Nuffnang Ads

Showing posts with label Japanese Food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Japanese Food. Show all posts

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Bites: Is this the best Japanese in Perth? @ Nobu, Burswood.

Nobu is a top tier Japanese restaurant with an International presence. Since making its mark in Perth some 5 years ago, Nobu has gone from strength to strength and even took out the title of best Japanese fine dining on some blogs.  But for some reason, I was never quite curious enough to step into Nobu, until today.  Nobu’s menu is a  cross between Peruvian and Japanese but is it a winner against my preferred French and Japanese fusion?  Lets check it out.

New Style Sashimi, Kingfish with Jalapeño.

This is one of Nobu’s most popular dish, but I was not convinced that the freshness and touch of citrus burst in the soy was enough to justify its popularity.


This dish on the other hand was wow!  Start with the thick slices of perfectly seared salmon, wrap the fried leeks in the salmon before dipping it in the complex sauce of yuzu, miso and hot mustard.  Its a real act of balancing here. So many things happening in one bite.  The citrusy beginning followed by a nice salty-almost sweet miso and to end it all was a hint of heat from the mustard!  Complex flavours working in harmony with one another.

Popcorn Prawn with Spicy Mayonnaise

Another Instagram favourite, the popcorn prawn.  Unless you have a prawn allergy, there is very little to dislike about crispy battered prawns.  Crunchy, salty and juicy in each bite, it is a crowd pleaser on its own. Unfortunately these did not pack the crunch I wanted.  Then comes the spicy mayonnaise.  I have had plenty of spicy mayonnaise but I was not satisfied by the spicy mayonnaise in Nobu. It tasted flat and perhaps a little boring.  Perhaps they could bump it up with more Sriracha?  Or maybe I am just too used to having Spicy Mayo made from Sriracha and Mayo!

Black Cod Miso

I talked about favourites at Nobu earlier but if Nobu is famous for something, it has to be its Black Cod Miso.  Presentation was everything I had expected to see and the flakiness of the cod was perfect.  There is something therapeutic about layers of fish flaking off one layer at a time.  It is like enjoying the marbling of a fine Wagyu!  Flavour wise the caramelised miso was nutty, sweet and salty all at the same time! Another high point!  Was it deserving of the hype? It sure was. If only the skin had more appeal hmmm.

Chicken Anticucho

The Yakitori is to the Japanese what the Anticucho would be for the Peruvians (according to google).  Yay/Nay/Ok? At best, it was only going to qualify for an OK.  The Anticucho was unfortunately drier than expected and it not for the punchy sauce, it would have been a write-off.  I guess after going to the Michelin Star Tori Shin in NYC, very few chicken skewers  are able to satisfy me with the exception of a finely executed Chicken Satay :P!

Pork Belly Spicy Miso Caramel

With my favourite Buta No Kakuni not on the list, I thought I would give the Miso Caramel Pork Belly a try.  Bad choice.

Fillet Mignon with Truffle Teriyaki Sauce.

The last savoury dish of the night was the Fillet Mignon with a Truffle Teriyaki Sauce.  Was it simply Beef Teriyaki with a fancy price tag?  Fortunately not! The advantage about using a quality meat like the fillet mignon is that it packs a good beefy flavour without the fat. The Teriyaki sauce was OK, but I was hoping for a more impactful truffle taste in the Teriyaki.  The addition of Truffle from Nobu would struggle to compete with the flavours I get from the drizzling of a quality truffle oil on regular steak.  Sad but true.  Another bummer was that we ordered medium only to be served medium-well! Bummer much?  =/!

Last but not least was dessert to share.  Pictured below is the Miso Cappuccino (we also ordered another Nobu Dessert Bento!)

