Saturday, April 15, 2017

Yakitori Jin, Haberfield

Chef Aki-san grilling yakitori
Haberfield is Sydney's OG little Italy. There you will find amazing Italian eateries like Pastecceria Papa and Napoli in Bocca. But just a few weeks ago, Haberfield had an exciting addition to its charm in the form of a restaurant called Yakitori Jin. Say what?!! A yakitori joint in Haberfield?! Better believe it!




Cabbage salad

This Osaka style Kushiyaki restaurant is located smack bang in the heart of Little Italy on Ramsay Street and they are legit! The space has a casual contemporary Japanese Izakaya look with darkwood tables and fittings. There are around 10 seats at the counter area where you can watch all the yakitori action. There are tables for 2, 3 and one big table by the window for a group of roughly 6-8 people. Head Chef Akihito Marui is their yakitori master who hails from Osaka. His past experience includes working as chef at Torikizoku, a renowned yakitori chain in Japan. 
Tomato and camembert
The Japanese love tomato and cheese plus being in Sydney's little Italy, it just makes sense to have a tomato and camembert ($5 each) kushiyaki on the menu. The combo of sweet tomato and smoky squishy camembert was so nice.
Negima
The negima ($6 each) is a chicken thigh and leek yakitori. It was perfectly cooked with smoky and sweet flavours.

Tuscan with cheese

Their tsukune with cheese ($7 each) was our absolute favourite. What's there not to love about a massive chicken meatball chargrilled and glazed with tare then covered with grilled melted cheese?! Loved the notes of garlic, ginger ang negi in the meatball too.
9+ grade wagyu kushiyaki
There is nothing as lux and delicious as much as a 9+ grade Wagyu ($10 each) kushiyaki. Tender, fatty and juicy with every bite.
Kawa
Their kawa ($5) or chicken skin yakitori reminded me of Torikizoku's version of the same dish. It was smoky, sweet and buttery with some nice tasty crisped bits. It had so much umami.
Enoki mushroom pork
I loved the chewy texture of the enoki mushroom pork ($6 each). There was so much juiciness and flavour with every bite of this mushroom wrapped in a pork belly dish.
XL shiitake mushroom with chicken filling
The XL shiitake mushroom with chicken filling ($7 each) was full of umami with sweet-ish garlic notes.
Chicken yaki gyoza
The chicken yaki gyoza ($16) had a tasty gingery chicken filling. The fried side could have been fried more for better caramelised crisped surface. Nonetheless, it was still a good dumpling.
Kamameshi rice
I love kamameshi rice! Not only for the nostalgic factor but I like how the broth fully flavours the rice at the cooking process and it also had nice crispy flavoursome bits. Their kamameshi ($26) is exactly that! It also has chicken pieces, mushroom and the popping juicy fishy sensation of ikura (fish roe).

One thing is for sure, I'll be back soon to try more. Oishii desu!

Yakitori Jin
101 Ramsay Street
Haberfield NSW 2045
Phone: 8057 2780/0420565101
BOOKINGS via SMS

Hours:
Tuesday to Thursday 5.00pm - 10.00pm
Friday to Saturday 12.00pm - 2.30pm, 5.00pm - 10.00pm
Sunday 12.00pm - 2.30pm, 5.00pm - 9.30pm

Closed Mondays

Friday, April 7, 2017

Restaurant Sasaki ささき, Surry Hills, Sydney

Macarons from Cre Asion are still my favourite Sydney macarons. I remember reading a blog post by Chocolatesuze about their macs and I went there in a heartbeat. I even braved the storm (yes an actual storm) to get there. From that moment on, I became a huge fan of Chef Yu Sasaki's work. The pistachio, Dear Chris and Hojicha are my go to macs.




One of the things I've looked forward to the most in 2017 was the opening of his new shop, Restaurant Sasakiささき. I'm glad to say that it's finally open! We went on its first night and we were surely in for a treat. The place looked and felt like a shop straight out of the Aoyama neighbourhood in Minato-ku, Tokyo. It was elegant but not pretentious, welcoming and very warm. The interior had a similar look to a high-end Japanese tea house with its blondewood fittings, furniture and very minamalist approach. The food is kinda like tapas style Kappo with a French twist, which is expected from Yu-san's background from restaurants like Universal and Marque. The menu may also change on a daily, weekly or monthly basis based on top quality produce that they can get their hands on.


Traditional green tea matcha is available here and is well prepared.
Asparagus, beetroot, hazelnut

First dish we had was tempura asparagus ($19) with a beetroot and hazelnut based dipping sauce. I loved the airy crisped coating of the tempura and the sweet dipping sauce was perfect from cutting through the richness of the coating.
Bruised beef cheeks
Mash

It was followed by braised beef cheeks and mash ($24) We were blown away! The beef was so buttery, absolutely tender, and flavoursome. The sauce was sweet and fruity with notes of umami. The mash was fluffy and well seasoned.

