise I end up too full to finish it all.

Cold bar

I used to walk right past the cold section but that was before I realised what goodies lay inside the mini fridge! There’s chilled items to add to your noodles like wakame seaweed, kimchi, corn and bamboo shoots, as well as seaweed salad and daifuku desserts.

Ontama bukkake udon (regular) – $4.90
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ACME, Rushcutters Bay

As an avid watcher of Looney Tunes cartoons as a child, the word Acme conjures up images of dynamite, explosions and Wile. E. Coyote. But I found out that ‘ACME’ has other meanings as well – a Greek word referring to the best of something, and also a convenient acronym of the first initials of the owners Andy Emerson, Cam Fairbairn, Mitch Orr, and Ed Loveday.

I was keen to see if ACME lived up to its name. It delivered on the Looney Tunes front with cool dynamite shaped light fixtures, but what of the food?

Baloney sandwich – $8

I was insistent on trying the Baloney sandwich, after seeing it appear on my instagram feed several times with people gushing about its amazing-ness. At $8 a pop (when we visited), it’s definitely not your standard devon sambo, but there’s a delicate quality to the thin sheets of mortadella sandwiched between a fluffy bun. I can’t say it blew my socks off though, and certainly didn’t meet my expectations based on the hype.

Burrata, nectarine, basil – $26
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