Archive for the 'Japanese' Category

Sydney Long Weekend: Day 3

I’m afraid that my ah ma is right in saying I won’t be able to finish my Sydney posts before I’m in Singapore, so here goes another Sydney post!

It was my second day wandering around Sydney city while R was attending his full day course. I remember a friend who once visited Melbourne on his own and told me he didn’t enjoy his trip as much because he felt lonely. In contrast, I didn’t feel lonely one bit and loved having breakfast and discovering the city on my own. I guess I’m a real introvert. Or maybe it was because I knew R and I would meet up at the end of the day so I could never be lonely for long (=^^=).

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Early breakfast at Reuben Hills in Surry Hills, another must eat on my list. Again, Surry Hills was quiet and peaceful. The quiet streets were misleading though, I was surprised at the buzz and hive of activity when I stepped into the cafe.
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A classic Reuben sandwich which apparently originates from New York is a hot sandwich of corned beef, Swiss cheese with Russian dressing, and sauerkraut. Reuben Hills had a fascinating menu of reubens and I found it difficult to make a decision.

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In the end I opted for The Broken Omelette Roll with fried shrimp and and bacon jam ($14). Interesting combination right? It came with prawn crackers on the side and really had teeny fried shrimp in the bun which gave it a crunchy texture. The bacon jam itself was tasty, but whilst interesting, I don’t think I would order this again.

Instead of ordering their famous salted caramel shake, I had their lychee with lime and coconut shake which came out exactly how I imagined it would, refreshing and tropical.

Would I return to Reuben Hills again? Definitely, only with so many great cafes in Surry Hills, it might be some time before I go back.

Reuben Hills
61 Albion Street
Surry Hills
Sydney, 2010

After so much walking the day before, I ended my day a bit early and headed back to the hotel for a great afternoon of winter olympics watching. Sigh, I do miss the Olympics. Luckily World Cup is coming soon but there’s only one sport to watch, luckily I like football.

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We were contemplating whether we should return to Chinatown for Gumshara Ramen again (R really loved it) but I suggested we try another popular ramen store in the city instead. So Ichiban Boshi it was. Located on the second floor of The Galleries shopping mall (opposite Kinokuniya), it’s pretty easy to get to this noodle store.

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Even though it was quite late by the time we arrived, the store was still quite busy. We wanted to order the Tonkatsu ramen which I read somewhere is their signature dish (with only 15 bowls on offer a day, that can’t be true?!). We weren’t surprised when the waitress told us that they had sold out on tonkatsu ramen for the day. Oh well, R had the Miso Ramen ($9.90) instead. While it was no gumshara, he enjoyed this ramen and we agreed the ramen noodles themselves were very nice.

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I had the Tokyo Ramen ($9.90)which was a soy based ramen with char siew and a soft boiled egg. It was lightly flavoured and pretty good as far as ramen goes but I wouldn’t say that it’s outstanding.

Ichiban Boshi
Level 2 The Galeries
500 George Street
Sydney

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After dinner, we walked down to Darling Harbour to catch sight of the nighttime view of the CBD. It was very pretty. Maybe someday Perth will be like this once Elizabeth Quay is up, we can only hope.

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Can’t say you’ve been to Sydney without taking the obligatory photo of the Opera House!
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Sydney Harbour Bridge at night. It must be beautiful when the fireworks light up the bridge during New Year’s Eve.

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Quay with the legendary Peter Gilmore at its helm. He is the guy with all the beautiful creations that the Masterchef wannabes try to create to no avail.  What a beautiful place to have dinner. R said we might go there for dinner some day :) .
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A short stroll into the Rocks for some chocolate dessert (R had a chocolate beer!) at the Guylian cafe (I can’t remember what this dessert was called but it was reaally good) and we called it a day. Another great day in Sydney.

Just one final post on Sydney and I will have finished my Sydney series, it’s the best one too because we went to the Fish market *drool*. Let’s see whether I will get it done before we leave for Singapore. Four more days and my sister and family will arrive in Perth forever, woohoo.

