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Archive for the ‘Japanese’ Category

There is no hope that I will ever, EVER make a dent in the growing backlog of places I have yet to blog about ..so I’ve given up being a perfectionist and am just going to go in any kind of un-chronological order ! :)

Sooooo. When I found out about Kobe Jones’ $25 all you can eat sushi buffet winter special, I was gushing about it to all my friends, but only 2 of them had even heard of Kobe Jones before :( – but then who can deny sushi buffet ?!

 

Being the second sushi buffet I’ve been to in less than a week, you can only imagine my anticipation of such a meal during my rush from Broadway to Wynyard on foot in less than twenty minutes for lunchhhh. :)

 

The way Kobe Jones’ sushi buffet works is that you get one platter, a ‘taste tester’, which has a selection of all the nigiri and sushi for the day, that you share between your group. They call this ‘graze feeding’, like cows :D You’re not supposed to be able to order another platter until you’ve finished your current one, with the option to customise your forthcoming platters by omitting the ones not to your taste and choosing the ones you like best.

 

Seeing as a regular sushi platter at Kobe Jones usually costs $55 …. ;)

 

Second Sushi Platter

I missed the first platter because I was late due to my mad rush to Wynyard :( But neither Charis nor Daniel customised the second platter, so s’all good :)

 

Volcano roll – $28
Oven baked scallops layered on a crab salad and avocado roll with Kobe’s special cream sauce and a sesame seed and shallot sprinkle

This is supposed to be the ‘creme de la creme’ of Kobe Jones. Priced at a hefty $28 alone, I suppose if you come here and eat even a plate of this yourself you’re already getting your money’s worth.

My first bite of scallop I mistook for an egg – probably because it was bathed in KJ’s ‘special sauce’, which is superrr creamy and verry eggy. The crab salad is also delicious :) and the volcano roll itself is a circle of avocado & crabmeat drenched in special sauce, with dollops of mushy scallop and shallots.

 

Crunchy Roll – $22
Tempura prawns with crab salad and cucumber layered with tempura flakes and smelt roe

The tempura batter lived up to its name :D Satisfyingly crunchy, and the prawn was tender but not too soft, providing resistance to the bite.

 

Nigiri – $4.50 each
(L-R) King fish, tuna, salmon

 Apparently this photo is a clear example of the clumsiness of the waiters – for some reason, there’s a dollop of eel sauce on the tuna & the salmon. :s hmmm..

I wouldn’t say Kobe Jones had any sneaky tricks like putting huge clumps of rice beneath tiny pieces of sashimi. From the photo above, it’s pretty clear that their portions of sashimi were generous, and according to DK, not thin or overly thick. Some of the sashimi looked a bit dry, but didn’t taste that way (or maybe that was because I have ample saliva in my mouth :p)

 

Third Sushi Platter :)

 

Caterpillar Roll – $22
Unagi, crab salad, cucumber with avocado layered on top

I found that if I didn’t eat this in one bite, the sushi had a kind of bitter taste to it. The crabmeat salad was fleshy as always, but the eel had a subtle bitter taste to it that you don’t reaaaallly notice …unless you were looking. I think my dining companions didn’t reaaally like the eel, but it wasn’t too bad !

 

Spider Roll – $24
Soft shell crab with avocado, crab salad, cucumber with smelt roe sprinkle

I loooove soft shell crab! 2 years ago I didn’t even know what soft shell crab looked like! This was nice and crunchy, but the portions of crab weren’t very even. As you can see in the photos above, there was a lot more rice to the crab in some pieces ..not that I mind :) (but Daniel does!)

 

Dynamite Roll – $16
your choice of spicy tuna, kingfish, salmon or scallops with cucumber and sesame seeds

The first dynamite roll had salmon in it …the second, tuna. TBH, it just tasted like they rolled it in chilli powder T_T . Although you can’t really seee it, I couldn’t taste anything other than the chilli.

Usuaully you can choose the chilli level from 1 to 5, but when we asked we were told by a rather ineloquent waitress that the sushi was premade. hrm.

 

Fourth Sushi Platter :)

Haha, they’re actually using a less..visually appealing bowl for the volcano roll !

 

Crunchy Roll – $22

Prawn tempura with prawn tail sticking out :D

I wanted to go for a fifth platter, but Charis had already left, and Daniel told me that he was full to the point of vomiting. :( And that if I kept eating, he’d vomit on the inside …..so yeah. Needless to say, we got the bill afterwards.

