Tag Archives: japanese

Is Donburi, Northbridge

IS Donburi

Miso chicken katsu don, $13.80

When my sister told me that Northbridge’s latest Japanese hot spot, Is Doburi was serving their katsu don with a special misonaise, I was very keen to taste it for myself.

And taste it I did, on both the pork, AND chicken katsu don, when I visited Is Donburi on a recent Friday night.

The combination of a crunchy katsu and egg is a classic Japanse combination that’s just perfect over fluffy white rice. All of the chicken and egg toppings I’d previously enjoyed were quickly coated in a sweet-salty soy sauce, but here, Is Donburi has kicked it up a notch, drizzling their protein double-team with a house made misonaise – mayonnaise and miso! Together! It’s the perfect balance of creamy and salty with just a hint of something-something, the fifth taste - umami.

Each donburi here comes with a complimentary side salad and bowl of miso soup, which are perfect to round out an already satisfying meal.

IS Donburi

Combination sashimi 9 pieces, $16.80 – featuring salmon, tuna and kingfish

Both J and I were very glad to welcome this stunning sashimi combination to our table. The fresh chunks of tuna were smooth and creamy – without a hint of the rough, almost gritty texture that’s common with low grade fish. The salmon is similarly swoon-worthy, lightly rippled with fat, with a pleasingly firm bite.

IS Donburi

The delightful kingfish

But it’s the kingfish on offer at IS Donburi is, that is seriously outstanding. We were both impressed with the care taken in the chef’s knife work on the lightly scored skin-side of the flesh, and floored when we nibbled on the fish itself.

It’s fresh with a distinct sweetness. Fish this fresh is offset so well by a smidge of wasasbi and a light drizzle of soy sauce.

I’m always pleased when I find a new food destination is as exciting and satisfying as everyone tells me it is. I’m now definitely a misonaise convert, and the sashimi was so good it had us talking about it for days. So much so that we returned in less than a week to sample the big kahuna (15 pieces for $26.50) !

On both our visits we were glad to find that service was consistently friendly and efficient. The kitchen and front of house teams handle service with a smile, all while managing a constant stream of customers eating in and ordering take away.

Is Donburi is a great little spot, whether you’re picking up lunch on the run (check out the spring roll sushi handroll!) or looking for comfortable place to eat in.

Is Donburi William Street on Urbanspoon

Open daily 11.30am to 9.30pm

Pepper Lunch, Perth

Pepper Lunch

J and I recently stopped in at one of Perth’s latest additions, a new franchise of Pepper Lunch, a popular Japanese fast food chain that delivers steak to your table at 260 degrees!

Pepper Lunch uses a sizzling iron hot plate to quickly sear the steak as it’s brought to your table. It reminds me a lot of Korean barbecue – a fun table top cooking method that yields both interactive and tasty results.

Pepper Lunch

There’s a mind-boggling number of options for the Pepper Lunch newbies like us. I decided to go with a Cut Steak and Hamburger combo meal ($13.80) – that comes served on a searing hot iron plate, with a generous handful of fresh bean sprouts and a few lonely green beans.

The steak and tender hamburger patty are topped with Pepper Lunch’s flavoured butter – which is added to every sizzling hot plate just before it’s brought to your table.

The flavoured butter adds a certain something, a distinctly umami flavour that’s fantastic on both the steak and the patty. J and I are both pleasantly surprised to find that the steak is tender – and cooks perfectly to medium-rare, just the way I like it. But the star of the show – even more shockingly – is the hamburger patty that’s spiked liberally with black pepper and fantastically tender and juicy.

Pepper Lunch

Combo meals come free with a bowl of steamed rice, and a serve of hot miso soup. The soup is packed full of spring onions, silken tofu cubes and abura-age; puffy strips of fried tofu. It’s the most garnish laden miso I’ve ever seen – which is a bonus if you’re a fan of tofu.

Pepper Lunch

Don’t forget to try the free condiments on offer – a light, soy-based, mysteriously named ‘sweet sauce’ and a delicious garlic-laced version. I’m a little too enthusiastic with both of these, and douse my entire hot plate with generous amounts of both!