Sydney Long Weekend : Day 1 Gumshara Ramen & Rockpool

I’ve just returned from a lovely long weekend in Sydney. It’s been a while since I’ve visited Sydney and it was R’s first visit, I think it’s safe to say that we both enjoyed this trip a lot and are a little in love with the beautiful and fun city.
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Before I bombard this post with Sydney pics, here are some palmiers that I made for our workplace afternoon tea before I left for the long weekend. I used frozen puff pastry and a brown sugar, walnuts and cinnamon filling,  it was a crowd pleaser at work (I work with a hungry bunch).
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Back to Sydney, I loved their extensive city rail network which was easy to navigate. Not that it isn’t easy to navigate in Perth but we don’t have much choice here because our stations in comparison to Sydney’s are sparse and few! Funnily enough, our train line was closed for trackworks during the weekend so for a couple of days I traveled solely by free replacement buses which were well coordinated and frequent.
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R was really there for a professional development course while I tagged along for some foodie/shopping/coffee time. But the course didn’t start till Saturday so we still had the Friday free for some couple exploration time. One of our first stops, the Queen Victoria Building right in town (TownHall train station). QVB is a gorgeous building of history which in recent times has been restored into its original design as a shopping mall.
Feb Sydney

In fact, a lot of the shopping malls and lanes in the CBD are housed in picturesque old buildings. I’m glad to see that Perth is starting to embrace it’s heritage buildings as well and places such as The Terrace Hotel, The Trustee etc. are being put into good use and being enjoyed by the public.

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From QVB, we walked into the neighbouring Haymarket suburb where Chinatown (Dixon Street) is located. Chinatown was a lot smaller than I expected but I suspect that satellite Chinatowns have emerged in suburban Sydney and am determined to visit some during my next trip to Sydney.

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By this time it was getting close to noon and we were famished. I didn’t have much time to do foodie research before my Sydney trip, but because R is a big ramen fan, I did google ‘best ramen in Sydney’ and came up with a few must-go ramen stalls with no.1 on the to-do ramen list being Gumshara Ramen of the 120kg pork bones per day tonkatsu ramen fame.
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Ta-dah, the famous tonkatsu ramen with perfect soft boiled egg. The charsiew (bbq pork) slices were very tasty and well done, ramen were of a delightful ‘bite’ texture (not too hard) but it was really the thick, sinfully rich porkbone soup that hit the mark with R. He thought about it every day after this meal and has confirmed that he will visit Gumshara for his ramen hit every time he visits Sydney. In all honesty, the porkiness and heaviness of the soup was too much for me and I could barely manage half a bowl (this is why every girl needs a ‘finisher’), next time I will ask them to dilute the soup for me.

Gumshara
Eating World Harbour Plaza
Shop 209, 25-29 Dixon Street
(enter from Goulburn Street or Factory Street)
Haymarket Chinatown, Sydney

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By the time we staggered out from the food court, R was very very full. I however, still managed to have a few of the popular custard puffs from Emperor’s Garden bakery ($1 for 4). Even thought it was past lunchtime, there was still a short queue for the puffs, on another night when I visited Chinatown, I spied a tremendously long queue for the puffs.
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Are the puffs worth the queue? Not really. They are a great snack mind you, I love anything custard and these puffs were freshly made and still hot with creamy custard filling, I’m just not sure I would queue for so long to eat these puffs which were nice but not amazing.

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Market City in Haymarket.

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The bottom level of the building is the Paddy’s market which is a wide array of stalls selling everything from wigs, souvenirs, bags to clothes. The upper levels is the Market City shopping mall which is very Asian and makes you feel as if you’ve been transported to a local suburb shopping centre in Singapore.

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This young girl got quite a few stares when she started doing pushups (one hand too!) in the middle of the busy city streets. What was she doing?
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It was an Amazing Race challenge! Throughout the day we spotted Amazing Race participants racing around the city doing all sorts of different challenges, in fact, we were roped into one because one of their challenges was to take photos with random groups. Haha, so I might be on tv soon.
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I told R that we had to take a picture of him in front of this bus stop to Birkenhead Point because we spent quite a bit of time trying to find the right bus to get to Birkenhead Point which is a factory outlet quite near the CBD but not easily accessible via the train. The  bus stop is located on Druitt Street (near the Town Hall train station ) and you have to take the 500 series buses to Victoria Rd, Drummoyne, alighting at the first stop after Iron Cove Bridge. Follow the signs to the factory outlet which is a 2 minute walk away.
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Hooray for shopping galore!

