Oh, I just love Japanese food. Love it. If I had to eat just one international cuisine for the rest of my life, it would easily be Japanese food.
A big group of us went to Kyushu Japanese Restaurant in Neutral Bay a few weeks ago for a celebration. Pop quiz! Which of the following were we celebrating?
a. Jason’s birthday
b. Iain’s first night out since baby #2 was born
c. SarahKate and Andy are back in AU
d. All of the above
The correct answer is D! All of the above. There was much cause for celebration. And what better way to celebrate than with raw fish?
We started with the large sashimi platter. It was epic. The fish was incredibly fresh, it practically melted in the mouth. There were only two oysters on the platter and I managed to snag one (I may have pulled “food blogger rank” and claimed that I needed to eat that oyster for “research purposes.” My friends are so nice!) It was perfect. Briny and smooth and full of the flavour of the sea. The sashimi platter was demolished in minutes.
We then ordered a few small starters. We had pork maki, which was excellent. The savoury pork was wrapped around crispy green spring onions. A fantastic combo of soft and crunch, salty and fresh. The pork maki were a hit.
The gyoza, which I typically swoon for, were just ok. I don’t like deep fried gyoza. All I could taste was the deep fried wrapper, rather than the yummy inside bits. Not a fan.
At this point we were ready to order a few more starters, a few more drinks and keep the food fest going. That is, until the waitress quietly snuck up behind me to inform me that the kitchen would be closing at 9pm (it was about 8.45pm at this point) and we needed to put in our final orders.
Really? A kitchen that closes at 9pm on a Thursday night? I don’t mean to sound like some out-all-night-crazy-party-animal-person, but that seemed very early to me. After all, our booking was for 8.15pm. This is Sydney, not Newcastle. 9pm is early. The waitress was very kind about it, but I was a bit surprised.
Anyway, we immediately went into food ordering overdrive and started pointing at almost everything on the menu. The poor waitress looked a little overwhelmed, but we were afraid that if we didn’t order tons of food we might end up hungry in a restaurant with a closed kitchen.
We ordered some deep fried oysters, which came out quickly. Again, these were just ok. Maybe I have a thing against deep fried foods? Maybe I just really like my oysters with nothing more than a squeeze of lemon? Either way, these were literally the only thing on the table that we weren’t fighting over.
The menu at Kyushu touts the restaurant as famous for their tempura and their teriyaki. We had to see whether their claims were true! We ordered ebi tempura (prawns) and a big plate of mixed vegetable tempura. Both were excellent. Not greasy, very light batter, soft prawns, crispy veg. Great tempura.
I’ll freely admit that I almost never order teriyaki anything in a Japanese restaurant. Just seems safe. Like what you order when you don’t actually like Japanese food. We ordered the teriyaki chicken and the teriyaki fish. They were both delicious, but the fish was outstanding. Honestly, I was shocked. The fish was flaky and perfectly cooked and the teriyaki sauce was a delicate blend of sweet and savoury. I’d go back to Kyushu just for the teriyaki fish.
We also grabbed an order of Wafuu Steak. Mostly for the name. Wafuu is fun to say! The steak was cooked perfectly. It was meaty and rich and hot and everything you might want in a steak. It wasn’t very Japanese-y. But it was very good.
The final dish in our Extravaganza of Over Ordering was an udon noodle dish. This dish was thrown onto the order at the very last minute, ended up being parked on the other side of the table and I only got a little sip of the broth. Excellent broth. I need to try more of the noodles when we go back to Kyushu.
And I will certainly be back. I’d make an earlier booking next time. And, it would have been nice if they’d told me when I made my 8.15pm booking that the kitchen closed so early. But these are minor squibbles after a meal that we all so completely enjoyed.
Despite my fears that we went way over board when we ordered, we hardly left any food at all! In fact, when we stood up to leave I spotted this lone udon noodle under the table. It was pretty much the only thing we didn’t eat at Kyushu!