Pepper Lunch

My colleague and friend, K was telling me about the Pepper Lunch menu earlier in the week. She’d spotted a Kimchi Cheese something , and promptly told me to get J to try it.

They’re both big fans of all things kimchi, so she figured it was safe to get her ally in Korean food to give it a go. It’s a little out there for my liking, but J is up for the challenge.

The Cut Steak with Kimchi and Cheese ($11.50) arrives with special instructions. You’ve got to mix it up on the hot plate, making sure to combine all the ingredients, which includes hot steamed rice, fresh sweet corn, generous amounts of chopped kimchi and tender pieces of beef.

Oh, and cheese. Let’s not forget the cheese.

Pepper Lunch

I’m watching in awe at this point, as the mound of ingredients transforms into something resembling fried rice. Or the strange concoctions my brother would make when he was younger, involving chopped spam, baked beans and rice.

Pepper Lunch

But hesitation be damned. J dives in and declares it a winner. I try it, and I’m totally sold.

It’s hot, spicy and jam-packed with so many of my favourite things. The hot plate adds a great flavour to the dish, which reminds me of the ‘wok hei’ (“breath of the wok”) flavour that’s so prized in Chinese food.

The steak pieces, thankfully, stay tender. The kimchi and rice is incredibly moreish, and studded with generous amounts of tender sweet corn.

I’m shocked to find that the cheese, though hardly a typically Japanese ingredient, seems to meld all the flavours together in a really delicious way. Ah cheese, you really are magical.

I’m pretty open to most new foods, but after tasting this, I realised – I’ve still got food hang ups, and I’ve got to let them go. Sometimes, things so wrong can be so so right!

Pepper Lunch on Urbanspoon

Competition: Jiro Dreams of Sushi – win one of five double passes

Jiro Ono and his team

Thanks to Curious Distribution, I’m very excited to offer five lucky readers the opportunity to win a double pass to see Jiro Dreams of Sushi, the documentary chronicling the life of Jiro Ono, the most famous sushi chef in Tokyo. 

He’s been declared a Japanese National Treasure, and although his restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro only seats ten diners, it is a phenomenon in Tokyo that has won the prestigious 3-Star Michelin review, making him the oldest Michelin chef alive. 

The documentary chronicles Jiro’s life as both an unparalleled success in the culinary world, and as a loving yet complicated father of two. 

Jiro Dreams of Sushi explores the passion required to run and maintain a legendary sushi restaurant, and one son’s journey to eventually take his father’s place at the head of a culinary dynasty.            

How to win

For your chance to win a double pass to see Jiro Dreams of Sushi, all you have to do is leave a comment, telling me about your dream sushi. 

It doesn’t matter whether you dream of sashimi, maki, nigiri or gunkan –  all varieties are welcome! Is it traditional, or a crazy mash-up of food styles? You tell me!

I’ll be selecting winners based on creativity and how delicious your dream sushi sounds to me!

Jiro and team at work

Competition terms and conditions

  • Prize: five winners will receive 1 x double pass each to see Jiro Dreams of Sushi
  • Jiro Dreams of Sushi is screening from 10 May 2012 at select cinemas in Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, Perth and Adelaide. Please ensure you’ll be able to attend at one of the cinema locations!
  • The competition is open to readers with Australian postal addresses only
  • You may only enter once
  • Please ensure you include a valid email address (not published) when leaving your comment entry so that I can contact you if you have been selected
  • Friends and family. Sorry. You’re out of the running for this one! :)
  • Competition closes on Sunday 13 May 2012 at 6.00pm AWST (Perth time)
Winning entries
  • The winners will be announced on Juji Chews, Twitter and via direct email to those selected
  • Winners will be required to respond with a valid postal address to my email notification within 24-hours. Failure to do so will result in another winner being selected
  • Prizes will be posted to winners as soon as possible, once all winners have responded, and I will email when all prizes have been posted

Good luck everyone! In the mean time – check out the trailer for the film!
This competition is now closed.