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It was a lovely area to shop at with the glittering harbour in near distance. Lots of great brands including my favourite Review, Cue Australian brands.
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Time for dinner! And it was a special one at Rockpool Bar and Grill which I had pre booked a couple of weeks earlier. Rockpool is one of those famous restaurants in Australia that everyone raves about. While some have commented that it’s overrated or not worth the hefty price, it has been very popular since it’s Perth branch opened up in Crowne casino. Many colleagues and friends have raved about the food but I’ve always been a bit skeptical.
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Despite the steaks being Rockpool Bar and Grill’s claim to fame, I was actually most impressed with the wide and lovely range of sides and starters offered by Rockpool. Everything sounded amazing and yummy so it was quite difficult  to choose the steak tartare with chips ($25) as our shared started. But it was a good choice because the steak tartare was very tasty, appetising and well seasoned.

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Friends have prewarned me that Rockpool’s famous steaks come with no condiments but is literally just one lone piece of meat .My Cape Grim grass fed 250 gm fillet ($55) was cooked a perfect medium rare and was definitely one of the better steaks that I’ve ever had. I’m not sure that it was a wow flowers coming out of head moment though.

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R’s 350g grass fed rib eye on the bone ($66) with bearnaise sauce. Also well cooked, R wasn’t too impressed with the cut of the meat and preferred my fillet finding it more tender.

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Our sides of ‘Mac and Cheese’ ($9) which is Rockpool’s decadent version of the simple mac and cheese and was rich and packed with flavour. It was very tasty but again, I’m not sure whether it was worth all the accolades. Probably not something I would order again especially since there are so many other yummy sides to choose from.

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Sauteed mixed mushrooms ($25), such a simple dish but so delightful. We loves this side. The sides were all of a generous portion so I would suggest that small feeders should probably choose just one side to share between two.

We had a nice dinner at Rockpool and it’s definitely worth a visit but probably doesn’t rate as high in terms of wow factor for me. Would I return again, I’m not sure, the other sides all sounded fantastic so I wouldn’t mind going just for the sides. But with so many other restaurants to try in Sydney, I think it will be a long time before I go back.

All in all, a wonderful first day in Sydney.

Rockpool Bar and Grill
66 Hunter St
Sydney NSW 2000
Australia

Hangout Bar N Cafe @ Como, Jun@ Hay Street, Perth

A break from my holiday posts with some local content.

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We had Sunday brunch at Hangout Bar N Cafe in Como a few weekends back. Even though it was busy, we managed to snag a table pretty quick without a booking. The cafe was surprisingly cozy with a fireplace, unfortunately we were seated near the door which meant chilly blasts of wind when patrons came in and out the cafe.

They have a wide range of coffees and flavoured hot chocolates ranging from tiramisu latte to green tea latte. I liked their fancy glasses.

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Their Big and Tall ($20) breakfast which comes with a glass of fruit juice. This is one for the hungry and was a pretty good all rounder big breakfast.

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Eggs benedict ($17), HC said all was tasty.

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Jo’s honey glazed 1 inch bacon which came with poached eggs, avocado and habanero sauce ($17). The bacon was lovely but I’m not sure that the habanero sauce added to the dish.

Overall we enjoyed our brunch and will definitely return some day. They take bookings so that’s convenient too.

Hangout Bar N Cafe
20 Preston Street
Como, WA 6152
Tel: 08 9474 1914

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Jason is back in town! Only for a short three weeks :( but beggars can’t be choosers. We only have him for another week before he returns to London. So tonight we met up with him for dinner at Jun. I’ve heard great things about Jun so was glad we finally got to go. The restaurant is hidden underground in a little alley, but word has gone out so it’s no longer a secret in the CBD and is always packed at lunch time.

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I can never resist ordering zaru soba ($10) even though it’s a bit mad to have cold soba on a winter night. I had the yummy soba with a side of croquette ($8), very crunchy texture and I was suitably pleased with my choices.

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R’s soba in soup ($10) he immediately regretted his choice after trying my zaru soba. It tasted alright but the texture of soba was lost in the hot soup.

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The rest of the guys had set meals. This was Jason’s katsu chicken meal ($28) which came with side dishes, salad, pickles and miso. He let me try some of this chicken with was very crunchy and well fried.
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Jo had the Jun yakitori set ($30). Jun is most well known for its yakitori and it was easy to see why because they were all very well done, grilled to perfection, moist and tasty.

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HC’s teriyaki beef set ($28), he is a huge teriyaki beef bowl fan and really liked the beef here. I liked their side dishes of simmered pork stew, just something different from the normal salad.

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Side dish of baby squid in butter soy sauce ($8), R thought it was great with just the right texture and I liked their butter and soy sauce which had the right amount of sticky sweetness.