Talk about Miso overkill!  This was the 4th dish with Miso and while I disagreed with  the order at first, I was actually glad my sister got it.  The Miso Cappuccino was delicious!  Frothy, at the top with a hint of miso.  It was not plain miso in your face but rather layers of frothed milk, miso, chocolate creme and I think some biscuit crumbs? Also, that shine on the froth with that perfectly positioned Nobu badge!  Absolute precision!  Enjoyable in every bite.

The bill was $300 for the night (without drinks) and was not as expensive as I thought it would be.  So yay or nay?  I am giving Nobu a yay but it barely got there!  My expectation for the  night was a 9, but it ultimately delivered a respectable 7.   So where did it go wrong?  Well lets start with what it did well.  The seared salmon with a complex taste composition was definitely a winner along with Nobu’s signature Black Cod Miso.  I also quite liked the Mignon with Truffle Teriyaki but was let down by the lack of truffle flavours.  Oooh did I mention the really delicious Miso Cappuccino too?  Then comes the let downs which were the Pork belly, and the Chicken Anticucho.  Sashimi King Fish and Popcorn Prawns  which are popular among Nobu’s diners lacked a punch!  Sister reckons we should give them another try perhaps for lunch as they are usually less busy and the food is much better! Perhaps I will one of these days. For now I will stick to French Japanese combinations.

Nobu Perth Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Bites: Sensational Izakaya @ Ichirin, Leeming.

It is another beautiful day for dining out in sunny Perth.  It was my sister’s birthday and her Japanese cravings kicked in.  After scouting around she decided on eating at Ichirin, a small suburban Izakaya in the southern suburb of Leeming.  

It is not my first time here and I know that Ichirin serves pretty decent food for good value.  Whether its a crunchy Karaage or Fresh Sashimi you crave for, Ichirin has it all.  Do note though that if you are coming in for their Omakase Menu aka “Trust the Chef”, that you book at least 2 nights in advance.  As we did not make it for the Omakase, dinner was going to be a simple Izakaya meal.  To start was some skilfully plated sashimi before going to a favourite of mine, the Agedashi Tofu.  Simply crisp on the outside and sitting in a bath of soy, radish and finely grated ginger.  Lean and tasty.

Then we go on to Ichirin’s Sashimi Carpaccio. Consisting of thinly sliced fish cook, this dish was almost like a Ceviche in the sense that the salmon that came out look slightly cooked by the Citrus Yuzu and Miso mixture.  Refreshing in every bite, one simply could not stop with one bite.  Then we stopped having the raw stuff as my dad calls it and move on to the more conventional warm dishes.  The usual suspects made their appearance such as the Chicken Karaage and Gyoza.

As simple as it seems, Ichirin’s execution of these classics were people-proof favourites.  Both juicy and moist on the inside, it was hard to fault.  But if I had to pick the winner, it would be the Gyoza as it skin was cooked spot on and the mince on the inside was sensationally seasoned.  The Karaage on the other hand, despite packing a load of crunch lacked an essential bite of ginger.  Still it was very good.

But my seafood odyssea has not ended yet.  This time with a sensational plate of octopus.  At this point we did not expect the meal to get better only to be surprised by a melt in your mouth octopus.  I looked on Ichirin’s website but could not find the name.

Not to be forgotten is the superb Teriyaki Beef Fillet.  The marriage between a balanced Teriyaki sauce and a tender beef makes for heaven in mouth when paired with fluffy steamed rice.  This was no different. 

After finishing the night with some Matcha Ice Cream topped with Azuki (red beans), we were on our way home from Ichirin.  A count of how many dishes we had, I had actually ordered about 9-10 dishes for the table with the crispy squid and tempura prawns not shown above.  Was it too much?  Definitely not as the Izakaya dining style consist of small plate in a social environment so you get more variety throughout the meal. The bill price at Ichirin? A very fair  $170 with two bowls of ice cream and rice for a group of 4.

Ichirin Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Bites: Double Tonkotsu = Double Goodness? @ Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya, Perth.