Aisuru Sushi, Northbridge

Aisuru Sushi, Northbridge

It’s a wonderful thing when you discover that a new restaurant is as good as you hoped it would be.

Aisuru Sushi opened two weeks ago, along the rapidly transforming section of William Street. J and I had been watching the space closely, and we were both keen to check it out. 

Aisuru Sushi, Northbridge

If you’re given the option, I recommend choosing a counter seat at Aisuru, for a ring-side view of the chefs at work.

Aisuru Sushi, Northbridge

Scallop sashimi, $11.50

We started with two sweet, fresh Hokkaido scallops, served au naturel with a sprinkling of Tobiko (flying fish roe), wasabi and pickled ginger.

The scallops were beautifully tender and worth a try if you’ve never sampled them sashimi style. Among the freshest I’ve enjoyed in Perth. If they’d ever seen a freezer, I couldn’t tell, as they were sweet, firm and not at all watery.

Aisuru Sushi, Northbridge

Sweetcorn tempura, $9.50

We took a little while to come to a decision after being tempted by so many options on the menu. So we asked the two of the chefs behind the counter for some recommendations. 

The lovely lady who turned out to be the restaurant’s tempura expert, recommended the Sweetcorn tempura, which was my favourite dish of the evening.

The corn kernels were tender and naturally sweet, and bound together lightly with a super crisp tempura batter. The chefs shared their secret to this fantastic dish, telling us that the corn is cut off the cob by hand, ensuring it’s at its best before service.

The freshly fried tempura is topped with a generous drizzle of aioli and truffle oil, and sprinkled with spicy togarashi flakes.

I’m seriously contemplating weekly visits, just for this dish.

Aisuru Sushi, Northbridge

Spider roll, $18.50 (8 pieces) or $11.00 (4 pieces)

Soft-shelled crab is a personal favourite of mine, so I was very keen to try the Spider roll. 

The tempura-coated crab was crisp and light without a hint of grease. As we ate, the sushi chef told us Aisuru cooks fresh sushi rice throughout the service, for the best results with every bite.

I really enjoyed the freshness of the Spider roll. The soft-shelled crab was still hot, and wrapped with crunchy lettuce, crisp nori and fluffy rice. Perfection.

Aisuru Sushi, Northbridge

Black velvet roll, $22.50 (8 pieces) or $12.00 (4 pieces)

The mysteriously named Black velvet roll is definitely worth a look, if you’re keen to try something a little different.

Topped with a generous sprinkle of black caviar and crowned with ripe avocado, you’ll find a tempura prawn, seared tuna, cucumber and a crab stick. 

The chili mayonnaise beneath the roll adds a welcome zing and ties all the elements of each bite together.

Aisuru Sushi, Northbridge

Dynamite roll, $17.50 (8 pieces) or $10.00 (4 pieces)

I’m always on the look out for spicy options, and the Dynamite roll was right up my alley. 

Sashimi grade tuna tossed in a spicy sauce runs through the centre of the roll, which is also topped with chili mayonnaise. 

Aisuru Sushi, Northbridge

The Dynamite roll also arrives freshly flambeed, adding a satisfying smokiness to each mouthful that’s perfectly at home with the spiciness of the chili.

Aisuru Sushi, Northbridge

Banana split maki, $12.00

Choosing between the House made green tea ice cream, $5.00, and the Banana split maki was a tough decision.

I had settled on the ice cream, but unfortunately it was sold out – making my decision easier than I expected.

The bites of sweet, ripe banana are dipped in more of the fantastic tempura batter and fried until crisp. The banana ‘maki’ are topped with sliced kiwifruit and strawberries, swirls of whipped cream and drizzled with chocolate and strawberry sauce.

I loved the tempura banana bites, which reminded me of my favourite goreng pisangwhich I haven’t been able to find anywhere in Perth.

Aisuru Sushi, Northbridge

The cream and fruit were a nice touch, but I would have enjoyed a little less of the sweet syrups.