 

interior

I’ve heard a lot of moaning & groaning about the quality of the service at Kobe Jones, and I wouldn’t say they’re as standoffish as everyone makes out rather than klutzy. :(

Although the waitress was attentive, during lunch hour there was only one (clumsy) girl to be seen rushing between tables. In the first 5 minutes after arrival, I saw the waitstaff:

– drop a diner’s plate on the floor

– knock Charis’ dish of soy sauce onto the table with a sushi platter

– give the wrong order to a table

– accidentally pour water onto the floor instead of in a glass (when I saw this happen, it was apparently the second time)

Not to mention finding a fly on my plate (sure, the restaurant is open space, but NO APOLOGY EITHER? :( ) and a short strand of hair hair.

Waiting time was probably only about ten minutes in between platters, but apparently the girl said everything was premade …so hrmmm to freshness?

If you don’t like crabmeat I wouldn’t suggest going here, seeing as EVERYTHING had crabmeat in it except for the sashimi (duhh). Then again, I love crabmeat and crabsticks and crab salad, sooo :D talk abt paradise ! All the sushi and rice were pretty soft – not to the point of mushy – but if you like a ‘sturdier’ kind of sushi ..well hrm.

$25 all you can eat sushi buffet, only available on weekdays for lunch, from 12pm – 3pm.

 

Kobe Jones (visited 28/08/09)
29 Lime St
Sydney NSW
Ph: (02) 9299 529
http://www.kobejones.com.au

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Krispy Kreme is having their sixth birthday this Friday (19th of June) … which means …….. six original glazed doughnuts for a dollar !!
YESS that’s right, 6 for $1 !! So if you go in store, you can get a doughnut apiece for the very cool price of 16.67 cents (but only at Auburn, Liverpool, Penrith & the city stores)
Sooooo! if you missed out on the free KFC burger on Tuesday, go buy Krispy Kremes on Friday !! :)

Anyways ..onto the foodie photos :)

Menya is one of those secrets of Sydney – a place that everybody talks about but nobody knows where it is – until, of course, you go there.
The place itself is owned by I’s Group, a company that owns a small chain of Japanese restaurants around Australia (think Sydney, Brisbane, and Cairns) – classified into three distinct “class levels” of dining – and advocating their dishes as “a taste of Japanese in Australia”.

 


The tagline for Menya is the modern ramen restaurant – providing the best traditional Japanese ramen noodles in Sydney at affordable prices ….and affordable they are !

For a Thursday night, the noodle bar is lively and bustling with customers. They have a system, I think, because the moment you step inside, the first thing they ask you to do is ORDER (you can’t even sit down!). It’s like fast food, except with the quality of restaurant food, and once you’ve ordered & are subsequently seated, THENN they bring the food to you ;)

 


Menus are posted up on the wall ..The vegetarian meal’s on holiday! :O (haha, how cute)

 


mmm nomnomnom ! The ramen servings look huuuge in this picture, and this man looks very satisfied!
But will we be the same ..?

 

Menya soba – $7.90
Soy flavoured stock soup topped with seasoned fried bean curd, seaweed, tempura flakes and cooked shitake mushroom

I thought soba wasn’t in soup ! :( (even though the menu clearly says it’s in SOUP) ..But I was probably thinking of yakisoba …but this was nice anyway!
Extremelyyy salty (this coming from the person who used to eat globules of salt by itself), very warm, and very tasty (I think I like soba more than ramen)

 

Ton-toro ramen (pork) – $10.90
“Tonkotsu” noodle soup topped with lots of thinly sliced roast pork, boiled bean sprout and sesame

Does this not look tastyyy =9 Every meal so far had a generous helping of sesame seeds ..and the ramen wasn’t soggy, either ! A lot of the meat I’ve been eating these days have been reminiscent of those Chinese soup meats ..so a little stewy, but still good nevertheless !

 

Kogashi-cheese ramen – $9.90
“Tonkotsu” noodle soup topped with lots of melted mozzarella cheese, boiled bean sprout, naruto, menma, and sesame

Mmm… cheesy goodnessss…! With chillis and a sprinkling of sesame seeds …extra chilli sauce available if you’re an extra hot kind of person ;)

Menya also has those loyalty cards, where if you buy 20 meals, you get a free ‘Monthly dish’ ! Unfortunately the monthly dish is limited to about four or five items on the menu, (the menya soba/udon being one of them) …but rewarding your loyal customers, I liiiike it ! ;)

 


But they don’t let you bring outside food in ..which is fair enough.

