Tag Archives: Japanese

Toshiya, Cremorne

It’s always a good sign when you enter a suburban restaurant mid-week and it’s full of locals, because you know you’re onto a good thing. Toshiya is very much a local favourite with what seemed like regular diners just having a regular Wednesday night dinner. But it’s certainly no regular Wednesday night dinner, with unique Japanese fusion dishes on the menu that Chef Toshiya has carefully created using his mixed training in Japanese kaiseki ryori and classical French techniques. Fusion sometimes scares people off, but here, it works – with the likes of sashimi tacos, prosciutto salmon sushi and green tea brulee being among my favourite dishes. There’s also more traditional Japanese food on the menu like miso wagyu beef and sushi rolls, but the more adventurous dishes are where the fun is at!

Penguin says Feed Me dined at Toshiya courtesy of Washoku Lovers

TL;DR: Modern Japanese fusion pushing the boundaries of what Japanese food is
Favourite dish: Sashimi tacos, prosciutto salmon sushi
Would I return? If I’m in the area and can get a table!

1/283 Military Rd
Cremorne NSW 2090
Ph: +61 2 8969 6989
Lunch: Friday and Saturday, 12pm to 2.30pm
Dinner: Tuesday to Sunday, 6pm to 10pm

Inside Toshiya
Beef tataki: Seared raw beef sliced thinly, topped with onions and ponzu sauce – $15
Soft shell crab: Deep fried crab topped with spicy leek, shallots, flying fish roe, chilli mayo and shiso soy. Part of the Special Assorted Entree – $39
Duck dumplings: Pan fried duck dumplings with dumpling sauce. Part of the Special Assorted Entree – $39
Salmon carpaccio: Thin sliced salmon with yuzu dressing. Part of the Special Assorted Entree – $39
Sashimi tacos: Assorted sashimi in gyoza taco shells, topped with spicy mayo. Part of the Special Assorted Entree – $39
Grilled scallops with garlic butter. Part of the Special Assorted Entree – $39
Pan fried scallops – $16
Prosciutto salmon aburi sushi – $19.50
Lobster spicy volcano roll: Inside out roll topped with tempura lobster, tartar sauce and teriyaki chilli oil – $29
Miso wagyu beef: Sliced wagyu beef in a miso sauce – $19.50
Green tea brulee – $8.50
Chocolate spring roll – $8.50
Red bean ice cream – $3

Suminoya, Sydney

Are you a KBBQ or JBBQ person? I do love my banchan side dishes at Korean barbecue but Japanese barbecue (yakiniku), with their premium cuts of meat and dipping sauces, is where my heart lies. We recently returned to Suminoya, a Japanese yakiniku buffet in the city, and was surprised to find it kitted out with shiny new ventilators, leaving the place entirely smoke free! There’s a tiered menu with different price points offering different dishes. We went all out on the Deluxe buffet which meant we could order as many servings of ox tongue, wagyu beef rib and sushi as we wanted within 60 mins, with a further 30 mins allowed for eating. The standouts for me were definitely the wagyu cuts, with other dishes such as the sashimi, sushi and salads acting as foils for the inevitable meat coma. Don’t forget to save room for dessert with both the black sesame and green tea ice creams being a nice way to end the meal.

TL;DR: All you can eat Japanese BBQ, without the smoke!
Favourite dish: Wagyu beef rib
Would I return?: If I’m hungry

Penguin says Feed Me dined at Suminoya courtesy of Washoku Lovers

1 Hosking Place
Sydney NSW 2000 Australia
Ph: +61 2 9231 2177
Lunch: Monday to Friday, 12pm to 2.30pm
Dinner: 7 days, 5.30pm to 10pm

Shiny new ventilators = no smoke!
Gourmet buffet – $50
Premium buffet ($60) and Deluxe buffet ($65 Mon – Thu; $70 Fri – Sun and Public Holidays)
Touchscreen ordering system
Ox tongue on the grill
Curry rice – apparently a typical dish eaten at yakiniku
Garlic prawns, garlic with butter and corn in butter
Duck breast
Mixed sashimi
Aburi scallop and aburi wagyu sushi
Wagyu beef rib and wagyu beef rib finger
Roast beef salad
Grape slushy
Black sesame and green tea ice cream

Izakaya Yebisu, Sydney

If you’re attracted by bright lights, Japanese food, and alcoholic drinks, then you’ll gravitate towards Izakaya Yebisu like a moth to the flame. Settle down with a Japanese chu hai (shochu cocktail) or a drink from the sake trolley, and go nuts with the huge touchscreen menu. There’s a mix of classics like sushi, uzusukuri (thinly sliced sashimi) and gyoza, or go for something a bit more adventurous like the deep fried takoyaki balls, served with a mini skillet of beef curry and melted cheese! While you’re at it, take advantage of the charcoal grill in the kitchen and order all the yakitori, the yaki onigiri (grilled rice ball) and toasted mochi rice cakes wrapped in crisp nori seaweed. Don’t forget about dessert either – the daifuku ice cream is the bomb and if you’re a Washoku Lovers member, you can also get freshly fried tempura ice cream for only $2! Bargain.