But I’m willing to overlook any sugar high for these crispy banana bites – they really showcased the fantastic tempura.

Aisuru Sushi, Northbridge

I’m very pleased that the renovation and fit out is finally complete in this little section of William Street. 

But I’m a little concerned for my waistline … this obsession with Sweetcorn tempura and Banana split maki could prove problematic! :)

Aisuru Sushi on Urbanspoon

Hanami Japanese Restaurant, Mount Lawley

Hanami Japanese Restaurant

Located in a darkened section of Mount Lawley, sandwiched between a pharmacy and a hardware shop, you’ll find Hanami Japanese Restaurant.

We stopped at Hanami for a week night dinner date, after a long and spectacularly bad day at work. There’s nothing like food to improve my mood!

Hanami is one of those restaurants I always drive past, even though it’s been in this particular spot for years (the last restaurant I remember in the same location was Peppers Vegetarian Eating House, in the late nineties).

When we realised our other options in Mount Lawley were Tan Po Po or Yuzu, both favourites which we’ve been to many times, we knew it was time to try somewhere new.

Hanami Japanese Restaurant

Small assorted sashimi (9 pieces), $16.90

We’ve found one of the best ways to rate a new Japanese restaurant is to try their sashimi.

Hanami Japanese Restaurant

Hanami’s small sashimi platter featured the usual suspects, tuna and salmon, which was accompanied by a white fish – kingfish or maybe snapper, and a small amount of pickled octopus.

Overall, this was a fairly decent quality offering – the salmon was silky with the right amount of fat for flavour and texture, and the white fish was really lovely – extremely firm, and sweet.

On the other hand, the tuna was disappointing. It was bland and mushy, and presented on the plate with slices of lemon sandwiched between each slice. It looked great, but the acid from the lemon started to ‘cook’ the fish. Ick. Next time, we’ll be asking for more salmon.

Hanami Japanese Restaurant

Seaweed salad, $6.90

Seaweed salad is one of my favourites – a good standby, no matter where I go. This wasn’t outstanding, but it wasn’t a disappointment either. (I think the technical term is “ok”.)

It was clearly a pre-made refrigerated (or frozen, defrosted) salad imported from Japan, Korea or China …

I won’t hold that against Hanami though, as I’ve not seen a restaurant in Perth that sells anything different!

It was $6.90 though, which is more than the smallest (250g) sized tub of seaweed I can find already prepared in Hi-Mart on Barrack Street.

Hanami Japanese Restaurant

Tori Karaage, $8.90

J declared this possibly the best Karaage in town. I consider that quite a call to make on one visit, but I certainly was wooed by it.

The tender chunks of garlic and ginger marinated chicken were tossed in a feather-light coating of flour (potato and regular wheat, I’d say), making the pieces not only light and non-greasy, but also juicy.

Definitely top five material. At $8.90, this menu item from the starters page is good value in my book, as the serving is ample for two to share as part of a main meal, or enough for generous starters for three to four people.

Hanami Japanese Restaurant

Vegetable tempura, $10.90

My favourite dish of the evening was the super crunchy vegetable tempura, which included chunks of zucchini, pumpkin, sweet potato and eggplant.

The tempura batter was made as it should be, coating each piece of veg lightly, with barely a smidgen of residual oil.

 I’d been craving vegetable tempura all afternoon, and this really hit the spot.

We enjoyed our chicken and tempura with two bowls of rice ($2.50 each) and some miso soup ($3.00 each).

Hanami Japanese Restaurant

Chilled house sake, $9.00 and Lemon Lime and Bitters, $3.90

J’s hunt for the best sake place in town continues, and if we were going to present an award to the venue with the most colourful and creative presentation, I think Hanami would take out the top spot.

I loved the blue glass carafe and cup set – the in-built ice chamber is fantastic to keep the sake at just the right temperature, and looks really pretty too.

We didn’t get the name of the particular sake which Hanami favours as their house option, but it did the job.