When I was told that Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya sat in the spot of what used to be Shiro Izakaya, I was shocked as I felt that Shiro had really punched above its weight when it came to food quality.  It even brought the Ramen Burger to Perth!! Needless to say its time has passed and the start of an interesting ramen place excites me equally. This latest Japan import is a new contender in the local ramen scene.  Playing its authenticity card in a premium location, does Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya deliver?

First, the ordering process. Super simple with the modern touchscreen system replicating the ticketing booth’s of Japan.  A high degree of customisability and toppings makes eating at Kizuki Ramen a bliss even for the fussiest of eaters.  That day I tried Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya’s pride and joy, the famous Tonkotsu Ramen.  To do that, I ordered the Double Tonkotsu.
My noodles were cooked “normal” with the broth's sodium level “normal”.  Do two “normals” make one right?  For starters I loved the kick the broth served up.  That amazing thick porky broth was superbly hearty and tasty from the many hours.  Kizuki’s Double Tonkotsu also comes with heaps of garlic so you can actually see it floating amongst the lard on the soup which gives it a fragrance that cuts through the meatiness.  Chashu was tender and melted in my mouth immediately.  Surprising considering the thickness of it!  Noodles carried the right amount of bite.  Enjoyable!  The egg was faultless though I think if they had cut it, the food would look better.  I knew I would mess it up if I tried to cut it so I did not even bother.

A really quick hit and run lunch that cost me $18.  Was it worth the buck?  But before we go there, lets just set the ground the Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya served some amazing ramen.  I have heard previous feedbacks saying its too salty etc, but salt is a matter of preference.  In fact, most restaurants in Chinatown load up on sodium too so for me this was comparable.  The Tonkotsu broth at Kizuki Ramen had a really nice garlicky punch that I enjoyed and its richness was well-toned to my palate.  If you are looking for Tonkotsu, this might be it! Price point though is definitely on the higher side of things.  Back when Dosukoi was open, it set the price point for ramen at $10.  It was one of the cheapest ramen in town while the Nao Ramen establishment sat on a “pricey” $13.  With new places charging $15-18 a bowl, I suspect die-hard fans will go all out to try the latest in town.  But can these new ramen joints beat the classics for longevity?  Only time will tell.  I know for me that the Tonkatsu alone is worth a return to Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya.  In fact, this has got to be the best new ramen in town.

Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Bites: A Bowl of Miso Goodness @ Ramen Samurai, Victoria Park

There is something strangely pleasing about Ramen. Perhaps its the way the full flavoured broth bring warmth or how, the thick wavy noodles are simply made for slurping!  And who is going to forget the melt in your mouth chashu and the seasoned egg with a runny centre.  With ramen shops coming up all around town, the competition is no longer a 3 way battle between the popular Nao Ramen, Dosukoi Ramen and Arigataya Ramen.  With Ramen Lab, Oishi Ramen and now Ramen Samurai in the equation, things are a little different.  Two weeks ago I headed to Ramen Samurai  in Victoria Park during their soft opening.  Unlike most Ramen places, Ramen Samurai is not housed in a small dingy hole in a wall kind of shop.  Instead, it has a generous eating space with chefs keen to prep up a meal!

I had a  choice 4 Ramen broths during Ramen Samurai's soft opening.  They were the Miso, Spicy Miso, Kimchi and Curry Ramen.  After having a good meal of Tonkatsu at Ramen Lab just days earlier, I decided to go for the Miso Ramen, $15.  

The assemble from the top is rather typical with the addition of corn kernels which are not my favourite.  In saying that, they could have been cheeky and leave it out.  I think Nao Ramen charges $1.50 for corn!  Ramen Samurai’s handmade noodles are wavy and has a nice bite to it.  The soup is super rich with a very prominent miso flavour in it.  For those who do not take Miso too often, it might actually be a little overpowering and a tad gritty too.  Still a good bowl of broth.  The Chashu at Ramen Samurai was lovely!  In fact, I think it deserves 1 point better as the skin had a more melt in your mouth touch, though not the best I had.