While Jun’s prices are perhaps on the slightly higher end, I do admire their wide variety of authentic Japanese dishes on the menu, everything was faultless (except if perhaps the waitress was a bit more frequent with her green tea serving) and we had a fun winter night.

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Baby Tristan really liked Jason and couldn’t stop smiling all night. Sigh, can’t blame the baby, I love being around Jason too. It always feels so comforting and familiar whenever Jaso is here and we always have such a nice time whether it’s squabbling with each other or having one of our D&Ms (an abbreviation taught by Jaso haha, it means deep and meaningful *face palm*).

Jun
568 Hay St
Perth, WA 6000
Tel : 08 9221 3339
jun1

The different colours of the Perth Council House at night. I doubt Perth will ever become a cosmopolitan city like London, Paris or even Sydney and Melbourne, but the gradual growth of Perth suits the boring ol’ me and it’s becoming more and more like home especially with the arrival of Jan and family. Looking forward to the rest of 2013 and beyond.

Harvest Espresso brunch and good ol’ Taka’s

The perpetual Saturday morning question ‘Where should we go for brunch?’

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This time I introduced Jo and HC to Harvest Espresso which I’ve frequented a few times and enjoyed tremendously. As usual, the little cafe was buzzing but the nice and friendly waitress was able to get us a table pretty quick.

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It’s always nice to start a weekend with a coffee. I tried to lie to myself that I wasn’t having a coffee by ordering a mocha. Trying to cut down on coffee is proving pretty difficult. Sometimes when I haven’t had a coffee at work,  I find myself making a coffee (instant some more!) at night (^__^)”. My nervous stomach is obviously not getting any better.

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Jo had the mushroom omelette which she really loved, the omelette was creamy yet light, very tasty.

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HC’s pulled pork sandwich which they both said was very nice. He also had a side of sourdough toast with strawberry jam which he was lovely. It was a nice brunch and I’m so glad that this little cafe is still doing really well, food wise and service wise.

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Eating in on Saturday night. Sei soong yaat tong, four dishes and one soup, Cantonese style hehe.

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New dish, prawns in creamy butter garlic sauce on an omelette. Very rich and sinful dish, I think it was just lacking a bit of chilli for a bit of oomph.

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Chicken teriyaki slices with stir fried beansprouts.

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Our soup of the night was bak kut teh (pork rib soup) which I made with soft pork ribs and also belly pork. Also added tofu puffs and pork balls for a bit of variety.

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I took this picture for my mother because I wanted to let her know that we returned to Taka for Sunday lunch! Ah ma remembers Taka fondly because it was the only Japanese place I brought her to eat back in the old days when I was a cheap uni student. Taka is not so ‘cheap’ anymore, but it’s still very affordable and always tasty. This is Jo’s teriyaki fish combo.
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My chicken karaage combo which was very good. The chicken pieces were still piping hot while still tender and juicy. I reckon many high end Japanese restaurants around Perth wouldn’t be able to serve such a good chicken karaage.

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Sunday roasts seem to be have become the norm. This chicken was pre marinated and came with a  cous cous stuffing, not sure about the stuffing but the chicken itself was nice.

Next Saturday should be fun, we’re going to a fancy dress party! Maybe I should go as a big head prawn.

Ahoy Matey!

It’s been a while since I’ve done any creative cooking in the kitchen :(.

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I’m no where near diminishing my 30 must-cook list, so far I’ve only cooked one out of the 30, but I promise I will do one more this week. Instead, I have been relying on my old-time favourites, such as this teriyaki beef onion, tamagoyaki and stir fried cabbage and carrot bento.

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But at least I have been trying new food places! This is Tao Cafe, which while not actually new (they have branches in Myaree and Innaloo), is pretty new in Victoria Park. Already it is very popular and was buzzing on Saturday night. The upside of Tao? They have a wide variety on their menu ranging from Vietnamese, Thai to Japanese (they even have a sushi train). The downside? Jack of all trades, master of none. The Pho Tai above was very average, in fact, while the broth was alright, their noodles were not the usual smooth rice noodles that we’re used to from the Vietnamese fare in Northbridge. Prices also on the higher side (around $15.50 – 18.00 for a dish) compared to their counterparts in Northbridge.

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HC’s Com Tam ($15.00) broken rice with pork chop, egg and shredded meat. His first reaction was ‘very salty’ haha, so I guess that means it was pretty tasty.

