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L'avis de Gault&Millau
Chef Kenji Maenaka’s vision of a Japanese-style neighbourhood pub, or izakaya, continues to delight his patrons, drawn by his respect for traditional cuisine, attention to detail and signature creative East–West style of yoshoku cooking.
The sleek, dark-wood interior is particularly fetching at dusk, when the sunset adds additional warmth. Sit at the long communal counter or outside, where tables spill onto a terrace if the weather’s mild.
Chef Maenaka’s creativity even extends to writing out the daily specials in his fluid cursive script, where you’ll find dishes like brussels sprouts roasted with teriyaki glaze and labna. Agedashi tofu is textbook crisp, and paired with a puree of braised shiitake mushrooms that gives it a hefty umami kick. Yellowtail tataki comes seared and sliced in salad form, its slight citrus cure complementing the firm, oily fish. A main course of seared and sliced wagyu beef is instantly comforting when paired with chef’s own secret barbecue sauce, a perfect foil for just-blanched green beans in a sweet sesame–mirin dressing.
PSST! There’s an excellent haul of rare and old Japanese whiskies to sample here.
Reviewed for the 2019 Guide
Shop G09, 38–52 Waterloo Street, Surry Hills