When in Rome do as the Romans do.  So when eating Ramen, eat Gyoza too!

This was very typical Gyoza.  I mean what was I expecting right?  Ramen Samurai’s Gyoza is nicely charred on one side with the top kept perfectly white and slightly translucent.  While it taste good, I wanted a bit more filling in them as the Gyozas felt a little “skinny”.  So to me it did not deliver that burst of porky goodness in one bite that I like!

In evaluating the enjoyment I had, the Miso Ramen’s broth delivered the kick I wanted.  Its strong Miso flavour was slightly nutty but sweet at the same time.  The sodium level was just right and it was nice!   The egg was runny, but felt a little lacking?  Maybe Soy?  The egg did not have that balance between the Soy and Mirin.   My meal at Ramen Samurai was nothing short of satisfactory.  But was it a whole new level of ramen goodness?  Perhaps this deserves a revisit! Delivering final judgement during Ramen Samurai’s soft opening would be too harsh.

See my other ramen post below :)!

Ramen Samurai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Bites: the Classic Hakata Ramen @ Ramen Lab, Mount Lawley

When something new opens in Perth, there is very little secret behind it in this small city.  When Ramen Lab opened its doors to the public a couple of weeks ago, I knew I had to get in.  After all, there is plenty of space for more ramen in Perth.

Coming in hungry beyond words can describe, it was safe to say I ordered my heart out.  To start, a single serve of their Bao filled with cabbage slaw, and pork belly with a drizzle of spicy Aioli.

Clearly, each of these little buns were made with love.   The bao itself was light and fully. The starts though were its top notch fillings and spicy Aioli tasted a lot better than what I remember Sriracha Mayo tasted!  I particularly enjoyed the thinly sliced pork belly that had a slight charred smokiness to it. Did not looked smoked or anything though! 


Octopus balls topped with a Worcestershire based concoction, spicy Aioli, Bonito flakes, and Nori.  First thing that comes to mind when I ordered these is that it must have came right out of the bag! So there was little to dislike.  For sure it could have been a little bit more delicate but what do you expect right?  Very few people make their own these days.  Overall, these were pretty nice since I really enjoyed their spicy Aioli!

My pick of the Ramen bunch was Ramen Lab’s Classic Hakata.  This style of ramen is my all time favourite where an honest broth is given the punch of black garlic oil! This was no different as the bowl looked super inviting.

Looking at the noodles used for the Tonkotsu, you can immediately tell that the guys at Ramen Lab had done their homework because they paired their rich Tonkotsu broth with thin noodles instead of using the typical wavy noodle!  That’s like rule no.1 in the Ramen Book.  Then comes the other elements which were all very nicely done.  The egg was a class act, along with the spring onion and fungus.   Then comes the lovely pork belly which was tasted similar to the one in the Bao which isn't a bad thing considering how good it was!   While the Classic Hakata was good, I felt that there were areas where Ramen Lab could definitely improve!  First things first, the Menma or Bamboo Shoots needed a little more marinate because it still had a very strong flavour to it.  Secondly, the black garlic oil.  I love my garlic and the black garlic oil was way too little!  Lastly the soup by itself was lovely but with the noodles I think it could do with a little more salt.  The flavour was good but something felt lacking towards the end.

As noodles in soup continue to dominate the eating scene in Perth along with the craze for American BBQ and Fried Chicken, it must be wary.  Because if logic has it that a good bowl of ramen is like a trip to Heaven, then the converse must also true that a terrible bowl of ramen is a one way ticket to Hell.   Thankfully, Ramen Lab delivered better than expected because the lacklustre reviews prior to me coming were a tad concerning.  Sure there could be improvements but there was little to dislike.  Over all, it still was a solid delivery.  Oh yes, and I eat A LOT.  I would have definitely needed an extra serve of noodles if not for the sides I ordered.   A free serve of extra noodles would be good considering a bowl here starts at $15!  Would also note that the staff at Ramen Lab were extremely courteous as they made sure I got the best from the piping bowl of noodles by telling me to mix it properly and to not eat the strong flavoured Takoyaki and Ramen at the same time!