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I have to say that the presentation of Tao’s dishes were all very appealing and nice, the orange hue of the rice of my Com Ga Chien Don ($15.50) a crispy chicken with rice and sweet and sour sauce, was very pretty. Unfortunately I’m not sure what they put in the rice to get that nice colour because the rice itself was rather bland and didn’t taste of anything much. It was much better after I mixed in the sweet and sour sauce which tasted like sweet chilli sauce.

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Jo enjoyed her Pineapple Fried Rice ($15.00) and said that she would return in the future. While the food was only average and portion perhaps on the smaller side, I can see why Tao Cafe is popular in the neighbourhood especially with its BYO policy, good location and bright cozy interior. I think it will be here to stay.

Tao Cafe
Shop 1, 860 Albany Highway,
East Victoria Park 6101
Phone: 08 9361 1100
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All aboard! A different Sunday evening in Fremantle. The guys accompanied me on a work function of a different kind (no, I am not a sailor) which saw us board the Leeuwin II.

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Baby was dressed up in his Sunday nautical best for the voyage haha.

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Lots of romantic stories regarding the Leeuwin. My colleague once proposed to her husband on board the Leeuwin II.

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The tiny bunks down below. No individual cabins or captain quarters here.

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The whole family on the decks of Leeuwin II. I wish my parents were here, I think they would have enjoyed a tour around this little ship. Ah well, two more weeks till they arrive and we can go fishing in Freo. Bon voyage!

Kuza Urban Japanese Food @ Victoria Park

It’s been a while since I’ve done a food review and a bad one too. I wouldn’t even have contemplated blogging about Kuza  (because the food is really not worth a mention) but their actions to date have been so despicable that it ignited my passion to warn all other Perth-ians about this place.

This story goes back a weekend when Gill invited us for lunch at the new Taiwanese dessert shop Taro Taro in Victoria Park. We only discovered Kuza Urban because it was located right next to Taro Taro. We were so excited that there was a new Japanese place in our neighbourhood that we immediately decided to go there for dinner that night. That was our first mistake of the night.

Standing outside Kuza, we were a bit hesitant about going in as it looked more like a intimate romantic dining area than a family restaurant. But we thought, why not give ourselves a treat and have some fine Japanese food? Second mistake of the night. The interior of Kuza is interesting, there was a street art mural all across one side of the wall, very Melbourne-ish in style. But everything else in the restaurant screamed fine dining with dark walls, the wineglasses and the waitstaff suited up in black.

We were asked whether we wanted water and we said yes. It dawned on me that it was probably their opening night as the waiter seemed quite unsure of himself.  Perusing the menu, my heart sank a little when I realised they were not just a restaurant on the higher end, they were actually attempting to be a fine dining restaurant on the very top end. Their most expensive item on the menu was Wagyu steak for $50, other dishes ranged from $16 to $50. It should be noted that the $16 dishes were ordinary dishes to be had at any takeaway Japanese outlet e.g. agedashi tofu, chicken karaage. A large sashimi was around $45 . None of these dishes came with any sides such as miso soup, salads or even rice.

Now, never mind the high prices, I’ve eaten at some great fine dining restaurants around town and most of them have always managed to impress me with their cooking techniques and creations. I was expecting something special from Kuza.

chicken karaage

This was my soft shell crab which came with watery unsweet watermelon pieces. It was drizzled with some kind of vinegary dressing that reminded me of the dressing you get with Foshan chicken. Now this didn’t help  the soft shell crab which was already very thickly battered and left a floury aftertaste in my mouth. The sauce and residue of watermelon juices only added to the overall sogginess of the soft shell crab which I expected to be crispy. None of us liked it.

We were surprised to see salmon confit ($26) on the menu, hardly Japanese or ‘urban’ Japanese at that, but being intrigued and salmon lovers, both R and HC ordered it, only to be told by the waitress that it wasn’t offered that night. Well, take it off the menu then.

pork belly

So HC ordered the pork belly with apple puree instead. Poor guy, when this dish came out, we said ‘you better order a side’. The pork belly itself was very ordinary and sadly, lacking a crispy skin. Not sure what the apple puree was about, I guess a spin on the usual combination of pork and apple? The sauce drizzled on top was just balsamic vinegar, really ordinary food.

We also ordered an agedashi tofu (three cubes of tofu) which could have come from any takeaway shop, and I ordered a chicken karaage. The chicken kaarage was freshly fried and came with a ginger juice dressing on the side, Kuza’s way of  justifying the $16 mark for 5 small bits of fried chicken was having little chopped bits of avocado, tomato and cucumber underneath. I could have done the same thing at home.

