Akaneya – Casual Japanese

First up, it’s probably not a great idea to go here for lunch – it gets packed, and service slows to a relative crawl. Relative to dinner that is – yes come for dinner!

Actually, maybe not. Read on to find out what I’m on about.

Akaneya’s this Japanese place that’s just down King Street between Sussex and Kent – a good haunt if you’re working around the area. It serves all the usual Japanese stuff, and doesn’t have any particular specialties. Sure does need to work on fundamentals though…

Restaurant: Akaneya
Number of Visits: 1
Date Visited: 31/08/2012
Address: 28 Kings Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Specialisation: N/A (though I guess let’s say Jap for the sake of it)
Good for: very casual dinners
Not good for: peak lunch hour, super cheap casual eating (it’s not /that/ pricey but not /cheap/ either), quality
Go-to dish: Combo Ship (any variety would do you fine)

I ate here with a group of friends after being famished at a networking event (having not eaten lunch that day), so the food probably tasted better than it would have under normal circumstances. Oh well, I think I can account for that.

I’m a bit of a sushi purist. I know the correct ways to eat sushi, and what ‘traditional’ sushi is meant to be, as intended by the masters. Definitely none of that mayo drizzled stuff, or California rolls etc which by the way, is completely Western. You’d be surprised to know how many varieties of sushi you see in Western stores will actually not be found in proper Japanese Sushiyas (sushi restaurants). Unless you visit a tourist trap that is.

Now I’m not saying that just because all that westernised stuff isn’t good sushi – heck it still tastes delicious after all (how many people truly dislike the taste a good volcano roll?), but there is a difference, I’m just pointing that out.

Oh and if you’re interested in finding out how you can tell? There are many rules but the golden one to follow: if it has a distinctly English name – it ain’t Jap. Easy.


Dragon Roll – Eel, cucumber & crabstick

Dragon rolls are still decidedly Japanese – grilled unagi (eel) with teriyaki sauce served on top of a temaki roll. It’s simple stuff, and offers a great flavour. It’s fairly average in the sense that you can’t really go wrong with the sweet flavour of grilled teriyaki eel, but doesn’t do anything outstanding. In fact, I believe the rice here has been left awhile – it didn’t taste fresh (from the cooker). That’s the price of eating in a “fast food” Japanese restaurant.

Akaneya Salmon Tartare Roll

Salmon Tartare Roll – with tartar sauce!

This one’s not Japanese sushi because tartar sauce is a British formulation. (btw, tartare and tartar are quite different – do not get this confused even though some restaurants will). That said, the core ingredients and preparation methodologies are still very much Japanese. This dish was of better quality than the dragon rolls before it – not sure why that is since I’d have assumed the rice used to be the same. It probably has something to do with the tartar sauce masking it.

Salmon was within acceptable freshness levels (but YMMV), and I can’t say that tartar sauce doesn’t actually work with this sushi (it does!) so I give this one a nice warm green light 🙂

Akaneya Volcano Rolls

Volcano Rolls

Go to a sushiya in a Western country and you’re sure to find volcano rolls on the menu. Go to a Japanese sushiya and they’ll give you a pretty wtf look if you ask for it. Just look at it – looks so fattening, yet delicious, but definitely Western.

Still, volcano rolls are delicious, and why not indulge once in awhile?

Mayo fixes a lot of things, so I found these rolls to have decent taste and flavour. The shoddy rice is still an issue though and that detail did not escape me. Kobe Jones has better volcano rolls methinks, though these can’t lead you wrong.

I’m beginning to suspect that our late dinner time (this was 8pm+) probably had something to do with the spoilt feeling of the sushi rice…ah well I’m nitpicking anyways. You probably won’t even notice it if you just rocked up and ordered a platter. I’m very sensitive and critical of Japanese food after all so that’s just me.

Akaneya Salmon Aburi Rolls

Salmon Aburi Rolls

A twist on salmon is aburi – lightly grilled. Basically a slight sear, it adds a smoky as well as a slightly “Maillard” dimension to the salmon. Something I like very much. What I don’t like is the copious sauces and mayo that’s drizzled on. Holy cow man, let the fish speak for itself. At this point, I was still enjoying it due to being famished. I’ll take that as a good thing!

Akaneya Cruise Combo Ship

Cruise Combo Ship – sushi, teriyaki chicken, spring rolls, assorted tempura + miso soup

Now this is something different. It seems like Akaneya can pull it off when it comes to delivering on presentation!

The two roe sushi rolls are nothing to write home about – similar quality to the previous. The tempura was a bit soggy for my liking – needs more cripsiness. The spring rolls I did not try, but I’ll presume similar quality.

The teriyaki chicken was well seasoned, but the chicken itself was very stringy and full of tendons/fatty bits. I get the distinct feeling these are the leftover bits from the day…

Miso soup was acceptable, but a far cry from what I know miso soup can achieve.

Still, you can’t get past the presentation. I’m a sucker for it!

I think overall, we came at a time that was a bit too late and seemed to be getting the spoils of the day. If you come earlier you’ll probably fare better. Still, better should be expected, obviously.

You’d also have noticed we ordered pretty much all the Western stuff today – perhaps their nigiri and sashimi etc are better. Then again, maybe not since that would just exaggerate the slightly off raw flavours of the sushi even more.

This is definitely a place where I reckon YMMV. It doesn’t hurt to give it a try though – give it a burl! And if you like it, you’ll be rewarded with loyalty points with a loyalty card! I’ve got $9 on mine hehe.

I suppose I’ll go for lunch next time then – there’s got to be a reason why this place is actually liked by most.

I give Akaneya a grand total of five and a half Caesars out of ten – 5.5/10

Akaneya Japanese on Urbanspoon

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