Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Jazushi, Surry Hills, NSW

I have realised that one of my favourite types of cuisines is Japanese. From all the places I have eaten in Sydney and Brisbane so far, Japanese food seems to, in general, stick to my memory and impress me the most. One great example, is Jazushi.

Based in Surry Hills, Jazushi is not your average Japanese restaurant. The owners have cleverly combined Japanese fusion cuisine with live jazz entertainment (nightly!), to create a fun, yet elegant dining experience for its customers.

Unfortunately it was a bit dim inside (great ambience for if you're on a date! haha) so I was unable to take some photos of the restaurant's interior and the jazz band's performance, but I assure you it was pretty fantastic!

My friend and I were due for a catch up and I chose Jazushi for our rendezvous as a foodie friend of mine told me good things about this place. Upon arriving and taking a look at the menu, we were so spoilt for choices we couldn't decide what to order! At last, we settled on the set menu ($55) in order to try a bit of everything. This turned out to be the perfect choice, as everything we ate was so delicious!

To start, we were served with one of my favourite foods - sashimi! In this case it was a salmon and kingfish carpaccio. On the plate sat eight pieces of fresh, thinly slice kingfish and salmon, alternated and topped with rocket and micro herbs. It was finished with a tangy dressing and sprinkled with lightly salted capers. 
Salmon and Kingfish Carpaccio

Next came another cold dish - green tea noodle salad, tossed with onion, tomato, some crunchy tempura bits and some seaweed. This was so light, so refreshing and so tasty! The green tea soba was cooked al dente and the salad dressing was slightly tangy with a bit of kick. Look at those beautiful colours! It was almost too pretty to eat!
Green Tea Noodle Salad

Our salad was soon followed by some more fish - silver cod with saikyo sauce. I love a piece of nicely cooked cod! The saikyo sauce was made from a type of slightly sweet miso which gave a nice balance to the savoury taste of the cod. I loved how they included some lemon beneath the cod, so you could squeeze some juice from it and make a lovely sweet and tangy sauce to eat with the fish.
Silver Cod with Saikyo Sauce

A Japanese meal wouldn't go without some fresh, delicious sushi and that's exactly what we got! We received three pieces of sushi each, consisting of salmon, kingfish and tuna nigiri. The fish was very fresh! Three pieces per person was certainly not enough :-(
Mixed Sushi

I always love a nicely cooked tempura dish, and what arrived next was definitely one of my favourite tempura dishes I have ever had (and most creative too!). Camembert Tempura. Yep, that's right, battered, fried pieces of cheese. Sounds different? That's because it was! This is one of Jazushi's signature dishes and my gawd was it amazing! It was deep fried til cripsy, golden on the outside and on the inside revealed a soft, flowing piece of tasty camembert. The dipping sauce tasted abit like aioli and was soo good!
Camembert Tempura

By now were were starting to fill up, but that was just the entrees! Next came our first main - JFC (Jazushi Fried Chicken). This was Jazushi's style of fried chicken, which was garnished with yuzu citrus sauce and on a bed of home made tartare sauce. The chicken was full of flavour, with a slightly crispy skin. Delicious!

Our next main was a pork belly dish in kakuni (Japanese for braised) style. Many of my followers on Foodspotting will know I've had my fair share of pork belly from various places, but I'm not usually a fan of fatty things...But that's because when pork belly is cooked well, it doesn't taste heavy, and fatty at all. Instead, the meat is infused with the sauces with only thin layers of fat in between the meat. Our pork belly literally melted in our mouth when we bit into it! So tender, so heavenly. It didn't feel heavy or fatty at all.
Kakuni Pork Belly

We were soo full at this stage, but more food came out! It was wagyu beef, which was also our last main. I was so full that I almost passed on this! But soon as my friend took a bite she said "oh goodness, this is so good!", I had to try it. OMGGIMMENOW! This wagyu was cooked in a sweet teri sauce ad it was one of the nicer pieces of wagyu I have had in Sydney so far! It wasn't even about the price either. It was just so tender and full of flavour. This was simply a well cooked dish and the sauce just tied it all together so nicely.
Wagyu Beef with Sweet Teri Sauce

We were finally onto desserts! My stomach was about to explode, but I will always have room to fit in dessert :-) haha! We had a dessert share plate which consisted of creme brulee, vanilla bean ice cream rolled in cereal and a chocolate brownie. My favourite was the creme brulee as it was not too sweet and I loved the crispy sugar coating (which I have yet to perfect when making this at home!)
Dessert Share Plate

We loved our dining experience at Jazushi! The food was delicious, the wait staff were friendly, and the atmosphere was just lovely! Swing by and try it out if you ever get a chance! I will certainly be back!

Jazushi on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 18, 2011

Restaurant Atelier, Glebe, NSW

This was one of the earlier restaurants I visited for degustation during my time in Sydney, and unfortunately that's when things started going downhill (for my wallet! But uphill in terms of the start of a great culinary experience :) ) A friend of mine originally brought me to Restaurant Atelier as the food was great, and they also had a mid week special where you could get a three course dinner for $68. That was what we had set out for, but soon as we arrived and I took a glimpse of the menu, our attention immediately turned to the degustation option, which offered a seven course degustation, for only $85. In hindsight, I definitely would have chosen the degustation option, as the quality of the food was simply amazing. 