As the night grew on, we understood that we were not going to get full with these bits and pieces of so called fine dining, so we started ordering sides. We ordered the udon and ramen ($8 each) which came in a full bowl (thankfully, something in a normal portion at last) but was so bland and tasteless that we may as well have gone home and cooked instant noodles. R’s ramen was so underseasoned that he had to pour a huge amount of shoyu into the soup, sadly, the ramen was not ramen at all and tasted like something out of a pack, the bad part was, it wasn’t even cooked properly and he got a huge chunk of noodles that were stuck together.

All the dishes were very disappointing, the ramen and udon were terrible, but what really disgusted me was the steamed rice ($3 a serving). Because it wasn’t even Japanese short grain rice but long grain rice! Over the week I even read a review that said even their sushi was made with long grain rice! You’ve got to be kidding me, how non-Japanese and cost saving can you get?!

The shock didn’t end there. When we left after paying the bill (can’t fault the service, they were fine), R came out to tell us that our bottle of water was $8. Wow. I only wish the waiter had told us earlier in the night that we were actually paying for the water, and $8 a bottle at that. Is your water air flown from the Swiss alps? I knew we were never going to return to Kuza.

This is not just about the price of the food, fine dining is called fine dining for a reason, I have never ceased to be amazed with the food that we’ve had at fine dining restaurants overseas and in Perth and yes, it might have been $120 for a degustation at Jacksons, but it was worth every penny. What disgusts me is the audacity of Kuza to charge fine dining prices, serve such run off the mill (even below average) food and basically try to slug their customers wherever possible. They charged $50 for Wagyu beef but didn’t bother to state the source, what grade, cut, weight the beef was .

In Japan, I was amazed at the passion and dedication that the chefs put in their amazing food, from ramen booths to the great Kani Doraku, everyone cultivates their art and treats their food with respect. But for Kuza to serve long grain rice in sushi and clumpy ramen and call themself a Japanese restaurant, I was just disgusted.

NOW THE AFTERMATH

When we got home, I couldn’t put Kuza out of my mind and we all decided that we would write our honest review of the restaurant in Urbanspoon. To my amazement, the next day, there were reviews up glorifying the wonders of Kuza and making statements including that Kuza served ‘the reshest sashimi in Perth’. My disbelief grew as I noticed all these fantastic reviews were by once-off reviewers who had never reviewed elsewhere EVER. And suddenly all 4 pop up just to say how great Kuza is? Yeah. Right.

Now the most freaky part. All the bad reviews of Kuza were deleted overnight. In fact, ALL my reviews of any restaurants (good or bad) in Perth dating back since 2010 were removed. Suddenly Kuza’s approval rating which was bordering the 50% mark became 70%. ALL the once off fantastic reviews remained. Only one bad review remained and this was the one that came with pictures.

Why and how did this happen? I can only assume that Kuza’s owners who have no problem putting up fake positive reviews of their restaurant must have through means and way requested the removal of all bad reviews. So there goes the credibility of Urbanspoon. Apparently owners of restaurants are able to regulate what reviews they want on their Urbanspoon site. I have emailed Urbanspoon to ask for an explanation but I don’t expect to get a satisfactory reply.

As for Kuza, you can run but you can’t hide . You can try to silent me on Urbanspoon but I doubt you can censor me on my blog.  I wouldn’t worry how fast you can delete bad reviews of your restaurant, because word-off-mouth travels fast and I believe your dirty tactics, rip off prices and appalling food will speak for itself.

Unless you finally open yourself to accepting constructive criticism, I look forward to reporting of your closure soon.
Kuza Urban Japanese Food
387-393 Albany Hwy, Victoria Park, WA 6100
Kuza Urban Japanese Food on Urbanspoon

First Day of 2012 + Nine Fine Food

So it’s the ninth day of 2012 and I’m finally finding some time to blog about the first few days of the new year.

ramen

2012  started with a giant bowl of char siew ramen from Dokusui in Freo. Just how the boys like it.

maritime museum

WA Maritime museum at sunset. We didn’t actually visit the musuem, it wasn’t open anyway. But this was our fishing ground! We ended up with 30 mackerels and even some crabs. It’s so odd to think that Christmas Day and New Year Day was spent fishing, and I don’t even fish during the year!
goose mousse

A week later R and I were in Nine Fine Food for my early birthday celebration. We chose Nine Fine Food because I love Japanese food and I’ve been wanting to try this place for ages. We both decided on the four course set menu, R’s first entree was the goose mousse which was foie gras mousse with tobiko caviar. It was also our favourite dish of the night, gorgeous taste of foie gras and I love the crunch of tobiko, yums.