 

Menya Noodle Bar (visited 28/05/09)
Level Ground, Shop TG8, 8 Quay St
Haymarket, NSW 2000
Tel: (02) 9212 1020
http://www.menya.com.au

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Tokio Fans is possibly my dad’s favourite restaurant evaaarhhh. I’d say that this place is pretty much a monopoly in Bella Vista, just because I don’t think that there are (m)any other Japanese restaurants in Norwest, or at least in Norwest Business Park, anyway.

I’ve actually been here for lunch & dinner but I never blogged about the first time so here we go! First off, apologies for the dodgy photos T_T my phone camera is pretty crap ..especially at night (SE k800i ftw!)

 

Lunch @ Tokio Fans (03/04/09)
I remember I was in a pretty crappy mood this day (angry at my poor, loving father), but the food was so good I was cheered up instantly! :)  Another thing I also remember is the really pretty decor at Tokio Fans!!

 

They have these traditional Japanese lights and for a waterfront restaurant, everything’s nice and dry and there are nooo bugs anywhere!! (You also get an awesome view of Norwest Lake ..if you’re looking)

 

Instead of your regular placemats and tablecloths, Tokio Fans gives you a recyclable paper placemat, showing pictures of the different kinds of seafood and their respective Japanese names

‘Cos it was lunch, we both ordered the set ..which comes out dish by dish so seems like you ordered heaaaaps for what you actually paid for (all the sets came with miso soup as well)!

I ordered the Vegetable set with fried tofu steak – $18.50, which comes with the following three things:

 

Tofu steak

tofu covered in a crispy tempura-style batter on a bed of lettuce strips with carrots and peas .. mm tasty !

 

A helping of Tokio salad

THIS IS THE BEST SALAD EVER ….yeah.

 

Vegetarian sushi and vegetable tempura

Eggplant and carrot tempura ..sounds weird, right? And veryyy healthy eating battered vegetables, but they were really good!

 

close up of the vegetable sushi .. carrots, cucumbers, lettuce ..and sprinkled with sesame seeds!

 

My dad ordered Sashimi and Fried Eel – $22.50, which came with:

 

California sushi

two pieces of California sushi (just crabstick, avocado, fish roe), with a dash of pink ginger and wasabi

 

Sashimi

Two slices of tuna, salmon, fish on a bed of carrot shavings

 

Fried Eel

Unagi don with pink ginger and yellow radish slices!
This was reallyyyy good eel, and it came in those cute don boxes that you see at the likes of Ichiban Boshi! The only thing I don’t like about those boxes is that they LOOK deceptively deep ..so you brace yourself for a hearty fill of rice and eel ..but then the box just ends!

Dinner @ Tokio Fans (18/05/09)

 

random cat decoration!

 

random grandma plate o.o

 

Tokio Salad – $12
Crabsticks, Prawns, Crab Roe, Cucumber, Avocado and tomato tossed with home-made mayonnaise

This is a terrible photo of one of my favourite salads everr!! You can see a slightly better photo under the ‘lunch’ section above, but I ordered a bigger version of this for dinner …I can’t explain how good it is (and for those of you who don’t like mayonnaise !..not to worry, it’s Tokio Fans’ version of very thin, watery mayonnaise ..yeah, i made that sound appealing) ..but if you ever go here, you HAVE to try it!

 

Salmon Salad – $15.50
Marinated salmon served on a bed of greens tossed with house vinegar sauce

Soft squishy salmon with sesame seeds, carrot strips and mayonnaise ..this salad has NOTHING on the Tokio Salad! And if you’re not a fan of salmon, this dish comes in red tuna as well!

 

Grilled eel served with steamed rice and miso soup – $19.50

This time the unagi wasn’t as good ..but whatever! You can never go wrong with unagi sauce <3

I was actually dying to try the Summer Queen roll .. $20.50 for a sushi roll BUT it’s shrimp tempura with mango (or “another seasonal fruit” , wrapped in a sweet egg roll layered on mayonnaise and tobiko (flying fish roe)!! ..but they didn’t have any mango (out of season), only strawberry ..soooo next time!!

 

Tako Octopus – $2.80 a piece

Instead we ordered this! which was prettyyy chewy ..but nice nevertheless.

 

Complimentary dessert !! ..omg i wish the pic was better -_-

Who needs antacids when you can eat chocolate ! On the left is a (white) chocolate mousse with a ring of sponge cake, and a layer of liquid chocolate on top. I’m not really a fan of mousse, but as mousses go, this was prettyyyy good mousse, and the salty chips on top were nice as well!

