Posted by redracer on April 22, 2007
Friday night, we went with a group of friends to a Japanese restaurant called Sushi Samurai.
This group usually meets the same time every month for a meal at a Japanese restaurant and was started by a common interest in Japanese trains. All attendees have either lived in Japan or been there several times for holidays. We usually try to choose between a variety of the many Japanese restaurants in Sydney, but tend to favour the north shore up as far as Chatswood or around the city area as being the most convenient. There are always new places opening to try out, and we have a few favourites that we tend to return to as well.
The owner of Sushi Samurai, Ari, has gone from a Sushi Train outlet to now also having two restaurants called Sushi Samurai. The first one is in Neutral Bay, and the newest one, which we went to, is in Pyrmont just behind Darling Harbour. It is not just a sushi place as the name might suggest, but the menu covers most of the variety of items you will find at most good Japanese restaurants. Both restaurants are quite small, so unless you get there early, especially on a Friday or Saturday night, it is advisable to book in advance. Our booking was for 6:30pm and the place was still nearly empty, but by not long after 7pm virtually ever table was occupied, as well as a couple outside on the footpath. Also by the time we had left (just after 9pm), most of the tables had had two sets of diners. The setup inside has wooden benches along the outside walls (where if you are lucky, you also get a cushion), with the seats opposite these having small backless wooden stools. I find these stools quite uncomfortable after a period of time. Other tables in the middle of the room have ‘normal’ chairs.
The back wall of the restaurant features the names of 42 different types of fish, in Japanese.
This view is looking from the back corner towards the kitchen.
The restaurant is licensed, and there is a choice of Sake, Japanese & Australian beer, a small selection of wines, as well as soft drinks and Japanese tea. After deciding on drinks, the entrees were chosen first and ordered by themselves, as from past experience here (and also with most other Japanese restaurants), they do not seem to understand what the word ‘entree’ means, and if you order entree and mains at the same time, they could come out in any order whatsoever or even at the same time. It shouldn’t be too hard, seeing the first part of the equivalent Japanese word means ‘before’ – however it is best if you ‘control’ the action !!!
ENTREEBetween us we ordered ‘Steamed Mussels in Special Sauce’, ‘Gyoza’, ‘Takoyaki’, ‘Potato Cheese Melt’ and a house special – the ‘Samurai Seafood Salad’. Unfortunately we were told about 5 minutes later that there was no ‘Potato Cheese Melt’ left (my choice), so I chose ‘Creamy Croquettes’. Whether that caused more confusion or not, I don’t know, but everyone else had received and eaten their entrees before I had even received mine (after a gentle reminder) 😳
This is the ‘Gyoza’, which is more fried than steamed.
This is the ‘Takoyaki’, with lots of dancing fishflakes on top 🙂
This is the ‘Steamed Mussels in Special Sauce’, which looks more like a soup than the picture on the menu, which looked like a selection of mussels on a plate.
This is the ‘Creamy Croquettes’, and they were definitely very creamy and delicious.
This is the ‘Samurai Seafood Salad’, and it consists of lettuce, cucumber, grated carrot & onion, avocado, fish roe, kingfish, salmon & tuna.
We also shared ‘Sui Gyoza’, which has steamed dumplings along with carrots and leeks, and a nice tangy dipping sauce.
MAIN COURSEFor mains, we chose ‘Unaju (Eel on Rice)’, Assorted Sushi’, ‘California Roll’ & ‘Vegtable Tempura’.
This is the ‘California Rolls’.
This is the ‘Vegetable Tempura’, which mysteriously also included one prawn 😳
This is the ‘Unaju’, and the Eel was very soft and tasty.
This is the ‘Assorted Sushi’, which contained 4 California Rolls, & 8 pieces of Nigiri sushi with salmon, tuna, tamago (egg), 2 types of prawn, kingfish, fish roe & octopus.
We also shared ‘Fried Tofu with Okonomiyaki Sauce’, which had 3 large cubes of Tofu lightly fried on the outside, covered with bean shoots, Okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise.
DESSERTFor dessert, you have a choice of ‘Green Tea Icecream’, ‘Sesame Icecream’, ‘Shiratama Zenzai (Ricecake & Icecream with Red bean Sauce)’ or ‘Oriental Icecream (a selection of three icecreams – Green Tea, Sesame & Lychee). Each of the icecream dishes also come with 2 pieces of ‘Savoy’ cake, all on top of a bed of dry cornflakes. I would recommend that you ask them to leave off the breakfast food 😆
This is the ‘Shiratama Zenzai’.
This is the ‘Green Tea Icecream’.
This is the ‘Oriental Icecream’.
They were apparently even busier than the usual Friday nights this time (they also do take-away, and there is usually also several people hanging around the front door waiting for their orders, which makes the place even more crowded than normal), and although there were a couple of slip-ups, overall the service was good and friendly. I am pleased to say that here all the staff are Japanese, which is NOT the case at many supposedly Japanese restaurants that you go to these days (one of my pet hates!!!). The food was excellent, and was consistent with the other times we have been to this outlet and the one in Neutral Bay. The total bill averaged out at around A$30 per head, which is excellent value :-)The address is Shop 1, 16-30 Bunn Street Pyrmont, which is off Murray Street just behind the big Darling Harbour hotels. They are open 7 days a week for lunch & dinner and their phone number is (02) 9518 8852.
If you are interested, the address of the Neutral Bay restaurant is – Shop 3, 197 Military Rd (just around corner of Rangers Rd), Neutral Bay – phone (02) 9953 4059.Conclusion: Very highly recommended, but make sure that YOU control the order the food comes out and try to get a table with ‘proper’ seats, as the small wooden benches are a little uncomfortable (if these things matter to you) .