I love the concept of a sushi train - no waiting for your food, ability to see exactly what you'll get and bite sized dishes which means more variety. Taking the sushi train concept to the Mediterranean is what MediTrainean in Crows Nest has done. On the conveyor belt are a selection of mezze plates (served cold) for diners to grab on their own. For hot dishes, these are made to order including several from the grill. The blue and white colour scheme helps transport the diners to the Mediterranean.
The first thing I grabbed off the train was the Zucchini parmigiana. It very much reminded me of the eggplant version, with the napoli sauce and gooey cheeses making it a tasty start to the evening.
The Pearl cous cous was a wonderfully light dish and one that tasted great at room temperature. I loved the incorporation of the orange segments, together with the spiced roast pumpkin, apricots and walnuts.
The Smoked salmon went beautifully with the harissa mousse. The pickled vegetables were an interesting accompaniment, but somewhat overpowered the salmon.
The Porcini and provolone arancini had a crispy coating and were delicious, a sign that the highest quality of ingredients must have been used.
The Scallops grilled under a dukkah gratin was my favourite dish of the night. The dukkah gratin was just bursting with flavour and the scallops was beautifully cooked.
The Meatballs were unfortunately a bit of a let down as some of the meatballs ended up being cold whilst the others were piping hot. We had to send it back to be reheated.
We opted for the Baked Ricotta cheesecake for dessert, which was nice but did not have a wow factor.
The small plates are suited to the sushi train concept and I enjoyed the experience. Service was a bit inconsistent, and hopefully will improve as time goes on.
Toshiya is a Japanese fusion restaurant in Cremorne, run by the man Toshiya himself, a chef with over 23 years' experience. I was lucky enough to be invited to try out some of his signature dishes, courtesy of Washoku Lovers.
We started with the Sashimi tacos, which were spectacular. The salmon and kingfish sashimi were incredibly fresh, and the crisp and light taco shell were a joy to eat.
The Soft shell crab had the combination you want in such a dish - meaty flesh with a light batter. The flavours of the chilli mayo and shiso soy dressing was on point and really completed the dish.
Onto the Salmon carpaccio with truffle oil. The salmon was sliced so thinly, it was enveloped in the beautiful sauce and melted in my mouth. I only wished there were more slices.
The Tuna tataki was beautifully seared and the chili garlic oil is a little different to the usual accompaniments but I didn't mind it.
It's hard to go wrong with Grilled scallops with garlic butter. Served in their shells, the butter sauce was well balanced and we mopped up every last drop.
The Poached salmon was beautifully tender with cubes of salmon sashimi wrapped in the middle, which was a nice surprise.
The Volcano rolls are one of the most popular dishes at Toshiya and it's easy to see why. Amongst the pyramid of sushi is tempura fried prawn, giving it a great crunchy texture. The sauce definitely packs a lot of heat but is seriously delicious.
The Pari Pari chicen definitely didn't look like a dish you would normally find in a Japanese restaurant. Encased inside the crunchy spring roll pastry was a piece of tender chicken with cheese, vegetables and tartare sauce. Together with a sweet chili sauce on top, it was super tasty and I enjoyed this novel combination of flavours. It is a rather rich dish so would recommend sharing this one!
For dessert, we sampled the green tea brulee. It had a strong matcha flavour and cracked easily with the tap of the spoon, which is just what you want. The other dessert was the Chocolate spring rolls - dark chocolate and strawberries rapped in a deep fried spring roll pastry. It was sweet but not overly so.
All of the dishes were beautifully plated and well executed. I really enjoyed the fusion aspects of the menu, so it's a great place to go if you are after something a little different from your standard Japanese cuisine.
As a Washoku Lover's member, you can grab an Assorted Dessert Plate for a discounted price.
Hidden in a laneway in Circular Quay is Tapavino, a charming Spanish restaurant. As I stepped in, for a moment, I felt like I was in one of the tapas bars in Barcelona or Madrid. Everything on the menu sounded delicious so it was hard for my friends and I to decide what to eat. The wine list is extensive to say the least so we asked the waitress to help us with our selection.
We started with the Braised chicken, tomato salsa and paprika mayo. The meat was perfectly tender and the sauce was incredibly tasting without overpowering the chicken.
The Blood sausage is served with manuka honey and walnuts. It was again packed with flavour and had the right hits of sweet and salty.
The Braised chorizo was a hearty dish, served with a side of sourdough which came in handy to soak up the wonderfully thick tomato sauce.
Tapavino's menu features an entire section devoted to jamon. We decided to go with the Jamon, mushroom & black truffled tart with shaved manchego. The tart was hidden under a generous pile of beautiful, melt in your mouth jamon. The flavour combination of jamon with truffles and the manchego cheese was incredible. I could have happily devoured the whole dish.
For dessert, we couldn't go past the Chocolate terrine, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. The terrine is very rich and the olive oil and the sea salt flakes complemented the intensity of the chocolate flavour beautifully.
The Dulce de leche tart was accompanied by a generous dollop of cream. A simple dessert flawlessly executed, definitely worth saving room for.
I highly recommend Tapavino if you are a fan of good Spanish food and wine. Servings are generous and the atmosphere is unpretentious and has a definite buzz to it.
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