sashimi

Apologies for the bad photos in advance. It was a very dim restaurant and we didn’t do the food any justice with blurry photos. My entree was the Sashimi Nine Style which included squid, salmon, tuna etc. The sashimi wasn’t too impressive, but I’ve never been very impressed with the quality of sashimi in Perth. Otherwise I liked all the sauces on the squid, the prawn, very moreish.

pasta

R’s 2nd course was the Lamb and Scallop (picture too blurry so not up) which was marinated grilled sliced lamb round steak, blended spiced miso braised lamb shoulder, seared scallop with balsamic, soy & truffle oil dressing. The lamb was very tender and flavourful, scallop was pretty good but not outstanding.

My 2nd course was the Kinocho Caviar Pasta. More caviar for me please!I was really surprised at the taste of this pasta, it felt oddly familiar, like the rice wine chicken soup that we have for Chinese New Year, but there was this creamy and rich texture to it which must have been cream. The mushrooms were silky and lovely, giving it that extra Asian flavour. I loved the extra tobiko crunch too. Now looking back at the menu description, it says sake rice wine cream sauce, so my guess was right. This was pretty heavy so I felt quite full afterwards.

land

My main was The Land which was a special of the night and consisted of all things meat. There was lamb cutlet, lamb steak, beef tenderloin steak and pork belly. The pork belly wasn’t as tender as I would have liked it to be and not very well spiced. Beef tenderloin steak was tender. In fact, besides the pork belly, everything else was very flavourful to the extent that I found it slightly too salty, heavy, I think everything would have tasted great with a bowl of rice :)

ocean east

Blurry pic again :( R’s main was also a special, Oceans East which included all things from the sea. There was unagi (eel) which was nice, barramuni in miso and soft shell crab. We were most impressed with the soft shell crab which was lightly battered and crunchy but not in the overly deep fried sort of way that you get at many Chinese restaurants.

tiramisu

Final course of the night, I had a green tea brulee which tasted nice (strong green tea flavours) but texture wise was a bit lacking. R’s tiramisu was a surprise as it didn’t come out looking anything like tiramisu, but it sure tasted like one and was very nice with strong coffee flavours, very refreshing.

Overall we had a really good time at Nine Fine Food! In terms of the food there were hits and misses but I had lots of fun trying everything and like the idea of modern Japanese ‘fine dining’. Plus service was good and that’s a definite plus for me.

Nine Fine Food
227 Bulwer Street Highgate
Tel (08) 9227 999
BYO, corkage $3.50 pp

4 more days till Jo, HC and I fly home, but who’s counting? I’ve been cooking up a storm over the past few days and freezing everything. I don’t know why I think R will be starving when I’m not around, he is actually a pretty good cook and was functioning perfectly well before he met me. I think it’s really because I feel sorry for him that he’s alone this Chinese New Year and food is my soothing balm for everything.

I wish it was Friday already …..

Sushi Fuji Station is back!

I can’t remember whether I’ve ever blogged about the dearly departed Sushi Fuji Station. I have fond memories of this little gem in Victoria Park, always popular and buzzing with patrons,we used to snag seats by the sushi bar and watch the chef at work while sipping on a glass of wine, enjoying bowls of yummy udon and soba.

To our surprise, Sushi Fuji Station suddenly closed down for no obvious reason and we could never find such a good, conveniently located Japanese restaurant again.
ramen

But Sushi Fuji Station has returned! Only this time it’s named Buen 151 and has shifted to St James. Not too far away at all. The menu is still the same except for the new addition of ramen. Buen’s ramen is heavy on the pepper and tasty, I liked how they managed to get the half boiled egg right, lots of Perth ramen stalls seem to get that wrong.
nabeyaki
Jo was happy that her favourite nabeyaki udon was still on the menu. This piping hot udon is a good dish to have on a cold winter night :)
sushi
This sushi was quite interesting in the sense that it had fish powder in it. Buen’s sushi may not the best sushi in Perth but it’s always consistent.

soba

My favourite soba is still on the menu! This soba wasn’t cold enough but still as yummy as I remembered it last. I love soba (*__*).

We’ve already been to Buen a few times since we rediscovered it. I think it’s going to be a comfortable favourite again.