Check out my other Ramen posts:


Ramen Lab Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Bites: A Heart Bowl of Ramen @ Oceans Ramen and Donburi Bar, Northbridge

My stay in Perth was probably my last Winter experience this winter and no way was I going to go without having a bowl delicious ramen.  For this, I headed to Oceans Ramen on Roe Street in Northbridge.  From being a popular take-away in Fremantle to a humble lunch bar underneath my old office Hatch, Oceans have gone form strength to strength before finally occupying the old site of Arigataya Ramen as Oceans Ramen!

The reviews of Oceans Ramen has been less than impressive but I was still keener than ever to try!    Two ramen made their appearance that day.  The first being the Original Ramen with a Shoyu or Soy base.  Sadly, this does not come with a soy egg.  So without even hesitating, the Onsen Egg was added. 

Flavour wise it was pretty damn good.  It was not as salty as the ones you get from Nao or Dosukoi Ramen but still rich in that mild sweetness of the soy. Or maybe there was mirin? lol.  Still I only tried a bit and so my comments are hardly valid. 

Kogashi Ninniku Ramen was my pick for lunch.

Tempted by that uber black topping, I ordered the Kogashi Ninniku Ramen also known as the burned garlic ramen.  While I am more familiar with grounded black garlic, I was open to having this Kogashi style ramen.  This type of ramen is typically finished with a lard flambé.  Not this time thought.  Otherwise the smoke detector would have rung!!! It was just simple ramen topped with black garlic oil.  Even then, it had the most fragrant flavours just sipping from the heart bowl of soup. Char Shu was amazingly tender and was of a similar standards to Dosukoi/Nao.  But what I liked even more at Oceans Ramen was that they serve raw minced garlic on every table.  I added a scoop and it was a massive flavour bomb that could kill every Vampire!  But why garlic I wondered?  So I googled and ended up watching a video online and apparently its quite a norm in Tokyo to have garlic on standby especially at the Ramen stands in the markets!  No explanations but perhaps it helps add flavour and reduce the porky-ness?  Thats only my two cents though!

I have probably said this a hundred times now but seriously, what is better than slurping ramen on a cool Monday afternoon?  While I was not blown off my socks or whatsoever, Oceans Ramen was an enjoyable experience for me.  The noodles were wavy, chewy with a nice bite that held the delicious broth nicely.  I also absolutely enjoyed the addition of the black garlic oil that brings back memories of the Hakata style ramen topped with black garlic oil which I enjoyed heaps.  Over all, nice!

Check out my other Ramen posts:

Oceans Ramen and Donburi Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, December 25, 2015

Bites NLD: Traditional Kaiseki @ Yamazato, Hotel Okura

Once again I was on the prowl for a great feast.  This time around, a trip to the capital,  Amsterdam.  Located on the outskirts of Amsterdam city centre is the Okura Hotel, a hotel that houses not one, or two but three different Michelin starred restaurants.  Tonight’s dinner was at the 1 star Japanese sensation, Yamazato. Nothing here gives Yamazato away as a 1 Michelin starred restaurant.  The entrance carries a similar vibe to that of a typical  upscale Japanese restaurant and the etiquette of the serve staff is unsuspecting as it is in the nature of Japanese people to be impeccably polite.  But when the food came progressively, things started becoming serious.

The Omakase started with a trio of appetisers called the “Tsukidashi”

Chopped up little pieces of water cress, amber jack flesh and roe in a tea consommé.   Very light on the palate but full in flavours.  I like how each individual element had a sense of individualism as their taste was apparent and not masked by seasoning.

A small serve of sushi from the counter in Yamazato.   The original Kaiseki menu serves a Mackerel and Anago sushi. 