TL;DR: Japanese izakaya in the heart of the CBD with a huge menu
Favourite dish: Green tea daifuku ice cream – green tea ice cream wrapped in a chewy mochi ‘pastry’
Would I return?: Maybe for drinks and a few bar snacks

Penguin says Feed Me dined at Izakaya Yebizu as a guest of Washoku Lovers.

Izakaya Yebisu
Shop 7-10, 501 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: + 61 2 9266 0301
Open 7 days, 12pm – 11pm

A Japanese alleyway?
Inside Izakaya Yebisu
Sake trolley!
Kachiwari lemon chuhai – $7.80 (front) and Iichiko Yuzu on the rocks – $7 (back)
Kingfish usuzukuri – $18.80
Toasted rice cake – $5.80
Tsukune (chicken meat ball) with poached egg – $5.80
Yaki onigiri – $5.80
Takoyaki with beef curry and cheese – $9.80
Pan fried pork gyoza with ponzu sauce – $8.80
Green tea daifuku ice cream – $5.80
Tempura ice cream – $2 (with Washoku Lovers offer)

Sushi Omakase at Sokyo, Pyrmont

Sushi is one of my all-time favourite foods ever. I will happily eat any kind of sushi – be it takeaway sushi rolls, $3 sushi train plates, or individually crafted sushi at a restaurant. But for something that seems as simple as a piece of raw fish on top of rice, there can be such a vast difference in quality, which mainly comes down to the ingredients, and the skill of the sushi chef.

There’s a good reason that becoming a sushi chef takes years of training, and it’s because sushi is all about the details. What kind of rice do you use? How much pressure do you apply to the rice? What kind of fish? How do you slice or cut the fish? Do you add any garnishes to the fish? A trained sushi chef will know exactly how to answer these questions, and know how to use their creativity to make the best use of seasonal and local ingredients in their sushi.

Chef Takashi Sano
Chef Takashi Sano

One of the best ways to experience this is to book yourself in for a sushi omakase. Omakase means “I’ll leave it up to you”, and you’ll have to place your trust in the sushi chef to know what’s best. The sushi omakase at Sokyo is hands down the best sushi in Sydney (in my opinion), and that is mainly down to Chef Takashi Sano (ex-Tetsuya and Koi) whose sushi skills are unparalleled in Sydney.

I’ve had the sushi omakase at Sokyo twice now, and been blown away every time. So much so that I don’t even know what to say about it (hence why this blog post has been so delayed) except that if you love sushi, you have to go and try it for yourself. It’s not easy to get a booking as the omakase is only available on weeknights for a limited number of people, but this is so Sano-san can dedicate his full attention to each omakase customer for the night.

Snapper with snapper skin, myoga and yuzu
Cooked alfonsino in sweet soy

The following photos of the food are a mix of the two omakase menus we had at Sokyo. Both times we started with some small dishes which varied depending on what was seasonal. On our first visit, we had cooked dishes of snapper and alfonsino with sweet soy sauce, whereas on our second visit, our starters were raw scampi sashimi and melt in the mouth chopped tuna belly with caviar.

Scampi sashimi with yuzu and white soy

Otoro tuna belly with caviar
Continue reading Sushi Omakase at Sokyo, Pyrmont

Manpuku, Chatswood

With an increasing number of ramen places opening up comes more competition. Chatswood used to be a dead spot for ramen but there’s now several options to choose from, including a newly opened Ippudo in The District, and Manpuku.


I’ve heard good things about Manpuku in Kensington, so I was excited to see that it had opened up closer to home for me and I could finally taste for myself how it stacks up to other ramen places in Sydney. The location is a bit of a walk away from the main shopping precinct, but this hasn’t deterred people from coming. I’ve been a few times now and it’s very popular especially during weekend lunchtimes – so be prepared for a short wait.

Manpuku gyoza – $6.90

Apart from ramen, there’s also some tasty side dishes like takoyaki ($5.50), karaage ($5.50) or mini rice bowls. We start with the Manpuku gyoza – a pork pan-fried dumpling topped with Spanish and spring onions. On my most recent visit, this didn’t seem like it was on the menu anymore, but I can attest the plain pork gyoza is just as good with a nice crispy base and a tangy dipping sauce.

Tonkotsu shoyu ramen – $14.50, with extra egg – $2

There’s a few different types of soup bases to choose from, including chicken soup, pork bone tonkotsu soup, and miso. For most of the soup bases, you can also chose between salt (shio) or soy (shoyu).

The tonkotsu soup is creamy and rich but not too thick. The tonkotsu shoyu is a bit salty for my liking, but the shio version which I’ve had on subsequent visits, has a pleasant balance of saltiness and umami. Both come with two slices of cha shu, bean sprouts, cabbage, black fungus and a sheet of nori.

Shio gara ramen – $13.50, with extra egg – $2
Continue reading Manpuku, Chatswood