Hanami Japanese Restaurant

There’s little touches of Japan all around the restaurant, which is nice to see, and I definitely appreciated their icy cold airconditioning on the humid night we visited.

It’s definitely on the noisy side when busy (which it was when we were there) which probably rules it out as an ‘intimate date’ venue.

Hanami Japanese Restaurant

The staff are on the ball, quick to take orders, refill water glasses and notice you when you need assistance. It took literally ten seconds from me putting the menu down, to someone approaching us to ask if we were ready to order.

In fact, I was stunned by how genuinely approachable they all seemed – they actually made eye contact even when you glanced around the room.

I’m making a point of this because I’m pretty resigned to the idea that many wait staff make it a point of pointedly ignoring you, only responding when you say ‘excuse me’.

We’ll definitely be back.

Hanami Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Arigataya-Ramen-3

Arigataya Ramen, Northbridge

Chicken karaage dipping noodles, $14

Arigataya’s menu proudly proclaims – extra noodles free of charge! This was enough to hook me, let me tell you. But as usual, would my eyes be bigger than my stomach?

Chashu ramen in miso broth, $18.00

We happened to visit Arigataya by accident, after finding the place we wanted to go to busy on a Saturday night. Without a booking and with growling bellies, we took to the streets in search of our dinner…

There were so many options to choose from, and I found myself struggling to make a choice. In the end I went with something I’ve never seen before – the dipping noodles, or, tsukemen (in Japanese).

Several plump and crispy chunks of chicken karaage were served over cool, blanched ramen, accompanied by a steaming bowl of shoyu (soy sauce) based broth for dipping.

I read on the menu that Tsukemen ettiquette dictates that you shouldn’t pour the soup into the noodles, but instead dip each mouthful in the broth before you eat it.

It was a fiddly process, but tasty all the same. My only gripe was that I found the broth to be much too salty to enjoy on its own.

The noodles were served with the usual accoutrements – sliced bamboo shoots, a small sheet of nori, half a soft-yolked boiled egg, bean sprouts and blanched spinach.

Thankfully, J’s Chashu ramen was salty, but not too salty. Dispensing with all western table manners, he happily slurped away at the miso broth. It wasn’t strongly flavoured with miso paste, but I still thought it was more interesting than the uber-salty shoyu version.

Though the miso broth was easier to enjoy, It should go without saying that anyone on a low sodium diet should stay well away from the food here…

The sliced Chashu (rolled pork belly) was tender but a little bland. A shame, as other Chashu I’ved tried elsewhere has been much more flavoursome. 

Despite our unseasonal dinner choice, we had a good time at Arigataya. It’s simple and unassuming, with friendly, efficient staff. Hot green tea is available free, and with so many options on the menu, I reckon there’s something there to satisfy most tastes, even those of you who are die hard rice fans!

Ramen fans … have you tried Arigataya Ramen? What’s your pick from the menu? Did I just choose a dud dish? 

And yes, despite all my gut busting intentions, there was absolutely no way I could fit in a second helping of ramen, no matter how much I might have wanted them!

Arigataya Ramen
62 Roe Street, Northbridge WA 6003

Open Monday to Saturday – 11.30am – 2.30pm and 5.30pm – 9.30pm
Sundays and public holidays – 11.30am – 2.00pm and 5.00pm – 8.30pmArigataya on Urbanspoon

Izakaya-Fujiyama-6

Izakaya Fujiyama, Surry Hills

What do three hungry food bloggers and the super-patient fiance of one of said bloggers order when visiting Izakaya Fujiyama? The tuna jaw. Naturally.

We joined Grab Your Fork at Izakaya Fujiyama, a new Japanese Izakaya located in leafy Surry Hills.

Asazuke, $4.50

We started with a bowl of Asazuke, a salt-cured jumble of crunchy cabbage, cucumber and carrot. I loved the tangy strips of crisp cabbage leaves, fragranced with a smoky sweetness from the addition of sesame oil.

Omakase sashimi plate, $24.50

Next to arrive was the beautifully plated Omakase sashimi plate, the Chef’s special of the day.