For me, I got the salmon and prawn because I wanted to stay away from the fishy offerings!  

Both were amazing.  The rice was at the right temperature and the grain stay whole.  Picking it up, the rice held its weight and in the mouth it crumbled without much effort.  It carried a nice bite and more importantly, the rice seasoning was good.  However, a sushi is only as good as its toppings and Yamazato gave the glorious rice the treatment it deserved.

Slow braised daikon with mince and orange peel.

This was another sensational course served at Yamazato.  I could not fault with anything.  There was no bitterness in the daikon and the mince was super moist.  Above all, every bite carried a citrus note that really gave a sense of warmth and fruitiness.  Lovely.’’

After the trio of appetisers, we were served the Robin Mushi - Clear fish Soup in a Dobin Tea Pot

To ready us for our next course, we were served a fish soup that looked everything except basic.  The prawns was cooked just right, the shrooms plump and the pork mellow.  You can choose the squeeze lime juice into the soup but I thought it tasted best the way it is! A very refreshing course that cleanses the palate.

The Tsukuri, a sashimi course of brill, tuna, salmon and yellow tail.

Plate 1

Plate 2

Fresh fish! While it was every bit fresh, I was let down by the composition.  There was nothing wrong with what they served in terms of quality but it lacked dimension.  Give me some fish, some crustacean and perhaps an urchin too.  I was looking for different texture, and flavours if you get what I mean.  Perhaps, start off with a white fish, then some fatty tuna, a slice of smokey aburi salmon before sipping tea and enjoying the sweet crystal prawn and to finish, a briny sea urchin.  This is what I my expect from a great sashimi experience.

Orange Gratin -  Oysters with White Miso sauce

When I read the menu, I had in mind something that looked totally different.  Perhaps something baked and served on a shell.


Nevertheless, the flavours were what I expected but a lot creamier and decadent.  The way the fragrance of the white miso and orange complemented the dish was also another highlight.  That sweet miso bean flavour with a citrusy kick was a great pairing for the humungous oyster in the orange!  However, it can be a little daunting towards the end as it was a really rich dish!

Agemono - Tempura of King Crab and Scallops.

From the description, one would expect to have the best tempura of their life.  Unfortunately, this was not true.  In a case that the scallops was either left out for too long or not pat dry before being fried, so the batter fell of all the scallops when served.  Thankfully the king crab held together much better, so we did not have any such dramas.  But at this level of dining, every detail is critical and this is why my fellow diners were left wondering.

Shiizakana - Grilled Fillet of Beef

Grilled courgettes, mushrooms, minute fried pepper and an amazing beef fillet served with red miso.  Each bite was so tender with no resistance whatsoever.  It was lovely!  The best part was that there was no word of wagyu mentioned on the menu yet it was simply superb.  

Shokuji - Steamed rice with sea bream and miso soup

Most Japanese meals finish with a course of carbohydrate and this is no different.  Some might criticise this finishing course at Yamazato to be very bland and to a certain extent that is true.  But there is always something golden about a simple rice dish.  Perhaps this was the intention of the chefs at Yamazato after a roller-coaster of flavours presented in the earlier courses.

To finish the evening, we were served two desserts.  The first was the Japanese Ice Cream

Persimmon Pudding

A great end to the meal.  The Persimmon pudding at Yamazato was my favourite that night. It had the right consistency and balance with a pronounce fruitiness in it.  I was not bowled over by the ice cream for a couple of reasons.  The first being a soggy macaron and secondly, the ice cream itself was not churned to a state that I was looking for when I eat ice cream in a fancy restaurant.  I was looking for a sticky almost melting consistency that’s not icey but coats the spoon with a silky layer and is simply perfect for eating.  