Then there was a chocolate mousse pyramid, encasing a soft vanilla sponge and a squishy pavlova-tasting meringue centre beneath a cluster of blueberrys.. and three chocolate nut pockys, all floating on a river of strawberry syrup! let’s ride the crimson waaaaaave (lol, or not!)

And to wash down all the sweetness, two scoops of your typical vanilla ice cream and chocolate ice cream with little choc bits – reminds me of the choc ice cream in timezone ice cream!!

 

 

pretty night lights!

 

Oh yeah! If anyone’s around Chinatown before the 4th June, pop around to Emperor Garden (the bakery, the Chinese restaurant, or any of their counterparts) for 10% off to celebrate their 30th anniversary! They’re also running a draw for a car of some sort (but I’m not exactly a car buff so I wouldn’t know :\)
Emperor Garden can be found at 100 Hay St, or the corner of the entrance to Chinatown opposite Market City!

Tokio Fans Sushi Bar & Restaurant (visited 03/04/09 & 18/05/09)
Suite G04, Building 8
Norwest Central
Century Circuit, Baulkham Hills 2154
Ph: (02) 9899 3866
Fax: (02) 9899 7888
http://www.tokiofans.com.au

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Saturday night marked the breaking of restaurant-eating virginity for Rosy and I, as it was the first night we went to the same restaurant TOGETHER since the inauguration of this food blog (even though we didn’t even sit near each other -_-) !

We went to Wagaya, and for those of you who don’t know (and I really doubt that there’s anyone at all), Wagaya is one of those dimly lit dens that you step into …and find nobody around to serve you!
This is because all of their waiters are like vampires in hiding – they don’t come out of the dark (they only start trading at 5pm!) unless there are customers to be served or food to be brought ..thanks to their electronic self-service.

 

the electronic screens where you can choose what to order, featuring the salad that you see in REAL LIFE in the next photo =9

 

 

Soft shell crab salad – $9.90
Deep fried soft shell crab, lotus root chips served with mix salad and topped with Parmesan cheese

Salad was reallyy good, and I loved the soft shell crab ! Probably my favourite dish of the night, because Cindy and I split four dishes among us, BUTT ..picky picky Cindy didn’t like a lot of the stuff.

 

Squid mentai pizza – $8.50
Japanese style pizza topped with squid and cod roe.

One of the things I also love about Wagaya are their pizzas ! They always overload it with cheese <3, and this pizza was no different. Squid, cheese, mushroom and prawns, with shallots and a veryyyy soggy non-existent crust ….a cheesy mess on a black iron plate!

 

Ox tongue nikomi – $8.90

Cooked, tender ox framed with cherry tomato halves in sauce. The ox tongue was super tasty imo, though it reminded me a little of that chewy beef. Cindy wasn’t that keen on it, but I think she was a little disappointed because our other friends ate the grilled ox tongue we ordered, so we were stuck with this

 

here, have a blurry photo from the menu

 

 

Baby abalone sashimi (70g baby side) – $11.90
Fresh live abalone sashimi nestled on a patch of white radish

This is another one of the instances where PHOTOS ARE DECEIVING. The photo in the menu looked normal-sized, and yet the actual SIZE of ALL the abalone was about ..5cm long? Yesss I know it said 70g, but still! haha
It was pretty chewy as well, and I’ve definitely had better abalone at Chinese restaurants (but then, as abalone sashimi goes, it was pretty good)

 

Shio Ramen – $8.50
Please excuse the sub-standard photography. The restaurant lighting is really dark and the iphone does not have a flash =_=.

Being the smart girl that Rosy is, she forgot to write down the prices for the dishes =_=. I think the prices are correct after looking around online for a bit (for being so high-tech, why don’t you have a website, Wagaya?!), but I’m sure the actual prices aren’t that far off. The serving sizes aren’t very large at Wagaya, but the prices are quite reasonable and it doesn’t stop the customers as the place is always packed!

One of my life goals is to try the ramen in every Japanese restaurant I come across. Since Wagaya doesn’t specialise in ramen, it’s understandable that it was quite ordinary, but the serving was tiny!

 

Mentai spaghetti – $9.50

 

Wafu Pizza – $7.90

So after looking around, I don’t think there’s a Sydney food blog that hasn’t reviewed Wagaya. I’m sure most of you have tried the Western-Japanese-fusion spaghetti and pizzas offered by Wagaya. And you should. Because it’s much better than their ramen, and are possibly their best mains. The pizzas and spaghetti are deliciously cheesy, and the ones we ordered were topped with chicken and mushrooms.

