izakaya den

We walked across the street back and forth to search for this restaurant. Where the heck is Izakaya Den! We went to an alley and in fact many alleys, still no sign. A quick google search shows us with the word basement. So we looked for a flight of stairs. Bingo it was right next to the building 118. 114 is where we meant to go. We walked downstairs and door on the left greeted us with the words DEN.

We have arrived. It was about 6:40pm on a Saturday night. They don’t take bookings unless it’s groups of more then 5 so our mission was to rock up early and grab a table. We were lucky and got seated right away. After 10 minutes or so has pasted a line started forming.

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The entry

The atmosphere is lovely and it’s awesome because you can see an open kitchen. If sitting at the bar it’s almost like a kitchen demo!

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An open kitchen

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Cute glasses

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There is no denying that the corn karage will be my must order. The corn is utterly sweet and the batter so crispy. The conversion further into “how does the corn stick together when it gets deep dried. I do wonder, any takers?

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Harvey Bay Scallops. The scallops actually come in 3’s but luckily the waiter mention it can come in 4’s if needed 🙂 yay! The scallops were unbelievable. With one each it’s a lot to whine about when it’s all gone. We just wanted more.

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Mushrooms and greens – nothing of a wow dish but it’s always good to have the vegies on the side.

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Kurobuta Pork Belly – the pork belly was very good a little bit too salty which I didn’t mind.

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Black rice. This was the dish we were most curious about. It was very interesting and I’m glad we ordered this because it helped filled our bellies a bit more.

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Kingfish sashimi – a must order. Tasted very fresh and I love the dressing that came with it.

Prices are quite steep for Japanese food but I find it worth the taste. I definitely love to return and try the other dishes on the menu. Downside is we weren’t full but it’s okay our stomachs had room for dessert.

114 Russell St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
http://www.izakayaden.com.au/
Izakaya Den on Urbanspoon

Azuma Kushiyaki Sugar hit 2011

It’s Crave month finally! You know what that means right? Sugar hits is back. Time to hit those desserts during 9pm-11pm. Once again I have chosen to have sugar hit at Azuma Kushiyaki. Please see my Azuma sugar hit 2010 from last year to refresh your memory.

Azuma Kushiyaki offers East meets West dessert tasting plate. I struggled to finish the dessert last year. This year I have polished off every single item. My lovely other fellow dinner companions pretty much polished off the dessert as well. I guess this speaks for itself. The dessert this year is damn good. I am not a big fan of sweets so this was a surprise.

You can choose either hot green tea or the brown brothers orange muscat and flora as a drink.

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Green tea

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Assorted seasonal fruits with tapioca pearls and shiratama rice dumplings covered with kinako power (back) and white sesame ice cream (front). I found the ice cream a bit nutty in taste, the ice cream was a little bland but i quite like the blandness of it as it completes the overall dessert. The fruits are fantastic and make probably one of the best fruit salad I ever had. The rice dumplings are similar to mochi in texture but prefer these to mochi 🙂

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Up close of the fruit salad

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Yuzu sake, green tea tiramisu – shochu soaked sponge with mascarpone, cream and matcha, sake sponge bites – butter cake soaked in sake and chocolate with pop rocks. The star of the show, was the yuzu sake, lemony in flavour and sweet. The green tea was probably the heaviest item due to the cream. The sponge cake was very fluffy but I can’t taste much of the sake. Miss R on the otherhand picks our the alcohol clearly.

Dear Azuma Kushiyaki, I think I might visit you again before this month ends, otherwise I hope its another great Sugar hit next year.

Regent Place, 501 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000
phone: 0292677775

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Tetsuya’s

I have placed Tetsuya’s as a top of the list for years. It has been in the top 5 restaurants of thr world and shifted out of the top 5 but that does not stop me from wanting to visit. About 5 months ago Mr himself asked whether we could eat at Tetsuya’s for his birthday. Of course I jumped at the chance. I didn’t managed to get dinner so we made due with a lunch booking.

I’m going to be honest I walk past Tetsuya’s many times and didn’t not realise that was the famous restaurant opps. We had great table facing lovely lighting right next to the window with a great view of the garden and pond. I’m quite disappointed at my intense ability to quickly dig into the food because I realise I missed taking a photo of 1 course and half of another. I feel upset because it probably be a long while before I return back (plus a change of menu is liking on the next visit)

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Sencha tea and truffle butter for the bread. A fine slice of wood is placed underneath the teapot. My himself claims it helps retains the heat. I realise they don’t charge for the tea!