Pork cooked in salt crust

Daikon with mustard and miso

The pork, salt and daikon ($26) was rich and delicious. A huge fatty slab of pork was baked in a salt crust. It seasoned the pork and kept the juices in. The daikon was sweet and tender and came mustard and miso. Sweet soft daikon goes so well with pork.
Jewfish, celery and tomato
Yu-san also got us to try their jewfish, celery and tomato ($18) on the house. This dish was all about freshness and vibrance. 
Mushroom, egg and cheese
The mushroom with egg and cheese ($21) was insanely good! The mushroom was cooked as a katsu, cheese was emulsified and mixed with egg. The crisped and umami from the mushrooms was just amazing. The fluffy creamy cheese and egg gave a nice contrast to the katsu mushroom.
Takikomi gohan
Their rice dish is takikomi gohan ($9) cooked in pot that gives a similar effect to a kamemshi. You get nice crispy bits of rice. This was not only so tasty but also nostalgic for me. I grew up eating takikomi gohan. The takikomi gohan here was nicely seasoned from a flavoursome broth, mushrooms and prawns.
Potato and butter
The sweet potato and butter ($4) is based on Yu-san's favourite childhood sweet treat. This version is his own interpretation of it. A sweet ball of mashed sweet potato with the tiles of wafered caramelised butter worked a treat.
Green tea white chocolate with green tea buttercream filling
Last but not least was some dainty green tea matcha ice cream sandwiched between two disks of matcha flavoured white chocolate ($5). It was divine and amazing. There was not bitter and neither was it sweet. It had so much balance.

There is just so much to love about this place: the setting that takes you to the back streets of Aoyama, the beautiful food (both visual and taste) and warm service. Yu's finesse approach is one of his strengths and it shows in Restaurant Sasaki. Congratulions Yu-san!

Restaurant Sasaki
21 Alberta Street (behind Cre Asion)

Surry Hills NSW 2010
http://www.sasaki.com.au/
Ph: 02 8068 9774
Open Monday to Saturday from 5.30pm - 10.00pm
Sasaki Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Mjolner Whisky Bar and Carvery Restaurant - Redfern, Sydney


"Whosover holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor", is the inscription carried by Thor's hammer, Mjolnir in the Marvel universe. I may never possess the power of the mighty Thor but I'm pretty sure I possess his mighty appetite! So I proclaimed myself worthy of a visit to the new Mjølner restaurant in Redfern.








This Nordic themed whisky bar and carvery restaurant as you can see is named after the hammer of the Norse God of Thunder Thor. Mr. Sven Almenning and the rest of the Speakeasy dining group has done a fantastic job. It does feel like a whole new world the moment you enter Mjolner's underground premises. The space has this really cool moody Scandinavian interior with Viking themed fittings and artifacts. The bar is pumping with whiskies and other booze. Mjolner or Mjolnir stands right at the edge of the bar. The man behind the menu (and you can see him looking after the carving station) is Head Chef Tom Gripton.


Mead called Stone

As we were seated at our table, they welcomed us with a traditional Viking toast and a complimentary serving of mead they call Stone. It's a sweet wine concoction with a spiced, fruity and honey flavour profile. Loved it!

There's a choice between 1 course ($35), 2 course ($55), 3 course ($70) or you can simply go al a carte. We opted for 2 course each, which means we get to choose 1 starter and 1 main each. You also get to choose your own Viking dagger to use for carving your main dish!

Starters:


You need to order their roasted bone marrow ($20 al a carte)! Basically, it's a umami packed plate. Starts with that beautiful roasted marrow aroma. Then your palate gets hit with so much umami combos from the rich buttery marrow and the beef powder.

The cauliflower with burnt butter, pepitas and balsamic ($20 al a carte) was outstanding! Perfectly cooked roasted smoky cauliflower with a nutty caramelised, woody and slight acidic taste from the burnt butter, pepitas and balsamic sauce.

Mains:

The bird ($35) is their roast duck with beetroot, amaranth and orange. The skin was so crisped and tasty that it almost seemed like it was fried. The sweetness from the beetroot, orange and bite of the amaranth complimented the succulent duck.
 
Braised short rib

The Meat ($35) is a massive braised beef short rib with crispy kale and mushroom. There is one thing I've noticed to this point. Chef Tom's umami game in every dish is damn strong! He is an expert at it. The kale and mushrooms was packed with umami and especially the short rib. The rib was super tender, buttery and the caramelisation of rendered fat was so crisped and tasty. It was insanely the best short rib I've had to date.

All mains come with baby potatoes, horseradish and herbs.

Dessert: 
Mascarpone parfait
The mascarpone parfait was simply divine. The combination of mascarpone and zesty charred lemons along with sweet hazelnuts worked well.


Mjølner is more than just an exhibition of Viking and Nordic themed dining. It's another Sydney restaurant that offers honest amazing food with generous servings and service that's as excellent as their food and drinks. Would I go back? I certainly would!

Mjølner
267 Cleveland Streer
Redfern NSW

Hours:
Tuesday to Saturday 5pm to 11.45pm
Sunday 12pm to 10.00pm

Closed on Mondays
Mjolnir Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato