Sunday, March 28, 2010
Nakashima Japanese restaurant, a small restaurant nestled in a leafy alleyway just across the Argyle steps of the Rocks. I've planned to visit this place a while ago and finally made my way to this authentic Japanese restaurant last weekend. As it was weekend, most of the tables have been reserved, yet they managed to open a small table for the two of us.
If you'd like to get a free complimentary drink for your dinner then just come and place your order between 6.00-7.00pm, you can choose either red wine, hot sake, or any soft drink available. We picked red wine and hot sake for us, the free drink is just one of their great services.
Red wine, hot sake and a glass of water
We ordered beef tataki for $7.9, it's a Japanese style dish where the meat is hot seared and still rare inside, thinly sliced and served with lemon, crushed ginger and soy sauce for the dipping. The meat is tender and tastes fresh so if you love sashimi, then this one is worth a try.
The second pick was wagyu beef, and as I expected the beef is so tender and juicy served with special dipping sauce and salad on the side.
I had been craving for tonkatsu lately so I just couldn't miss this deep fried pork on the menu.
If you like spinach then you should try the spinach salad but make sure you like sesame since this fresh salad has a strong sesame flavor and a hint of peanut dressing.
Monday, March 22, 2010
I have been very busy over the past week, especially on the weekend. A few urgent matters just came up all at once andI almost gave up attending Sydney's Animania Festival last Saturday, yet I made my way to the Australian Technology Park. I came a bit early, 45 minutes before the door opens and lucky that it was only ten meter long queue, but half an hour later the queue was so long.....
There were exciting activities from Game show to the classic favorite Cosplay, but for me it's all about Cosplay. I do love watching people dressing up in fabulous costumes and the quirky ones as well. So not much to say.. here are some of my shots..
Solo Cosplayers on the stage
Some of my favorite shots
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Rakugo in English?
I've never seen any rakugo performance furthermore in English, but now I got a chance to see rakugo in action in English! Here is the invitation I received from the Japan Foundation in Sydney:
English Rakugo returns to Sydney! Rakugo performer Katsura Asakichi has been performing in English since 2000 and will regale Sydney audiences with the Japanese art of 'sit-down' comedy this April.
Rakugo is a traditional form of comic storytelling which dates back more than 300 years. Performers kneel on stage and use limited props such as a fan or hand towel to help tell the story. The only other 'props' used are the performer's skill and the imagination of the audience as the Rakugoka (Rakugo performer) uses facial expressions, change of voice and mannerisms to both narrate the story and become the characters. As the performer switches from one distinct character to another, the audience is treated to a hilarious study of the follies and foibles of everyday life.
If you are Sydneysiders and interested in Japanese culture then don't miss out on this chance to see rakugo in action in English.
Here are the details:
Date : Thursday, 1st April 2010
Time : 6.30pm (for 7:00pm start) - 8:00pm
Venue : Eastern Avenue Auditorium
Eastern Avenue, University of Sydney.
Admission: Fee but bookings essential
RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 02 8239 0055
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Ju Ge Mu and Shimbashi, the twin restaurant located at 246-248 Military Rd, Neutral Bay. They look like two separate shops from outside with two separate entrance next to each other but actually it's one restaurant split into two sections served by same staffs and one cashier counter. The Ju Ge Mu section specializes in teppanyaki menus with okonomiyaki as their signature dish, while Shimbashi focuses on their famous handmade soba yet they give you option with some other dishes on the menu as well.
I have heard about this famous quality restaurant but hadn't got a chance till last weekend when I decided to go for their famous soba. Since I am not so keen on cold noodle I picked the soba served with tofu in warm broth. The soba proves everything people say about their special soba, smooth texture and the chewiness is just perfect. Also tried the beef teriyaki set which comes in a generous portion with some tasty side dishes, slices of fresh sashimi, grilled fish, and some kind spring roll. The good thing is even you sit in Shimbashi section, you still can order from Ju Ge Mu section and vice versa.
Soba with tofu in warm broth
Soy sauce and chili powder set
I'd love to comeback to try their Okonomiyaki from Ju Ge Mu section and the great sake list including my favorite umeshu (plum wine).
It's not a place for you who are looking for an affordable casual dining considering the price.
Monday, March 8, 2010
Hiyashi chuka, this popular summer dish is a kind of cold noodle made from chilled ramen served with colorful toppings. Popular toppings are tamagoyaki (layered grilled egg), ham, carrot, cucumber and ginger.
Restaurants in Japan serve Hiyashi Chuka only in summer, last week just before summer ended in the southern hemisphere, I went to Menya in Chinatown to try their new Hiyashi Chuka.
I rarely eat cold noodle since my favorite is ramen in hot tasty tonkotsu broth but I just love trying something new when it comes to Japanese food. Menya has two options of noodle for their hiyashi chuka, ramen or soba, definitely I chose ramen!
My hiyashi chuka comes with bountiful toppings of veggies like cucumber, tomato, slices of tonkotsu, tamagoyaki and seaweed. I could taste the sesame oil, rice vinegar, and soy sauce on the tare sauce (dipping sauce). Wanna try this cold ramen noodle? You may need to wait till next summer then :)
Friday, March 5, 2010
Another story from my Japan trip, I have a best friend in Japan, he is the first Japanese friend I met and we've been traveling together almost every year over the past 5 years, he is really a great travelling companion. Wait, this post is about coffee not him! Ok, long story short, when we were hanging around and about to take a break, he asked me 'Have you ever tried Blue Mountain Coffee?' Nope, I replied, is that coffee from Australia? He laughed 'no, it has nothing to do with Sydney nor Australia' he said. It's just the most famous coffee in Japan. Then he tried to find that Blue Mountain Coffee and bought me a cuppa. It was a smooth, mild, aromatic, and just the best coffee I've ever tried! He didn't show me the bill so at that time I didn't know how 'much' that coffee costs.
Here are some facts about Blue Mountain Coffee:
- It's a classification of coffee grown in Blue Mountains of Jamaica.
- Best known for their mild flavor and lack of bitterness.
- It's one of the most expensive and sought-after coffees in the world.
- Over 80% of all Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is exported to Japan.
- The flavor based of Tia Maria coffee liqueur.
I've been trying to find this coffee in Australia, but no luck so far. It was a surprise when I found a Blue Mountain Coffee bread on the shelf of Bread Top bakery in the city. It's not my favorite bakery in town but I do love their Japanese white bread and Hokkaido cheesecake, the best cheesecake in town. So here it is the Blue mountain coffee bread from Bread Top bakery in Sydney:
Not sure whether they really use the Blue Mountain Coffee for this bread but it does taste nice with coffee cream filling and a hint of chocolate, enough to bring back my memory about 'the best coffee in Japan' even it's just a name they use to describe how special that Blue Mountain Coffee is.
Monday, March 1, 2010
Actually it's not 'Sushi' ice cream, but 'Sooshi' ice cream from New Zealand Natural Ice cream. I knew this kind of 'sushi' since last year but I always said 'I'll try them next time..' every time I passed by their stall in the city. Eventually last weekend I gave them a shot, the six tiny ice cream served in small black container for $5.70.
The ice cream itself tastes good, the smooth texture and cool sensation with fruity taste melt on your tongue but there was a little disappointment, their shape were not as good as the picture. I was thinking if it was a product of Japan, they would make it looks like a perfect sushi. The Japanese art of dressing up the food is really adorable, a feast for our eyes yet a feast for our tastebuds.