Buen 151
26B Chapman Rd Map
St James, WA 6102


chirashi

Our visit to Buen inspired the homemade chirashi dinner that weekend. It’s been a while since I’ve made my tamagoyaki rolls and happily they still taste good! I feel like eating this again …

Sapporo

Sapporo is located along my homebound train line. During my train journeys home, I would look out of the train and stare at the white dilapidated building with the big Sapporo sign and think ‘I wonder what that’s like?’

sapporo3

Turns out it’s like going back to many many years ago. It  reminded me of the tiny smoky diner that we had lunch at in Kyoto. The bad ventilation and oily atmosphere permeates this little shop too. The old Japanese ojisan and obasan man the little shop by themselves, the cute uncle is in charge of the cooking while aunty deals with the customers. She prattled to us happily in Japanese until she noticed our half embarrassed and perplexed expressions, then she laughed and apologised.

sapporo

The food is a little slow, but worth the wait. I’ve never had an agedashi tofu with clear broth before. This broth was very tasty and a little too salty but perfect with rice.

sapporo1

My sisters and I love korokke (croquette) and this one was gorgeous. It was the best korokke I’ve had in Perth , crispy on the outside, yummy and delicately flavoured mashed potato on the inside. I would order this again and again.

sapporo2

Can’t go to a Japanese restaurant without trying the ramen. This was the shoyu ramen. I asked R for comments for the blog, he said two words ‘hao chi’ (meaning yummy!). They also have butter corn ramen on their menu, a Hokkaido specialty apparently, can’t wait to try that.

I loved Sapporo. Yes, the oily atmosphere wasn’t great, the little shop was dilapidated and shabby. But the cute aunty and uncle, the homemade style food was comforting and reminded me of the Japan that I visited in 2010. I really hope to return to wonderful Japan someday, but for the meantime, Sapporo will do (^__^).

Victoria Park
186 Rutland Ave
Carlisle, 6101

pandan

Baking of the week was pandan and coconut milk muffins. Muffins with a Malaysian twist.

beef

Oyster sauce beef noodles.

curry

I used up the last of my mum’s rempah to make this curry. It was so nice and I am now so sad that I don’t have my mum’s rempah anymore. Sigh…. .

Two more days to the weekend …

New ramen find! Kai @ Bullcreek

I’m always interested when I find a Japanese restaurant in Perth that serves ramen and it is almost always a must order for Richard the Ramen King.

I am still hard pressed to find a really good Japanese restaurant in Perth, maybe someday I’ll try the big restaurants like Ha-Lu or Satsuki which I’ve heard good things about, but so far, the places that I keep returning to are the little Japanese restaurants that seat about 20 patrons max e.g. Sushi Fuji Station (I think it has closed down! so sad ), Kanta etc. I like the intimacy and authenticity of these little shops where the cooking is usually a one man show.

ramen

Kai is another such place and my newly discovered Japanese ‘little restaurant’. They don’t take bookings and possibly have around 5 tables in the entire space. Their menu listed the usual favourites, the teriyaki dishes, beef tataki, unagi, agedashi tofu etc. Best of all, Kai serves ramen! And not just plain soy or miso ramen, they serve tonkatsu ramen too, how exciting. For less than $10, this big bowl of tonkatsu ramen was great for Perth standards, the pork broth was flavourful, they made a pretty good attempt at a half boiled egg, there was sliced pork (pity it wasn’t fatty pork but lean pork) pickled ginger and fungus strips in the broth and the ramen was real ramen (we had been fobbed off with instant noodles disguising themselves as ramen in the past). Not bad at all, now I’m going to return to try their miso and soy based ramen.

unagi

Maggie had the unadon which was not bad and not too sweet. I like unagi so much that I usually like most unadons.
fish

I was wondering whether to try the more exciting things on the menu like grilled mackerel or octopus, but couldn’t go past the teriyaki fish set (came with miso soup and rice). When you cook lots of teriyaki dishes yourself, you get really curious how other ppl make their teriyaki sauce. This fish set came with a giant side salad which was nice and refreshing, the fish itself was freshly fried thus making it warm and crispy on the outside, flaky and oily on the inside, yums.I think I still prefer the teriyaki sauce at Kanta’s, but this one was not bad at all.

sushi

The california sushi that we ordered to share wasn’t cut very prettily, but was tasty, the sushi rice was nicely seasoned with a nice not too sticky bouncy texture.

Overall we had a really nice dining experience at Kai and will definitely return to try more ramen and other dishes :).

Kai
Shop 4/110 Parry Avenue, Bull Creek
Bull Creek, 6149


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