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There was two choices of bread white bread or sourdough. I opted for the white bread only because it look more pretty. The bread is crunchy on the ourside with soft insides. Paired with the truffle butter, a match made in heaven. The butter is silky and wonderfully tasty.I made a note to purchase this on the next visit to David jones.

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Warm chestnut soup with smoked cream. The chestnut is very strong in the soup. Not something I will go out of my way eating but it was an okay tasting soup to start off with.

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Pacific oysters with rice vinger and ginger. These Oysters have been sourced from Burny Island Tasmania. The oysters is an extra course which is not part of the menu $18 for 4 oysters. I love oysters but dislike the aftertaste they leave. This version has no horrible aftertaste! After gobbling these up Mr himself says “vinegar has found a new place in my heart. We are both very sad these were gone within seconds. I highly recommend everyone getting the extra course.

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Sea urchin Dashi custard. This was a great starter and everything was well balanced in flavours.

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Sashimi of Kingfish with Blackbean and orange. I couldn’t taste much of the orange but I still love every bit of this kingfish. The kingfish stood out to be my favourite out all the courses.

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Confit Petuna ocean trout with konbu and shaved fennel, the little green oil is parsley oil. This is the most famous Tetsuya dish and most raved. I was bit confused what the top layer was because I thought it tasted bit like chicken salt but the waiter mentioned it was the konbu. Althought I like this very much I didn’t think it could top the kingfish.

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leaf salad for the mains

The next course is the grilled snapper with NZ scampi and smoked pepper. I was too busy involved eating this and didn’t get a photo. Once again could not fault this dish.

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Queensland snapper crab with tofu and foie gras. Delicious is all I can say!

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confit leg of duck with caramelised eschallots and brussels sprouts. Best part of this dish? That skin was so crispy and so glad there was a large amount of it.

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Shabu shabu style wagyu beef with braised daikon, pnzu and wasabi. The wasabi was serve on the side. I don’t normally like wasabi but add a very tiny bit of wasabi and it really brings out the flavour of the beef. The wagyu is top quality and had an melt in the mouth effect 😉

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Hay-infused milk ice cream with sorrel granita. This is served as a palette cleanse and tastef amazingly refreshing. I think it just made more room in my tummy 😉

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Tarte tatin was supposed to be on the right and bread and butter pudding on the right. As you can see I got too involved eating the dessert that once I finished the tarte tatin I realise I didn’t get a photo! The bread and butter pudding has strong hints of cinnamon.

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Chocolate fondant with praline and hazelnuts, the ice cream was similar to a thickened creme frache (told by the waiter). A great pang of jealous came across when I saw Mr himself’s Dessert. Should of told them it was my birthday too. My carrot cake dessert just does not compare. It is everything a chocolate fondant could be perfectly ozzing with chocolate filling. I managed to steal a small bite and was so heavenly.

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Spiced carrot cake and cream cheese ice cream and salted peanuts. My carrot just looks lifeless compared to that fondant. The winner of this dish is that salted sauce.. ahh *licks plate*

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Chai mochi. Found them a bit off in taste. Anyone agrees?

Tetsuya’s set menu is $210. Was quite a long lunch extending till a bit after 3pm but I look forward to returning again. I can’t fault the service at all, maybe exception of the waiter almost giving us the same dish twice but that I can’t complain! Coming to think of it, I’m glad we got ourselves a lunch booking rather then a dinner. The lighting was a winner!

529 Kent Street
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9267 2900
www.tetsuyas.com

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Sake Restaurant

I first heard about Sake Restaurant on Masterchef when Shaun Presland first appeared. I was amazed at his training he completed in Japan and made a note to try this restaurant. The day is very hot and us girls were dying in the heat. Luckily the restaurant is nicely air-coned and most of the dishes we ordered were cold. Sake I would say is bit of fusion with a French touch on Japanese cuisine. The waiter was quite amusing and the service is prompt.

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As girls that we are, we decided to pick all drinks from the cocktail menu.

