One of the highlights of this visit to Tokyo was the incredible sashimi and sushi meal at Kyubey. We sat at the main restaurant’s ground floor bench, and had a chef serving us directly (service charge was applied) – this was worth the extra fee to watch the chef’s knife skills – and chose the Iga kaisek set (¥18,000 at lunch with the anniversary special). The meal started with two beautiful entrees, one with tofu and aloe, the other with a raw seasonal fish – light, delicate and delightful. Then the sashimi began – red seabream, middle tuna, squid and a couple of others I ate without asking the name. Each was fresh from the Tsukiji market and perfectly timed to minimise the time between being sliced and eaten. Following a relatively large piece of grilled fish (possibly bonito?), the nigiri sushi began. Each was a delight, particularly the ootoro (fatty tuna), which melted in your mouth and had such a delicate flavour – heavenly. The prawns were brought out live, killed in front of us and put on the rice (you can also choose to have it cooked, as I did). It doesn’t get fresher than that! Next up soup, grilled eel (so creamy!) and small rolled sushi. The meal ended with an egg omelette block and a large wedge of watermelon. Top class sushi and a must-visit for a splash-out meal.
Kyubey Ginza, 8-7-6 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, http://www.kyubey.jp/en
I was super pumped for ramen at Himeji, but when Mum and I saw the Funamori (sushi and sashimi boat, $62) on the menu, we couldn’t resist. Dad ordered the Oyakodon (chicken and egg rice bowl) and a couple of bao to try. We sampled it while waiting for our boat – the oyakodon was beautiful, with lovely, tasty rice, perfectly tender chicken and sweet onion. Then our boat arrived! Oh my! So full of sushi and sashimi and beautiful seafood! We didn’t know where to start! All of the fish was fresh and flavoursome, and the sashimi cuts were all excellent, except for a couple of slightly too-thick and chewy lower-grade tuna pieces. The natural oysters were lovely, and the aburi salmon rolls were a highlight with perfectly seared outers. My favourite was actually the ceviche, served with a yam (?) crisp and deep-fried prawn head. It had a wicked amount of spice and excellent texture, especially when paired with the chips. Our favourite nigiri sushi was the unagi (eel), with the thick sweet sauce on top, but the salmon was excellent all around. We were so full by the end – such an indulgent feast and excellent service! Highly recommended.
Himeji Ramen & Izakaya, 22-24 Grote Street, Adelaide SA, http://www.ramenizakaya-himeji.com
Japanese food is my absolute favourite, and so for my birthday, Mum and I had the most amazing dinner at one of the best Japanese restaurants I’ve been to in Australia; Shoya. We sat at the sushi bar, and ordered a la carte, starting with the deluxe sashimi entree. The sashimi here is just as good as any place in Tokyo, and I was gobsmacked by a) the beauty of the ice sphere it was served in and b) the perfection of the salmon, tuna, scallop and kingfish sashimi pieces. Basically, everything melted in your mouth and I could have happily eaten another three serves. Swoon. Next was a piece each of the aburi salmon and unagi (eel) nigiri sushi – the salmon was tender and tasty, but the unagi was the stand-out, with a huge, meaty piece grilled to perfection atop the rice. We then enjoyed the salmon onigiri, which was actually huge and very filling – the flakes of salmon were perfect and there was the occasional pop of heat from a red peppercorn within. Finally, we shared a plate of the agedashi tofu, which was just the right level of crispy on the outside and pillowy-soft inside. Pure birthday bliss.
Shoya, 25 Market Lane, Melbourne VIC http://www.shoya.com.au
My colleague recommended a sushi bar near our meeting venue at lunchtime, so off I went into the GPO building seeking a light meal and some raw fish. Sosumi didn’t disappoint. The staff were professional and attentive, and I launched right in with a plate of salmon sashimi. There were 4 slices on the plate with a small salad underneath for garnish, and each slice was plump, tender and very tasty. Yes the pieces were smaller than you would get in Japan, but by Australian standards, it was quite good. Next up was the seaweed salad, which was quite generous and had a flavour just like those I’ve had in Japan. I tried a plate with four mini raw tuna rolls, which were quite small but also very tasty, and I was then lucky enough to scoop up an aburi salmon plate (my absolute favourite) – the salmon was thin and there were only two pieces, but it satisfied my craving for sushi nicely. Be warned though, Sosumi offers quality, not value, so don’t expect to walk away full without a significant spend.
Sosumi Sushi Train, Lower Ground Floor, GPO, 1 Martin Place, Sydney NSW http://www.gpogrand.com/sosumi-sushi-train-sydney-cbd.html
Dinner at Lilotang was a fine dining experience. Yes, it is pricy, and yes, the portions are small, but if you go in with that expectation, you will be in for a treat flavour-wise. My friend and I started with the avocado, okra and tuna sashimi ‘small plate’, which had just the right amount of wasabi to coax the best out of the delicate tuna cubes. Next was the umami vegetables served in an orange pot, which was my favourite dish – it took me right back to Japan. The vegetables were roasted to perfection, but what made this plate special was the miso sauce and the infused orange flavour that came from being served in a hollowed-out orange. Magic. Next we tried the chicken thigh and wagyu beef robata – both were incredibly tender and had a lovely charocal flavour. Round two of small plates was the baby octopus salad – perfectly balanced flavours – and the kara-age quail, which had a citrus and sesame sauce that was to die for. We finished with the snapper sashimi, which was fresh and just the right note to end on. A meal at Lilotang is all about the flavour – treat yourself!
Lilotang, Burbury Hotel, 1 Burbury Close, Barton ACT http://lilotang.com.au/