I could see J’s eyes light up when he spotted the ribbons of silky smooth salmon, kingfish, mackrel and tuna.

We enjoyed the cool fish with thinly grated daikon and fresh wasabi. Everytime I taste fresh wasabi, I find myself wondering why anyone bothers with the reconstituted “post mix” kind!

Kenji’s fried chicken, $13.50

Kenji’s Fried Chicken ticks all the boxes, if you ask me. We swooped on the sizzling chicken like magpies, enjoying the crunchy pieces with house made ‘Kewpie’ mayonnaise.  A drizzle of lemon juice added some welcome acidity, cutting through the richness of each mouthful. 

Crispy pork belly with yuzu pepper, $24.50

If only you could have seen the gleeful looks on our faces when this beautiful crispy pork arrived!

I was pleased to find generous chunks of meltingly tender pork beneath the crisp golden tiles of crackling. The tender meat was delicious with a smidgen of the tangy and hot yuzu pepper paste.

Teriyaki beef kalbi, $28.50

When I spotted the Teriyaki beef kalbi on the menu, I knew we had to try it.

Beef ribs are a favourite of mine, and these didn’t disappoint. Marinated in sticky sweet Teriyaki sauce and grilled to bronzed perfection, these ribs were beautifully tender and moreish.

You’ll need to fight it out to see who gets to enjoy the tender beef straight off the bone, Flintstones style.

 Tuna jaw, $38

The Tuna Jaw is a foodie’s scavenger hunt. It’s quite a sight, arriving on its own chopping block, with an astringent mound of freshly grated daikon on the side. Two bowls of dipping sauces are also provided, adding a kick of umami salty savoury goodness to each bite.

We dispense with all table manners and go for the gold, aiming to extract the tastiest morsels from the jaw.

It’s messy work, but it’s worth it. With a little patience, and the help of our trusty chopsticks, it’s easy to uncover tender pieces of tuna that are slick with a collagen-rich natural glaze.

And don’t forget the crispy wings – like fishy crisps, they are absolutely worth trying!

Fujiyama Jaffa, $13.50

It’s a struggle to make it to the end, but even so, we carried on. To end our evening, we decide to share the Fujiyama Jaffa.

This pretty dessert features frozen chocolate cake, a light yoghurt ice cream and smooth chocolate ‘yogo’. Sour and sweet cumquat sauce is drizzled over the dish with a sprinkling of sweetened popcorn.

A great end to a really memorable meal!

Izakaya Fujiyama on Urbanspoon

Read Grab Your Fork’s post

Read about our other food adventures in Sydney

Lunch at Cafe Ish, Surry Hills

Oh Reuben ish, you make me drool.

One of the Sydney places that was on our ‘to eat’ list from the start was Cafe Ish, in Surry Hills.

Owned and run by chef Josh Nicholls (@cafeish) and his wife Ai, Cafe Ish is a standout local lunch venue by day, and an Izakaya by night, offering a really unique spin on Japanese and native Australian flavours.

TFP visited Cafe Ish for breakfast on her last visit to Sydney and missed out on the Kara age Crab Omelette. With thoughts of crispy soft shell crab on the brain for over twelve months, she vowed that she had to have a Kara age Crab Omelette this time round. You can read about her last visit at her blog.

TFP and the Japanese Lemonade

 A love of all things Japanese is evident throughout Cafe Ish’s menu, including the drinks.  TFP enjoyed a somewhat explosive run in with a bottle of Japanese Lemonade (Ramune).

Ramune features a fun, but a little annoying, Codd-neck bottle, which uses a marble and rubber gasket to seal in the drink. You have to use the supplied pink ‘plunger’ to push down the stopper, which in turn pushes down a glass marble, opening the drink.

I chose a much less exciting, but still delicious, freshly squeezed orange juice.

With lots of interesting options on the cocktail menu, J eventually settled on an Aussie Geisha. 