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Miss sugarpuffi picks the “Bang On” – Iichiko Shochu mixed with ripe watermelon, vanilla sugar & our own house-made rhubarb syrup. I found it mostly taste like a normal watermelon juice with a bit of a twist.

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Miss M picks the “moshi moshi” cocktail, the scent is quite heavy and reminds me of medicine. The taste is somewhat similar is wasn’t exactly favoured by any of the girls. The waiter tells us it probably has about 14% alcohol in it =p

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Miss A, Miss V and I has chosen “The Pink Blossom” -Strawberries, citrus fruits & passionfruit are smashed & combined with mouth-watering umeshu and a splash of cranberry juice. This drink was liked by everyone and was lovely in it’s sweetness.

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chirashi salad – yuzu-dressed sashimi pieces, crunchy salad mix, thin noodles, sliced sushi omelette & flying fish roe, topped with daikon tsuma & tempura crunch. This was an amazingly tasty salad, filled with many different textures

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Mixing the Chirashi salad!

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Up close and personal *drools*

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Sashimi tacos (2pc) tuna and salmon sashimi filled baby tacos with chilled tomato salsa matched with Kozaemon Junmai ‘sake shots’. The tacos only came in 2 pieces and arrangements for 5 pieces were gladly made. I can taste a small hint of spice and can’t helped but want more. To eat you finish the taco and then take a shot of sake. The top of the sake glass has been coated with sugar.

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Sashimi combo – classic-style sashimi with soy & wasabi (18 pieces). The prize is the lovely king fish belly that is sitting in the middle. The sashimi quickly melts in your mouth. I can really taste the freshness of each piece.

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popcorn roll – prawn-tempura pieces rolled inside out with spicy mayonnaise & spicy tobiko. With a name like popcorn roll it got me lured in! The popcorn roll is crunchy and yummo!

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Grilled green tea salted scampi on daikon ribbon salad with yuzu dressing. Couldn’t taste much of the green tea salt but I do enjoy this dish despite the scampi giving me funny looks (or perhaps evils for eating it!).

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Frozen yuzu soufflé yuzu citrus-infused soufflé with miso-ginger caramel sauce. After tasting it didn’t felt very much a souffle but more of an ice cream based dish. This was loved by everyone and the best part was that gorgeous caramel sauce. Of course do pair it with the souffle!

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Orange-tofu cheesecake Grand Marnier tofu cheesecake with white sesame-seed tuile. Couldn’t taste much of the orange or tofu but it was an interesting dessert. The tuile completes the dessert! However there is mix reactions from this dessert and everyone resorts back to eating the souffle

I didn’t find any faults with each dish and enjoyed one of the dishes. We paid about $52 per head including cocktails. At the end I didn’t feel very full and was still peckish. I really like to return back here in the future but it does put a strain in the hole of the wallet.

12 Argyle Street
The Rocks Sydney NSW 2000
Tel +61 (2) 9259 5656

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Menya Mappen

Eating at Mappen is an interesting experience and so damn cheap. I am dining with these fellow patrons tonight. It is only a Tuesday night yet the restaurant is packed. Then again there is only a few tables, which is mostly shared.

wah
* First you should line up and then select your drink when you reach the fridge
* Place you order, then they will cook it to order.
* Add toppings and extras (tempura, sauce, miso soup)
* pay
* find a table, sit and eat

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I picked the noodle with with kakedashi soup and sukiyaki wagyu beef. My udon is on the pricey ends of menu at the price of $6.90 . The soup is flavoursome and I can’t help but want more broth. I also picked up a seaweed salad, tempura prawn ($2.50 which is quite steep), tempura chicken and peach juice. My entire meal was a lot pricey then everyone’s else I was happily satisfied!

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Bukkake with tsukedashi soup. $3.90 for regular and $4.90 for large. Yes I was being immature and giggled at this shhh! It can come either hot or cold with a selection of udon or soba.

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Zaru – cold noodle with dipping soup. You can get this in either a soba or udon version. Regular $4.50 and large $5.50

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Ontame Bukkake with tsukedashi comes with a gooey and heavenly egg. Regular $4.90 and large $5.90 also coming in hot/cold versions and udon/soba noodles.

Since my visit to this restaurant within 2 weeks I have returned a following of times of two times and I think I will back again and again.

Shop 11, 537 – 551 George Street
Sydney, 2000
(02) 9283 5525

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