Osaka Bar, Potts Point
I have great memories of eating my way through the Japanese city of Osaka a few years back so was eager to dine at Osaka Bar, which is headed up by Chef Kazu, ex-head chef of Masuya. It is nestled on Llankelly Avenue in Potts Point, one of the new dining hubs in the city with indoor and outdoor seating. The menu is a mixture of Osaka specialties, other traditional Japanese dishes and more Western/ fusion offerings.
But first, drinks! Seeing all the sake bottles lined up in the restaurant, my bf and I decided some sake is in order. Not knowing too much about the many variants of sake, we left it up to the restaurant to select one for us to try. We were invited to pick our own sake cup which was a nice touch.
We started with the takoyaki balls, an Osaka street food specialty. The balls were plump with a gooey centre and I loved the fact I could see actal chunky pieces of octopus inside.
The Popcorn prawns were a great snack, crispy on the outside and was accompanied with two tasty sauces: a garlic mayo and a spicy tomato sauce.
Okonomiyaki is another specialty originating from Osaka so we were definitely eager to try it. We opted for the pork filling and mixed with the cabbage and egg, was utterly delicious. It came wrapped with prosctuitto which was a bonus.
The confit duck is Chef Kazu's signature dish and it's easy to see why. The slices of duck were cooked at 65 degrees, resulting in melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness. The miso and honey mustard melded with the blueberry sauce was a genius combination. The flavours worked really well together and this was one of our favourite dishes of the night.
Next was the Slow cooked beef tendon which had a lovely gelatinous texture. The flavour of the sweet miso broth was spot on and we could easily ate another couple of skewers.
The grilled wagyu was the chef's recommendation and again, he was right on the money. The wagyu rump, cooked medium rare was super succulent and it came with a delicious peppery steak sauce and creamy cod roe mashed potato.
Since it was a rather cold night, we ordered the Osaka-style oden, a Japanese style hot pot. It's a very homely dish with a soy and mirin based broth, containing fish cake, Konnyaku (yam cake), hard boiled egg and our favourite beef tendon.
If you love deep fried food, then this is the right place to visit as it serves a wide selection of Kushi Katsu skewers - which literally translates to deep fried skewers. Even better if you a member of Washoku Lovers (a promoter of authentic Japanese restaurants), as they offer you two complimentary skewers when you dine. We opted for the salmon belly and the eggplant varieties. The coating of bread crumbs results in them being super crunchy.
I love the tapas style menu which is perfect for sharing. The food is great value for money and it's great to see a restaurant showcasing the food of Osaka.
Sashimiso dined as a guest of Osaka Bar. All opinions are my own.
Toriciya is a restaurant I have been recommended to try by multiple friends and it most certainly did not disappoint. The restaurant was located in an unassuming, suburban street in Cammeray but once inside, it felt like we had dropped into an izakaya bar in bustling Tokyo. The narrow dining room had a certain warmth to it and I loved how the walls were adorned with different designs of sake bottles and cups.
We started with the Tasmanian sea urchin which is not something you can find in too many restaurants in Sydney. I love its creamy texture and served with the sea salt flakes, really brought out the fresh taste of the sea urchin.
The sashimi was incredibly fresh and the knifework was precise, and I loved the striking presentation.
The Wagyu beef tataki was amazingly tender, and the dressing had a nice zing to it, really waking up our tastebuds. The generous discs of truffles on the dish didn't hurt either!
The photo of the Savoy Cabbage doesn't do this dish justice. Whilst it looks like an ordinary plate of vegies, it was an amazingly complex dish and the aroma of the truffles was intoxicating. Heaped with saffron, the cabbage was soft but still had some crunch and the citrusy soy dressing was to die for.
The Wagyu beef steak was wonderfully tender and the miso paste was a nice accompaniment to the dish.
Yakitori skewers is one of their specialties and we opted for the Pork belly variety. Freshly grilled with a slightly charred flavour, the pork belly had just the right amount of fat and was very succulent.
The Saikyo miso Gem fish fillet was on the specials menu and it was sublime. It reminded me of the famed miso cod dish, with its melt in the mouth flaky flesh and filled with miso flavour.
For dessert, we tried the Green tea creme brulee with roasted green tea ice cream. I love this variant to the standard green ice cream, but with a more toasty flavour. The green tea brulee had a nice crisp topping and a rich flavour, a good way to end a truly delicious meal.
I read that Toriciya has been opened for 24 years, can't believe it took me so long to try it out! The food was exceptional throughout and service was friendly and attentive. I will definitely be back to experience the rest of the menu.
Lan Yuan, Ryde
Lan Yuan is a newly opened Cantonese restaurant located in Top Ryde Shopping Centre. The design of the interior is lush and green, with lots of bamboo plants helping diners escape from the fact they are dining in a shopping complex. A plate of complimentary prawn crackers soon arrived on our table, which is always a good start to a meal!
We got the Snake bean and minced pork. With the garlic and oyster sauce, it's a very tasty, home style cooking dish.
The Crab meat and corn soup was thick and delicious, perfect for a cold winter's night. \
The Shandong Chicken was the highlight of the night. The crispy skinned chicken is juicy and tender, served with a soy, black vinegar, chilli and garlic dressing.
Lan Yuan does not have the feel of a typical Cantonese restaurant. It's a bit more relaxed and a bit less boisterous. Service is attentive and the servings are ginormous. It's a great addition to this part of town.
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