Kara age Crab Omelette, $24
(also available in a lunch set with rice and miso soup for $16.50)

Here’s the dish we all came to see. The famous Kara age Crab Omelette. Kara age soft-shell crab and chunks of soft avocado are swaddled in a light omelette, and drizzled with a garlic, chili, ginger and soy dressing.

I really enjoyed the chunks of beautifully beautifully crisp soft-shelled crab and the creamy avocado.

The light omelette was simple – a perfectly executed Asian-style omelette, with the eggs lightly beaten, helping to ensure a light (not rubbery) texture with the perfect crispy edges.

Ai’s Freaking Awesome Fried Chicken (lunch set), $14.50

J absolutely had to try Ai’s Freaking Awesome Fried Chicken. With a name like that, who could blame him?

Later, Josh told us that the recipe for this chicken was discovered by his wife Ai after a Chicken Kara age craving – it’s a dish he doesn’t make, so she was left to her own devices.

The recipe and resulting chicken was so good it’s become part of the menu at Ish, served with an extremely tasty mix of fried shallots and soft slices of vinegary pickled garlic. We asked for the scoop on the garlic (amazing), but unfortunately, it remains an Ish secret ;)

Reuben ish, $9.50, with a side of fries and wasabi mayo, add $3.50

I love corned beef. I love sauerkraut. I have no idea where this love comes from, as these weren’t foods of my childhood, but there’s big love there.

Unsurprisingly, the first thing that jumped out at me from the menu was the Reuben ish, and I’m so glad I tried it!

Of course, I ordered the extra side of fries…because I couldn’t not have them. They were delicious dipped in the house made creamy wasabi mayo.

Cafe Ish’s version of this New York deli classic involves aniseed myrtle corned free range Wagyu sandwiched with braised cabbage, cheese, seeded mustard, and a light smear of bush tomato aioli.

The corned beef was oh so tender, with an unsual, but totally moreish tang from being simmered with the aniseed myrtle. I thought this really gave this Reuben an edge, cutting through the rich flavours.

I loved the braised cabbage, which was tender, sweet and slightly tangy, complementing the Wagyu perfectly.

We were pretty well stuffed after our meals, but we couldn’t turn down the offer of a hot chocolate or Cafe Ish’s signature Maccacino.

I’d be a happy girl if I lived in Surry Hills. This coffee was outstanding, and even after my amazing sandwich, I found myself contemplating another – it was that good. Cafe Ish uses a signature blend of wattle and macadamia in every maccacino, imparting a delectably rich, nutty flavour to their already great coffee.

Hot drinks come with a mini-Snickerdoodle, also made by Josh’s team – which we gobbled up greedily. (I love Snickerdoodles. Note to self: make Snickerdoodles!)

After hearing about Cafe Ish after TFP’s last visit, the bar was set high – I’m very pleased to report that my first experience lived up to the expectations!

If you notice the sign outside which proclaims ‘no sushi!’, you might find yourself second guessing.

Cafe Ish offers a completely unique take on cafe dining with their mix of native Australian  and Japanese.

Unusual, yes. Delicious? You bet. Worth a try – definitely.

Cafe Ish on Urbanspoon

Read about our other food adventures in Sydney

Jun Kushi Yaki Restaurant, Perth

You’d be forgiven for assuming this alleyway is just a mugging waiting to happen.

Just past the former site of the old Town Hall McDonalds on Hay Street, next to a foreign language bookshop, you’ll find total culinary gold, hidden down this dingy alley.

J and I arrived at our destination after a post-work drink at a nearby hotel. We were the first to arrive at opening, but a steady stream of city workers done for the day and larger parties celebrating birthdays arrived in a matter of minutes, all in search of good grub.

We settled on a few (ha) items from the quite extensive menu, starting with the sashimi of the day, $25 – featuring fresh tuna, salmon and scallops.

The fish and scallops were meltingly tender – a sure sign of fresh product, and beautifully sweet, like all good seafood should be. I loved the slightly gelatinous, sort of silky texture of the raw scallops.

We also chose the Yakitori assortment (10 sticks for $18). It smelled amazing upon arrival – a sure sign of the deliciousness ahead!