Alas, Okura Hotel should be known as the foodies hotel with the amount of world class restaurants residing in it.  Yamazato, one of its oldest restaurant is delicious and fed me what I describe as “an over all  great meal”.  Was in an exceptional one that deserved 2 stars?  Perhaps not, but it definitely deserves its 1 star rating.  Note that despite the harsh comments I have made on several dishes, Yamazato is still a force to be reckoned with.  Its fully simple, yet sophisticated on the palate with all of its dishes retaining the original flavours of the core ingredients.  After my lacklustre encounter with Sushi at Morikawa in Den Haag, I am interested in going back for the sushi course at Yamazato!  Maybe next time.


Saturday, December 19, 2015

Bites NLD: Sushi Time @ Morikawa, The Hague

It has been over a year since I had eaten proper sushi.  No not those on the carousel or those that is served by the thousands.  But instead, a sushi place where the every detail is looked into.  The seaweed treated, fish handpicked and flavours carefully composed.  Do not misunderstand me, there is absolutely nothing wrong with bulk sushi (which I often eat) but there are times when you are looking for something that is extra special.  Naturally, when I heard that there was a place in town that specialises in sushi, I was super keen.  The restaurant is Morikawa and it is the most popular sushi place in the Hague and in a country like the Netherlands where the herring is eaten raw daily, I expected nothing less than the amazing.
Coming in, my colleagues and I were seated by the bar and ordered the sushi set meal.  The meal was a “trust the chef” or Omakase sushi meal that consists of 10 Nigiri Sushi, 2 types of Maki and a Tamago.  The reason why I chose to sit at the bar counter was so that the I can be served each sushi individually and the chef could explain each dish.  

Sadly, this was not the case.  The chef made 3 plates of Nigiri and gave it to us.
A bit of a disappointment to not be served the sushi individually I have to say.  But if the sushi served to us was of great quality, then nothing else matters.  My verdict on the 10 Nigiri Sushi:  It was decent, and over all OK.  The plate had a 50-50 mix of raw and “cooked” sushi.  The Tuna was really nice along with the Snapper topped with marinated ginger.  The prawns were mediocre at best and the Aburi Scallop Nigiri tasted repetitive as it was topped with a similar tasting topping.  The Tobiko Nigiri was a little boring honestly!  While I had no big favourites on the platter, the aburi salmon was good though I felt like I had tasted better at chain restaurant!  Last but not least, I was totally let down by the lack of attention to detail especially with the poached crab sushi that felt so un-cared and unloved when compared to my meal at Sushi Azabu last year! See this for comparison and tell me!

The second platter looked very attractive.  But did it taste as good as it looked?  I wonder!
Actually it was again another serve of OK sushi.  I do not think that anything on the plate particularly wow-ed the table.  The tuna roll tasted a little blend while the rolled covered in a colourful leaf carried a small piece of fish that was extremely potent in fishy flavours.  I think the table was quite appalled by that roll haha.  Last but not least, the Tamago was good and provided the most salvation for this plate of rolled sushi!
Morikawa was not a cheap affair but neither did produce a mind boggling bill.  However, the lack of sociability from entrance to seating to eating to finishing the meal made this an underwhelming sushi experience.  Then comes the part where I asked the chef whether there was an order which I should approach the sushi from and he said no.  He said "All the same just start where you would like to,".  That literally threw me off.  There is always a logic or intention in cooking.  At Morikawa there was none.  Was he for real?  Well, he walked off after serving us so I guess he was serious.  Morikawa has just came out of a long 2 week hibernation during my visit.  Perhaps it was a case of lost touch of some sort but I could in no way pair the level of respect present in the general public against the food I was served today. 


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Bites NLD: Slurping Ramen @ Genki SET Japanese, Den Haag.

The Hague is gradually descending into a cold, dark and wet season.  With more than half the day spent in the dark, I sought salvation beyond the norms of the traditional Dutch Stampot.  Through the recommendation of my colleague,  I came here for a pre-theatre meal with a couple of my mates.  Located in the heart of the Hague, Genki SET Japanese is a popular spot for a simple Japanese meal.  