We started off with some house made sour dough. One of my favourite things about a restaurant is their freshly made bread rolls! The sour dough was still warm when it arrived, with a crispy crust and pillow soft inside. The vinaigrette and tapenade were as usual, but what stood out for me was the French butter! It was so flavoursome and melted right away when spread on the bread. If you haven't tried this stuff, then you must! 
Warm sour dough with vinaigrette, tapenade, French butter.

Our first dish arrived shortly after. We were in for a surprise as we left the decision of dishes to the chef for the entire degustation. We were served with pearl meat, presented beautifully on a clam shell. The pearl meat had a similar texture to scallops, but had a meatier flavour and firmer texture. This was pan seared it, then topped with black sesame and asparagus. On the side was yuzu gel, which the waitress recommended us to eat the pearl meat with some yuzu gel. The natural sweetness of the pearl meat really blew me away. 
Pan seared pearl meat, asparagus, yuzu

Next came our second entree, which was a kingfish ceviche. I have noticed many restaurants using kingfish in their menus, and I must say, this was one of the more creative ways I have seen kingfish being prepared so far. The kingfish ceviche was filled with heirloom tomatoes and topped with a tomato sorbet, which also contained ox heart to give the sorbet a nice pink colour. I wasn't put off by the ox heart, as I could really only taste the tanginess from the tomatoes. The dish was surrounded by dots of basil gel and barrel aged feta. I loved all the textures, tastes and temperatures of this dish and had a great time devouring it all :) 
Kingfish Ceviche, Salad of Heirloom Tomatoes, Basil Gel, Greek Feta & a Tomato Sorbet

For some reason, I really felt like indulging, so when the waitress told us they were offering white truffles  (with a supplement charge, of course) on their dishes that  night, I bit the bullet and gave in to temptation. Boy was I glad I did. What could be better than having white truffle on one of my favourite seafood - scallops! This dish was so tasty! The shiitake mushrooms with Thai basil was so fragrant, and the duck consommé just gave a real flavour punch. This was all topped off with only one beautifully seared, tender scallop, which is the only negative thing I have to say about this dish. 
Burgendy Truffle fromet. Duck Consomme, Shiitake Mushrooms, Seared Scallops, Thai Basil

I was really glad with our surprise degustation menu this time, because next came another favourite of mine - john  dory. It was a poached fillet of John dory drizzled with sauce bernaise on top, pieces of salsify and a tempura shiso leaf. I was amazed by the chef's tempura technique to make a shiso leaf that was battered and deep fried so well! The technique which he used allowed the delicate leaf to retain it's shape yet produce a crunchy, non oily tempura shiso. The king brown mushroom sprinkled with dried fennel pollen from California was beautifully seasoned and also a treat.
Poached Fillets of John Dory, Roasted Salsify, White Onion Soubise, King Brown Mushroom, Bernaiuse Sauce

We were approaching the end of our mains, and I was really excited to see what the chef had in store for us as this would be my second truffle dish. We were served roasted duck with a crisp duck leg confit. Other accompaniments included drole mushrooms potato gnocchi and duck hearts, finished off with a carrot purée and Xeres jus. The duck was slightly undercooked to keep the meat tender which was good. I wasn't too sure about the duck hearts as I'm not a fan of animal innards. Luckily I had the truffle to go with it!
Honey-Roasted Grimauld Duckling Breast, Crisp Confit, Baby Turnips, Confit Carrot Puree, Xeres Jus

Time for desserts! Judging by the quality of our entrees and mains, our desserts were going to be nothing less than  divine. And we were right! Our first dessert was a chocolate based dessert - olive oil chocolate delice, sprinkled with vanilla salt. The waitress explained that the dessert is made in the same way as mayonnaise, hence the texture but with the richness and lightness, making it very fluffy but rich. The sorbet was made from sheep's milk yoghurt, with a chocolate jelly on the side, a freshly baked tuile and finished off with sherry caramel. We had sweet, sour, savoury tastes in our dessert all at once which was amazing!
Chocolate delice, sorbet, tuile

Last, but certainly not least, was a beautifully baked Mandarin & Chocolate Souffle. Inside contained fresh mandarin and a dark chocolate ganache which reminded me of Jaffa balls! I really liked how everything was not too sweet.
 Mandarin & Chocolate Souffle with Mandarin Sorbet, Bitter Orange Milkshake

We had a fabulous dining experience at Restaurant Atelier! The waitress was so knowledgeable and provided great service. The food was amazing and I would definitely recommend this to anyone visiting Sydney! Restaurant Atelier had high quality food, and lucky for us, didn't have a high price tag to match! I am looking forward to returning to this place once they have rotated their menu!

Restaurant Atelier on Urbanspoon