When I asked for the menu describing the meal I had just finished at Kichisen, head chef Yoshimi Tanigawa politely chortled – “it’s all up here” he said, as he gently tapped his head with a single finger. A profound demonstration of Kaiseki’s core tenet, where dishes ebb and flow with the seasons, never settling, was the key message I took from this. Welcome to Kichisen – an apogee of Kaiseki and Japanese food in Kyoto.
Tag Archives: Japanese
Nick Smith isn’t your everyday chef. Nobody would think to put a motorcycle workshop and a restaurant under the same roof. Most would also not expect that such a restaurant would be serving pan-Asian cuisine. That such a restaurant would call ramen its signature dish – and living up to it – was the biggest surprise of them all. Enter the Rising Sun Workshop.
Date Last Visited: 27/11/2016 (1st visit 19/11/2016)
Address: 1c Whateley Street, Newtown, Sydney, NSW
Go-to Dish: The Darkness ramen
Price Guide (approx): $15-20pp
The burgers have won, fine dining is dead. Or at least, that’s the direction the smoke seems to be blowing when owner Kerby Craig decided to close down his semi fine-diner Ume Restaurant, reopening it as Bar Ume. Gone are the delicately plated works of art almost too pretty to eat. Instead, it’s burgers, burgers, and burgers. Well that, some sides, and some drinks.
Say hello to Surry Hills’ newest izakaya – headed by a hatted chef, no less!
Date Last Visited: 18/09/2016
Address: 478 Bourke St, Surry Hills NSW 2010
Go-to Dish: Ume Burger
Price Guide (approx): $20-$30 before drinks
When one is on the everlasting quest for great food, one goes to great lengths to consummate the experience that bestows on us food euphoria on a higher plane. But in doing so, one may sometimes forget that there is excellence everywhere around us. LuMi Bar & Dining is, quite simply, one of the worst-kept secrets in Sydney. In the two years since it opened this Japanese-Italian lightbox, perched at the tip of Pyrmont harbour, raked in awards so fast the yachts & speedboats in the habour seemed positively slothful.
You don’t even have to click into this post to infer that I’m going to wax lyrical about the place – if it’s between reading this piece and making a booking right now, I think you know where my recommendation lies. But for those with a bit more curious? Read on to find out why I think this may just be one of my favourite Sydney restaurants in 2016.
Date Last Visited: 17/09/2016
Address: Wharf 10, 56 Pirrama Rd Pyrmont, NSW 2009
Go-to dish: parmesan chawanmushi
Price Guide (approx): $115 for 8-courses
You could say that Michael Phelps has won a “decent amount” of gold medals in his Olympic career. You could say I’ve eaten a decent amount of sushi in my lifetime. Guess which of the aforementioned two sentences is the bigger understatement? It’s safe to say that if the consumption of sushi was banned in Sydney, I would be packing my bags tomorrow.
Fortunately, Sydney’s Japanese scene is once again bolstered by a hidden gem of a Japanese restaurant in the Lower North Shore that has – despite all odds – escaped my radar. Say hello to Crows Nest’s Hana Ju-Rin!
Date Last Visited: 5/8/2016
Address: 300 Pacific Highway,Crows Nest, Sydney, NSW
But then, what if you are one such connoisseur? For those who’ve experienced the grand omakase experiences in Japan, Sydney’s a little bit lacking – it’s no shame to admit this – facts are facts.
That said, where there’s a gap, there’s opportunity – an opportunity that Chase Kojima, of Sokyo fame has gladly embraced. If you’ve been eating sushi off of a train your whole life, be prepared to be taken on a first class experience like you’ve never had before.
Date Last Visited: 18/5/2016 (six omakase visits to date)
Address: The Darling, The Star – Level G 80 Pyrmont St Pyrmont, NSW 2009
Recommended Dish(es): book the omakase experience and you can’t go wrong
Well, here we are folks. After 19 days fooding (and fooling) around in Japan, you saw this coming. Yes, it’s time to do the hard yards and blog about the whole darn thing. I just hope I can get it done while the year still starts with a 2.
There will be two parts to the “Japan Chronicles”, as I’ve just decided to call it. Firstly, there are sixteen restaurants that will receive their own, dedicated blog posts. The reason being that these are substantive experiences, featuring a wide array of courses that require their own space. Additionally I will, for the first time, introduce a series of travel posts that will outline my trip more generally, including Japan’s non-food highlights. Why? Because I love the country, and hell, I want you to know why.
You know how I said there’d be two parts? I lied – this post is the standalone third aspect, and one I believe is necessary. It’s as the title says – an introduction to kaiseki. No joke, this post is well and truly needed, as a disproportionate number of them I’ll be publishing are about kaiseki restaurants. If however you’re already familiar with kaiseki, feel free to move right along. If you’re staying, here’s the deal: there are plenty of resources, online and offline, that offer a wealth of information into what kaiseki is all about. I’ll try and keep it simple, and explain it using my own words. Yeah…that could be a bad thing – read on and find out!
Returning to Flying Fish is like seeing an old friend. My first visit was during the halcyon days of 2012 – you know, when people still actually read food blogs instead of going to Instagram. It’s cool, I get ya – I do it too.
Needless to say, change affects us all – Stephen Seckold’s flagship restaurant being no exception. Does the Flying Fish continue to soar, or is it now merely a fly-by? It’s been a long four long years, let the reunion begin.
Date Visited: 8/3/2016
Address: 21 Pirrama Rd, Pyrmont, NSW 2009
Go-to dish: seared yellow fin tuna, pork belly, pink grapefruit & black pepper caramel
In the culture of whacky Nippon, a salaryman (サラリーマン) is a man who is literally on salaried employment, usually referring to a corporate white collar archetype. However a salaryman is truly defined by what he does after work. That is – to eat, to drink, and to be merry (hey, he’s had a 14-hour day – gotta take a break, right?)
Fortunately, you don’t need to work a 14-hour day to partake in an experience at Stephen Seckold’s newly-opened Salaryman Restaurant. I mean, sure, the experience is potentially more realistic if you suffered such a day, but what’s life without a bit of cheating?
Date Last Visited: 29/12/2015
Address: 52 Albion Street, Surry Hills, Sydney
Recommended Dish(es): prawn toast okonomiyaki, rolled wagyu sirloin, Smoove chocolate bar
Stepping through the ostensibly ho-hum glass doors that guard the entrance to Minamishima, you could be forgiven for holding an incredulous attitude at claims that this is Melbourne’s best sushi restaurant and indeed, rivals even the best Sydney has to offer.
Of course, despite the back-street entrance to what appears more to be an innocuous block of apartments than a restaurant, you wouldn’t turn back now. Be glad you didn’t, because Minamishima is everything they say it is, and quite possibly a bit more.
Say hi to my favourite sushi restaurant in Australia!
Date Last Visited: 4/12/2015
Address: 4 Lord St, Richmond VIC 3121
Highlight courses: aburi flounder, ootoro nigiri, anago nigiri, sakura ice cream & adzuki yokan