While they serve a host of dishes from the basic sushi to a wagyu teriyaki and even shabu-shabu, I was actually here for the ramen!  But to share, my friends and I started with the Osaka style pressed Sushi  €6.90 which reminds me of the sushi I had at Modern Eatery: The House of Sushi in Fremantle.

To make this sushi, the fish is compacted into a mould before being filled with rice.  It is then overturned and coated with drizzling of Japanese Mayonnaise before being torched.  The result is a smokey-melt in your mouth salmon. The fish was a little thin, but it was yummy! Not sure why the sweet brown sauce though =/!

My Ramen of choice was the Shoyu (Soy) Ramen with slices of decadent Chashu €8.80.

Initial impressions were great.  You get a clear broth that smells of soy with a whiff of smokiness.  The egg with a runny yolk was promising and it looked nice over all.  That is until you actually start eating it.  My biggest dislike would be the depth of flavour in the broth. While it was mildly salty and yes there is a hint of soy with smokiness, I was looking for some strong soy flavours which should always be the focus of a complete Shoyu Ramen.  Instead, the soy flavour in the soup was flat!  Other than that, the Chashu was yummy and everything else really worked!  Can’t say I was too pleased to see a carrot in there though =.=!

To complement my noodles, I added a served of Karaage or Fried Chicken Nuggets for €1.95.  Definitely no complains here.  Crispy and drizzled with mayonnaise again.  Hard to go wrong but I would not mind a strong punch of ginger in the chicken marinade :)! 
My first meal at Genki SET Japanese was decent but I cannot say that I walked away too impressed. The service was good and the meal was decently priced for the Hague.  It cost me just a little below €15 for the entire meal.  However, the Shoyu Ramen just did not deliver!  Thankfully I returned twice since this meal 3 weeks ago.  Their Miso Ramen with Chashu and a dollop of Volcano Oil is absolutely delicious.  So if you are ever coming here, give their Miso Ramen with Chashu a try!  It is so much better than the Shoyu Ramen.

Check out my other Ramen posts:


Monday, July 27, 2015

Bites: A quick lunch bite @ Jun, Perth City.

Whether its a cheap lunch alternative or  an authentic dinner bento, Jun is a venue not to be missed.  Its large clientele of Japanese during lunch hours especially is clear indication that this basement diner is doing something right. 

This lunch we ordered several of their punch specials which includes the usual suspects Chicken Karaage, Chicken Katsu and another Chicken dish called the Tatsuta-age.  These chicken dishes are comparable to your suburban Japanese takeaway but in massive proportions.
The Chicken Tatsuta-Age

The Chicken Kara-age

Confused about between a Kara-age and Tatsuta-age? They are both fried chicken right? So I thought! But no worries Google the source of know-it-all tells me that,  the Kara-age does not necessarily need to be marinaded but the Tatsuta-age always is!  More importantly, Tatsuta-age uses a tapioca starch instead of the wheat flour used by Kara-age.  This results in a more crunchy slightly chewy fried batter that is very similar to that of the Taiwanese XXL Fried Chicken.  Hope that helps!


The Chicken Katsu

Most people prefer would rather pay an extra $3 premium for Jun than dine at Taka during lunch, and there are legit reasons for that.  This includes Jun spending more time and love in the preparation of their food,  and top class Kara-age.  If you come in at night, expect to be treated to some tender braised soy pork belly and amazing skewered meats.  During lunch that day, the only thing that did not really deliver was the Chicken Katsu and the rice as it was a little wetter than I would have liked it to be! The Chicken Katsu on the other hand had a batter that way too thick!  It felt way over the top.  But for those who had the Kara-age or the Tatsuta-age, it was all good :)!  Note, come early and sit first!  Late comers wait longer and it reduces the pleasure of dining at Jun.

Click to add a blog post for Jun on Zomato