So friends of the fridgers..we are on the home stretch to the christmas break and if you are like us, you are probably clinging on to every ounce of sanity you have left while yearning for the long holiday break! Forget the fact that its close to mid-december and yet to send out Chrissy cards or do gift shopping - but lets focus on the good things shall we. We are all about the good things here - shittyness goes elsewhere.
I have a strong belief that Japanese food fixes everything. If you are sick, a bowl of ramen cures anything. If you are sad, karage chicken is a great perker up-erer. If you are feeling guilty for indulging, then sashimi gives you "I had something healthy with no carbs for lunch" glow. Excuse my fuzzy logic for just wanting to eat good japanese food all day every day.
I blog alot about how going out for a nice meal is all about celebrating and having fun and getting together. Often, its not about the celebration - its about the comfort. Its finding a nice meal after a tiring day, or taking someone out to cheer them up. Now I cant remember what needed fixing on this particular night but without out doubt Izakaya Fujiyama fixed it. This is how.
Judging by the first image of the bar lined to the rafters with Japanese Sake many of you will already know that this is my kind of place. Maybe thats what I needed fixing.. my desire to be roaming the streets of Tokyo rather than tolerate the madness that is Christmas season (I promise, i'm not a grinch..). The owner of this popular new establishment - Kenji Maenaka is quite hands on. He is a familiar face after a stint in the open kitchens of Bodega and he is in his element going back and forth from the kitchen and restaurant floor.
A cup of Jyunmai Koikawa Sake goes down a treat with its crisp and pure taste. Although I love drinking it - my head starts to spin when I am faced with a selection of sake varieties upon sake varieties. I quite confident in navigating a wine list but tend to go by suggestions in the sake department. I still have plenty to learn about sake but for now its best I knock a few back and enjoy it.
Izakaya food to put it simply is drinking food. Tonight, unlike most of our Japanese liquor fuelled exploits - we were here to simply eat. Our first dish of the night was one of the evenings special - Deep Fried Cuttlefish. The lightly battered pieces with a slight hint of chilli powder were gone in a flash as one by one we slathered each with japanese mayo.
A quick glance around the already bustling restaurant almost every table had a plate or two of Kenji's Fried Chicken ($14.50) Chunky pieces of Karage Chicken with more of that Japanese Mayonaise were a hit and rightly so. The light and salty coating was simply delicious and lacked that awful burnt taste that you sometimes get in some shady japanese places. This "KFC" would go a treat with some beer.
Tempura Time! The crunchy but delicate batter soaks up the tangy tempura sauce a every mouthful and a fight ensues for the third piece of course.
Then with a somewhat guilty look on our face, I realised that all the dishes ordered were fried. Typical.
Round two with the menu produces a plate of kingfish sashimi ($6.50) that was thinly and almost immediately I wanted more.
We also tried the Tuna Toro, which was a special addition the menu tonight, probably due to seasonality and market availability. The teeny portion was sufficient tonight as we had already worked through the heavier dishes.. so it was almost like we were working the menu backwards.
Just to finish things off we order a salmon and avocado roll. I wanted to call out that the servings are not the largest but the freshness and quality of the sashimi is spot on. Each dish comes out quick and I think the best way to dine here is to order as you go.
Izakaya Fujiyama is a great addition to the already popular dining destination of Waterloo St in Surry Hills next to Orto Trading Co and El Capo. It's definitely a great place for a casual meal where you can Order up, Sake down and and enjoy some delectable dishes that will comfort and fix what ever needs fixing - because thats what good food and sake does.
Izakaya Fujiyama - http://www.izakayafujiyama.com/