Clockwise from bottom left – chicken meatballs with ginger and Teriyaki sauce, Teriyaki chicken skin, Teriyaki pork belly (slightly nibbled by me, oops!), Teriyaki chicken thigh, Teriyaki chicken thigh with spring onions, chicken with plum sauce, salted chicken giblets, salted pork belly, salted chicken skin and finally, a salted chicken wing!

Check out the char!

My favourites were the classic Teriyaki chicken, Teriyaki pork belly and Teriyaki chicken skin. The sweet and salty Teriyaki sauce had caramelised to a delicious char, something I personally favour on anything labelled ‘Teriyaki’!

J really loved the salted meat sticks – we both thought the simple seasoning combined with the char-grilling really enhanced the flavour of the meats. The chicken wing was a particular stand out, with crispy skin and super tender meat.

This visit to Jun was my first, but the second in less than a week for hungry J. He’d discovered the place last week during a work lunch break, and raved, telling me it was ‘the best EVER’.

He insisted that we order the Chicken Karaage. Large chunks of crispy, golden chicken thigh arrived, looking like the ultimate fried chicken. The “secret spices” in Jun’s chicken? Generous helpings of ginger and garlic in their seasoning. Utterly delicious dipped in the Japanese mayo served alongside. Evil. Totally artery clogging. But oh so good.

We couldn’t pass up on ordering the butter corn, which is something we replicate often at our house! We originally got the idea to season corn this way from TFP and Jac, following their successful visit to Jun a number of years ago.

It’s simple and hardly warrants a recipe – but totally moreish and delicious. Jun pan fry corn kernels with a little butter and a dash of soy sauce, and voila! Butter corn.

We also enjoyed some grilled fresh shiitake mushrooms which were part of the daily specials. At $3 a stick, these weren’t very cheap – but wow. The umami-ness of the mushrooms was beautifully enhanced by the charcoal grill. Though tender, they were satisfyingly toothsome – something which J, the mushroom-texture-phobe, really appreciated.

J loves Jun!

We also topped everything off (or is that held everything together?) with rice and miso soup. All up, our bill came to about $70. Not bad considering the fact that we definitely over-ordered! :)

Jun is definitely worth a visit if you’re in the Eastern end of Perth. It’s quiet and unassuming, but delivers tasty treats which are further afield from the standard sushi and katsu combos that are ubiquitous to most Japanese restaurants and takeaway shops in Perth.

The fact that the restaurant is tucked away in an alleyway really only adds to the charm – but you’ll only know you’ve stumbled on a gem once you visit!

Jun on Urbanspoon

Open Monday to Friday for lunch (limited menu)
Open Monday to Saturday for dinner from 6pm

Obanyaki a-go go

The City’Super store was a happy discovery for J and I as we shopped our way through Times Square in the Causeway Bay area of Hong Kong.

Stocking all sorts of foodie delights (imported french leg ham, anyone?), stationery and general merchandise (clothing, cosmetics, accessories, shoes); another wonderful and delicious part of the basement level of the store was the special ‘festival’ section, filled with lots of ultra-expensive and exclusive food items for the Mid-Autumn (mooncake) festival.

One of the great things we found was the Obanyaki stand. Obanyaki is a Japanese pancake-like snack, filled with all manner of tasty treats like sweet red bean paste, custard or ham and cheese. I’ve read that Obanyaki goes by a number of names (incidentally we found them again in Kuala Lumpur – they were called Taikoyaki there!)

J and I left the hotel early(ish) that morning with the intention of finding a breakfast/brunch snack on the run. We picked two obanyaki to share – one ham and cheese, and one custard.

We both really loved the slightly stretchy, sort of glutinous texture of the pancakes. I read they were made with tapioca flour and ‘Japanese flour’ (not sure what that means… anyone know?) which probably added to the interesting texture!

The fillings were tasty too.

Looking at these pictures again has really got me craving these. I’ve never seen them in Perth. Someone should really get on to that! Cheese and vegemite obanyaki could be a real hit :)