 

Eel…Katsu? – $???
Item & price remembering FAIL.

Eel Tempura – $9.90
Thank you Vicki :D

Wagaya offers a huge range of entrees and sides (which are pretty interchangeable), but one of the highlights is their delicious eel. The sweet and tenderness of the eel goes wonderfully well with the deep fried batter in the eel katsu, and the cheese and mushrooms in the spring rolls:

Eel cheese spring roll – $6.20

Just a tip, Wagaya is reeeeeeeeeeally popular so if you’re thinking of going, make sure to book in advance because I suspect you’d be waiting for a while if you just rock up, evidenced by the never-ending chain of people sitting by the entrance (perhaps not so much if you don’t turn up at peak hour).

While I don’t think I had the chance to talk to Eden for the entire night except when we bumped into each other while entering the restaurant (she sat all the way at the other end of the table), I’m sure we both had a good time eating at Wagaya and catching up with friends!

 

Wagaya (visited 16/05/09)
Level 1, 78 – 86 Harbour St
Haymarket NSW 2000
Ph: (02) 9212 6068

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I’ve been wanting to start a food blog for awhile, but been putting it off ‘cos I keep thinking about all the food I’ve eaten and not taken any photographs of :(
It all just seems like such a waaaaaaaste ;_;

BUT my dear friend Grace finally convinced me to do it …and it’s taken me over a month and the procurement of a companion, Rosy <3, to finally get this off the ground !
So in the future when I’m actually 100kg heavier than I am now, at least I’ll always have digital memories reminding me that it wasn’t an accident …lol!

Oh yes…how exciting.

And so here is my first food blog :D
I went to Daruma Japanese Restaurant today with uni friends because it was a cold, rainy day. I also had a quiz at 7pm that I wasn’t looking forward to studying for, and as we all know, food is my only friend.

Despite its scrappy external appearance from THOMAS St (wink wink), the decor of the place was pretty darn good. The furniture was nice and modern, the floorboards polished, and the enticing smell of miso soup was a welcoming change to the rain outside.

Warm bowls of miso soup – you can actually see the steam !

The miso soup at Daruma is self-service, and there are two large tureens of the MSG-y goodness at the door. You can go back as many times as you want, but seeing as we went there during Happy Hour, we were mainly interested in the cheap food ! :D

 
Seafood Tempura, $4.50

Crispy pieces of crabstick, eggplant, prawn and fish, covered in tempura batter! This wasn’t part of the happy hour menu, but was crunchy and warm, and came with a serving of watery vinegar on the side (according to Albert, the aforementioned ‘watery vinegar’ is agedashi tofu sauce! haha).

 

Chicken Cutlet Curry – $5.50

The thing with these types of dishes is that you always always ALWAYS need to mix the sauce and the rice and the chicken together (or whatever extra you get). The chicken cutlets reminded me of Maccas chicken nuggets (mmm) ..and the curry was nice and smooth until the aftertaste – and that’s when its spiciness really hit me! I’m not a fan of spicy food, but Jenny and Girish both thought the curry was reaaaaaaally good.

 

Ten-don – $5.50
Prawn and vegetable tempura with egg omelette on rice

The Ten-don also had carrot strips, pieces of seaweed, onions, eggplant and a slice of red capsicum. When I asked Chris for his debut taste analysis on this blog, he said that it had “late harvest cranberry undertones with a strong finish”.
I think he’s been reading too many wine reviews…. (it didn’t actually taste like cranberry at all)

 

Unatama don – $5.50
Eel with egg omelette on rice

This was also served with carrot and seaweed strips and onions. The eel was nice, but I’ve definitely had better unagi before (but then I think I’m just a fan of the sauce). The scrambled eggs were deliciously fluffy, and the entire dish hinted of soy sauce.
It was no surprise when Jenny, the uber pig, ordered two of the Happy Hour meals and couldn’t finish either of them …even though she couldn’t stop ranting about the egg throughout the whole meal.

And so basically the deal with Happy Hour (10.30am – 2pm, or 3pm – 5.30pm) at Daruma is that there is a GOOD selection of dishes that you can get for $5.50! Most places’ happy hours usually consist of really tiny portions, but our resident cheapskate Girish came with us and even he gave it the seal of approval (we’re talking about the guy who reluctantly spends 30c on Maccas ice cream cones here)

 

Daruma Japanese Restaurant (visited on 30/04/09)
Level 1 (Prince Centre), 8 Quay Street
Haymarket NSW 2000 Sydney
Ph: 9281 2889 Fax: 9281 2890

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