Tag Archives: Japanese

Spain Meets Japan @ Japaz, Neutral Bay

I’ve always been fascinated by fusion food and how you can take two seemingly distant cuisines and merge them together into one. Japaz is a place that cleverly fuses Spanish and Japanese cuisines by creating small tapas or izakaya style dishes using both Japanese and Spanish ingredients and techniques. Tonight we’re dining at the SIFF Drink and Dine event held at Japaz (at a discounted rate thanks to a hungry.digital.elf!)

It seems like we were not the only ones to take up the offer since we see other tables taking photos of their food too, including the awesome Mademoiselle Delicièuse and Monsieur Poisson from spoon, fork and chopsticks. The dinner consists of eight courses paired with matching sake. As soon as we’re seated, we’re given the first sake of the night which is served as a sangria with lemonade and little cubes of apple and orange.

Gaspacho with Soumen Noodle

The cloudy sake sangria is paired with the first course of the night, a gaspacho with soumen noodles. The dish is cool and refreshing, with the acidity of the gaspacho and soft slipperyness of the soumen noodles. There are a few drops of herb oil on top of the gaspacho as well as a clove of black garlic, which is surprisingly mild and doesn’t have the bite of normal garlic.

Sashimi of Lobster with Crushed Spanish Gordal Olives and Tomato Seed Dressing

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Cafe Ish, Surry Hills

Something that caught my eye in the 2010 Sydney International Food Festival (SIFF) lineup was the new addition of “Let’s do Brunch”. I noticed that Cafe Ish was participating in Let’s do Brunch, offering a breakfast trifle, soft-shell crab omelette and a coffee for $25, and since I’ve always wanted to try their soft-shell crab omelette it was the perfect opportunity to do so.

Josh, the owner and chef of Cafe Ish, gives us a friendly wave as we walk in and I make sure to ask the waitress if it’s ok to take photos. Asking politely goes a long way here, and the waitress kindly thanks me for asking and gives me the thumbs up :)

Wattle Macca-cino

It’s definitely a good thing that I can take photos since it would be a shame not to be able to share the awesome food that they serve at Cafe Ish. We start off with their signature Wattle Macca-cino which is a nutty concoction of wattleseed, macadamia and coffee. It arrives with pretty coffee art on the top and the tiniest, cutest little cookie ever on the teaspoon. The coffee itself is smooth and with just the right amount of sweetness that I don’t have to add any sugar. If I could have this every morning to start my day I would!
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Sugar Hit @ Azuma Kushiyaki Bar and Grill

Azuma Kushiyaki was one of the SIFF Sugar Hits I most wanted to go to last year, but by the time I got around to booking they were already full up! I was quite disappointed but this made me want to go even more this year and I made sure I booked nice and early to avoid missing out again.

Azuma Kushiyaki Bar and Grill 2010 Sugar Hit – $20 (including dessert wine, cognac or green tea)

The SIFF Sugar Hits are available througout October from 9pm onwards for $20 which includes a dsesert as well as a glass of Brown Brothers dessert wine or Hennessy cognac. The dessert offered at Azuma arrived in two cute little black boxes. The container on the left had a matcha green tea ganache tart, a wasabi chocolate ganache tart, a petit almond financier and a macaron. The macaron had a face piped onto it which was a very cute touch, and the flavour and texture were spot on as well. I wasn’t a big fan of the financier or the wasabi chocolate tart. The wasabi and chocolate combination just didn’t do it for me, but it did leave my tongue tingling! The green tea ganache tart had a nice strong green tea flavour and the ganache was super smooth as well – this was my favourite out of all the parts of the Sugar Hit.
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Miso, Sydney

If could only eat one type of meat for the rest of my life, it would be meat from the humble pig. There are so many ways to enjoy it – pork, ham, prosciutto, pancetta and of course bacon. But everything tastes better when deep fried, so when I had a hankering for some porky goodness one night, where better to head to than Miso, a Japanese restaurant which specialises in tonkatsu.

Katsu-tama Set – $16.80

Miso is part of the Masuya group which also has Japanese restaurants Masuya, Musashi and Makoto sushi bars. It serves meals teishoku style, which includes a main dish, miso soup, rice and a few smaller individual accompaniments alongside it (kobachi). For the non-pork eaters, they also have chicken katsu, as well as a range of udon noodle, curry and chirashi sushi dishes. But we were here for the tonkatsu, a pork cutlet which has been covered in panko crumbs and deep fried until golden and crunchy.

Katsu-tama Set – $16.80

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Ichi-ban Boshi, The Galeries Victoria

Judging from the queues I see everytime I walk past, I think it’s safe to assume that Ichi-ban Boshi is one of the most popular ramen joints in Sydney. Due to it’s obvious popularity, I had pretty high expectations on my first visit here and sadly I don’t think the food lived up to the standards I’d set and since then I have been reluctant to return. However, on Fi’s request I’m back again tonight for dinner before watching Avenue Q at the Theatre Royal.

Having an early dinner at 5.30pm means that we a) get a table easily for 6 of us and b) avoid the horrendous queues that have built up by the time we leave. Fi and I have still yet to try the tonkotsu ramen and we ask the waitress whether they have any left. Sadly they have run out so I go to my plan B and order the karaage ramen. Everytime I order this I have the intention of asking for the karaage chicken on the side but as usual I forget and it arrives with the batter semi-soaked in broth. Fail.

Karaage Ramen – $10.90

The chicken is still good though and the noodles have a nice chewy texture, and along with the not-too-salty soy broth I am pleasantly surprised to find that I’m thoroughly enjoying my meal.

Katsu Curry – $11.50

Sir D the non-ramen-eater orders the katsu curry which comes with miso soup and a side salad. He accompanied me on my first visit and was also not too impressed with the food but this time he is very happy with his curry and eats it up quickly.

Tsukemen (cold noodles with dipping sauce) – $12.00

Captain Awesome is undecided whether she wants the Geki-kara ramen (super hot ramen) or the Tsukemen, and asks the waitress who says that the Tsukemen is very popular. “Ok I’ll get that!” says Captain Awesome and a big plate of cold noodles arrives with a bowl of spicy tantanmen soup that is packed full of mince. We all try a bit and it’s very nice but the only thing I find strange is eating cold noodles with hot soup, which together becomes sort of lukewarm in the mouth. I think I prefer eating hot or cold noodles, not somewhere in between. Interesting experience though!

All finished!

Since the queues outside are building up we decide to leave for Avenue Q a bit early (go and watch it if you haven’t seen it already… it’s fantastic!). Everyone has enjoyed their dinner and now that I have restored faith in the food at Ichi-ban Boshi I think I’ll have to go back and grab myself a bowl of their elusive tonkotsu ramen!

Ichi-ban Boshi
Level 2, The Galeries Victoria
500 George Street, Sydney
Ph: +61 (02) 92627677
Open 7 days, 11am – 9pm

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