Category Archives: Restaurant Reviews

Cafe Kentaro | Redfern

That Kentaro (Kenny) Takayama is lucky that his name isn’t palindromic can be considered a good thing. It would have been awkward to own two separate cafes with the exact same name – can you imagine the confusion? Flipping his name on its head is Redfern favourite Cafe Oratnek. Now, we have Cafe Kentaro in Surry Hills. The name’s done a 180, but critically – has the food?

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Sepia Restaurant | Sydney CBD

March 3rd, 2017 was not a great day for Sydney foodies. On this day Sepia Restaurant, considered one of Australia’s finest dining venues, announced it is moving to Melbourne. While it has been common knowledge for over a year that the humble – but immensely talented – Martin Benn and FoH Vicki Wild intend to take the restaurant in a new direction once its Sussex St lease expires, the announcement that the institution would move to Melbourne was a pure shock to the system. Good news Melbourne, bad news Sydney. With this, my fifth visit may well be my last as it exists now. Here’s to a farewell for an influential fine dining giant in Sydney.

Melbournians, read on to get a taste of the skill that’s about to hit your city. You lucky ducks.

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Brae Restaurant | Birregurra, Australia

When I first wrote about Birregurra’s Brae Restaurant in 2015, the way I introduced Dan Hunter – the immense talent behind it all – was through observing the fact that he honed his skills at, among other places, the famed Mugaritz in the Basque Country.

In 2017, that introduction is no longer necessary. With its ascension to #44 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, Brae has definitively cemented itself a position as one of of Australia’s best restaurants. This is world-class cooking in a town of less than 700 people folks. It’s something special.

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Minamishima | Richmond, Melbourne

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: 21/1/2017 (4 visits to date)
Address: 4 Lord St, Richmond VIC 3121
Highlight courses: aburi flounder, ootoro nigiri, anago nigiri, sakura ice cream & adzuki yokan

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Cuckoo Callay Bacon Festival

Bacon Festival 2017 at Cuckoo Callay | Newtown

Tracing its roots back to 2015, Cuckoo Callay’s annual bacon festival has truly become a mainstay of the Newtown cafe, as well as for the suburb’s cafe scene in general. While perhaps not quite achieving institution status as of yet, I can definitely say they’ve pulled a hat trick. An annual homage to everything porcine might seem like immoderate flagrancy, but in the end BACON IS FREAKING DELICIOUS.

Welcome to 2017’s edition of Cuckoo Callay’s Bacon Festival! (more…)

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Sashimi Shinsengumi | Crows Nest

When March bookings re-opened for Sashimi Shinsengumi’s new Crows Nest location at 9am on February 21, the entire booking period was snapped up in 70 minutes. Desperate callers still ring chef Shinji Matsui and his wife Tomoko as late as midnight to try and sweet-talk them into securing them a spot. A restaurant that attracts this level of demand is something most Sydney restaurateurs would kill to possess, but that’s exactly what Sashimi Shinsengumi has achieved – and all Matsui-san did was to do what he’s always done: make darn good sushi. I can’t help you secure a booking, but I can show you exactly what you’ll be missing out on 😉

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ACME Restaurant | Rushcutters Bay

There’s an outbreak happening in Rushcutters Bay and fortunately it’s that of ACME, not acne. Think non-conformist, feel good rockstar pan-Asian/Italian fusion and you’re on the right track. Now, they even do brunch – and there’s not a smashed avo on toast in sight. Welcome to ACME, I think you’ll like it here.

Date Last Visited: 18/2/2017 (brunch) / 17/10/2015 (lunch a la carte)
Address: 56 Bayswater Rd, Potts Point, Sydney, NSW
Recommended Dish(es): baloney sandwiches, black garlic linguine, pig’s head macaroni

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Impromptu Dining | Potts Point

The struggle of aimlessly drifting along mazes supermarkets call “aisles”; struggling to absorb impenetrable food label jargon; eyeing down that seemingly tempting $7.5 for 3 bunch of Asian veg yet refusing to admit that half of it will spoil. And then there’s the act of cooking itself – what a BOTHER. Wouldn’t it be nice to throw caution to the wind, clear your mind, and take yourself to Impromptu Dining where everything’s taken care for you?

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Kaiseki Kichisen

Omakase at Kaiseki Kichisen 京懐石吉泉 | Kyoto, Japan

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.

Date Last Visited: 26/3/2016
Address: link
Highlight Dish: grilled Kyoto wagyu beef 

Price Guide (approx): 13,000-31,000 JPY
Further Info: Tabelog

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