kaiseki :: sasaki, sydney

Ma. The concept of Japanese minimalism. Shibui. The aesthetic of simple, subtle, and unobtrusive beauty.

Everything about Sasaki is delicate, minimalist, has beauty and purpose, and of course, the finest ingredients are precisely and proudly cooked, plated and presented.

We had the “omakase” menu, which translates to ‘leave it up to you’, the chef. A degustation of sorts.

Plump pretty oysters (Oyster, Akazu & Mandarin), silky subtle scallops(Scallops, Celeriac & Kombu), a joyously wobbly savoury custard with poached prawns (Egg & Prawn), delicate slices of fish with dipping sauce & condiments (Bonito, Apple & Ponzu), crunchy tempura asparagus with farm fresh corn purée (Asparagus, Corn & Matcha), pinkest of fish with pops of row and mushroom rice (Ocean trout, egg Yolk & Ikura), rare duck – not my thing – (Duck, soy, leek) with soup (egg in bonito broth) and choice of desserts (choux pastry and mango sorbet).

It’s a true, Tokyo-esque kaiseki style restaurant in a hidden inner Sydney city laneway.

Kanpeki. 充実. Perfection.

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monkey magic | dinner club four

Japanese fusion was on the menu for Ian’s pick for April’s Dinner Club.

Monkey Magic in Surry Hills is a beautiful space; it’s industrial but warm; an open warehouse feel with a mix of concrete and wooden floors and exposed wood ceiling beams.

the entrance stairs
the main dining room
downstairs entrance lounge

Entree

Sake

For Jay’s starter he has sushi roll; it’s so good I have food envy!

SPICY TUNA AND AVOCADO ROLL

raw tuna, avocado,cucumber, anchovy crumbs, orange zest and spicy sauce

For Ian’s starter he has Japanese Skewers:

MONKEY MAGIC SKEWERS

assorted skewers of prawn, chicken, cheese and vegetables

Neen and I shared duck pancakes:

JAPANESE HOISIN DUCK PANCAKES

wholemeal pancakes with roasted duck and hoisin sauce

MAINS

Ian & Neen both have the pork belly:

TWICE COOKED PORK BELLY

it’s served with with wilted cabbage, sweet potato and “yakiniku” sauce

Jay and I both have the chicken:

TERIYAKI CHICKEN

it’s served with with sweet corn, baby spinach, speck, miso butter and candied orange

we all share some side dishes

STEAMED ASIAN GREENS & MONKEY MAGIC SALAD

The steamed greens come with a citrus miso dressing, and the salad is mizuna, radish and baby beetroot with yuzu dressing.

EDAMAME & RENKON CHIPS

My absolute favourite!!! Edamame with pink salt and crispy renkon chips!

Dessert

Neen & I share dessert; it’s actually not that good. The flavours, chocolate and apple, don’t compliment.

NOUGAT GLACE

frozen meringue cream with sable biscuit, apple puree and chervil

Ian has an experimental trio of mini desserts with a sesame theme. He’s not a huge fan of his dessert either.

TRIO OF BLACK SESAME

creme caramel, profiterole and biscuits

Jay has sweet spring rolls and he loves them. He definitely made the best choice!

BANANA , WHITE CHOCOLATE AND SHISO SPRING ROLL

with creme chantilly and green tea ice cream

Monkey Magic | 3 & 4/410 Crown Street  Surry Hills NSW 2010
http://www.monkeymagic.com.au/ 

They currently have a great deal – 20% off Mon-Thurs.

Food: 3 out of 5
Atmosphere: 4 out of 5
Price: 4 out of 5 (with the 20% off) 

Emon | restaurant review

For Janine’s dinner club in November we went for Japanese in Surry Hills at Emon.

Emon - interior

picture credit: here

It’s a small but cute little Japanese diner on busy Cleveland Street. The food is authentic and arrives at the table really quickly. The little Japanese waitress is so friendly and is full of recommendations.

Sapporo Beer
Shochu wine

Janine & I have a Sapporo beer but the guys go for the Shochu wine which is similar to Sake and is made from potato. It’s smooth and easy to drink but is potent stuff!

the table setting
Renkon chips $5.50
Edemame $5.50
Spider roll sushi $14.50
Ebi Gyoza $12

We share everything; the small dishes of renkon chips which are thin wafers of crunchy root vegetable like parsnip, the edemame which are soy beans and my most favourite, the spider roll which is freshly made with a combination of soft texture from the rice and crunchy texture from the soft-shell crab and the ebi gyoza which is filled with prawns, steamed and then pan-fried.

Waygu beef teriyaki $28.50

The waygu teriyaki beef is tender and succulent. The dish has a perfect amount of wonderful teriyaki sauce which we soak up our rice.

brown rice (genmai) $4.50
Chicken Kara-age $19.50

The chicken kara-age is also so tender. We wolf it down and wish we’d ordered more!

♦♦♦♦♦

The takeaway: a great place for Japanese food. It’s quick and delicious and the service is efficient and friendly.

Food: 4 out of 5
Service: 4 out of 5
Atmosphere: busy and buzzing with after-work patrons and locals
Value: excellent

Emon | 432 Cleveland St, Surry Hills NSW
http://www.emon.com.au