Neglect. Sorry my friends, I have been guilty of this. With a million and one excuses, I plan to make it up to you. The last 3 weeks have been a double tornado. For those of you who are not familiar with the term - it is the chaotic equivalent to the serenity of a double rainbow. In a nutshell I resigned from my job, started a new job, had a total career (and yes, a wardrobe) overhaul, battled a meatball addition, built Ikea furniture, and quietly celebrated The Empty Fridge turning one. Okay, not so much chaotic but busy and emotional nevertheless. But we'll touch on that soon ;)
In this relatively short amount of time there has been so much change, and also been plenty to celebrate. New career does tend to equal several new pairs of shoes in my books but how does one celebrate this "little blog that could" turning one? And a little brother turning 19? And having an emotional goodbye to your office home and snack drawer for the last few years..? Enter my happy place.
Makoto, my happy place, has been a constant in my life for the last 8 years. So yes - this will be an extremely biased blog post. In fairness, I won't talk about each dish..I'm going to talk about how much one humble sushi bar in the World Tower complex has been present in almost every aspect of my adult life. I'm not even going to say it is the "best" sushi in Sydney even though I'm yet to find better. This is my Makoto story.
The Sushi Train / Miso Soup $2.50
In life, I consider this place to be my rock. If this was MySpace, Makoto would be number one in my top eight. If this was Facebook, you'd see "Gianna is in a relationship with Makoto". Now my life is not as dramatic as your average Marissa Cooper, Blair Waldorf or Lauren Conrad (although I do hope that it could be as stylish). Through many stages of my little life - Makoto sets the backdrop.
Handrolls! From $3.60
During High School my free periods and half days would mean a train ride to the CBD, a bar seat by the conveyor belt for one and my extension history textbooks on the ground. I distinctly remember the manager at the time "Jun-Ichi" teasing me that he would contact the school and tell them I was a truant.
Fresh Tuna Sashimi - The Masuya Group buy daily at the Sydney Fish Markets
My fondest memories were that of the floor staff looking baffled when I'd ask for 2 Teriyaki Chicken hand rolls instead of the usual 4 - how I miss that teenage metabolism. The last minute panic on eve of my HSC exams I'd walk over after cramming at the state library. It was my happy place.
Sushi Selction on the Conveyor Belt
I think I celebrated nearly every birthday since turning 18 at Makoto. If we visit fancy restaurant for dinner, then I would be there for lunch, or have to sneak a meal in the day after.My equally addicted little brother has also done the same.
My Family and the Sashimi Selection
I guess when you are working weekend shifts at Target, Makoto was considered a proper and fancy restaurant. From a young age I had love Japanese food and through dining here I was able to really appreciate quality sushi. I remember cringing at the thought of sushi from the train station take away shop that my school mates had after school. Was this the makings of a sushi snob?
Ebi Fry with Egg and Mayo salad topping $3.60
My high School Boyfriend - (Demos skip through this section please) Although he was king of the deadshits and poured battery acid (twice) on my car and stalked me, he did appreciate my love for Makoto and for every single "date" we had - we ate here. Me and the crazy deadshit.
Spicy Tuna Roll - with cucumber, avocado, capsicum and sesame seeds $3.60
I remember one time, the deadshit and I had a fight at the restaurant - he walked out of the restaurant leaving me to hold back tears. I stayed in my spot because the teriyaki chicken hand rolls had not arrived yet.
The freshest of fresh prawns $5.60
After High School, I was accepted into UTS but to my dismay I was based at the Kurring-gai Campus at Lindfield. Proximity to Makoto was an issue for me and thankfully I had classes at the city tower one day a week. It was at this stage that they opened the branch at Chatswood which was 10 minutes away from Lindfield. The sushi gods answered my prayers. "Jun-Ichi" had moved to this branch and called me a traitor!
The Sashimi Platter
Of course the deadshit boyfriend did not last long and I think it was second year where I took a Uni boyfriend here (Demos, sorry, still not you..scroll along) This lovely boy was at that stage in his life where sushi was new and all he ever was exposed to was traditional Italian food. "I've never had Japanese food before" Lucky for me we both went to UTS so it was a midday lunch break destination.
Pork Katsu rolle with Avocado and Cucumber $3.60
The "I've got an assignment due tomorrow and I'll be at the library" line more often than not turned into "I'm at Makoto". It was my haven from all the now seemingly unimportant stresses of uni life and paved the way for the expert procrastination that only exists in the world of a uni student.
A thick slice of Premium tuna belly $4.60
One memorable Makoto visit involved a run in with the deadshit ex and the Uni boyfriend. Ohhh that little altercation was one for an episode of "The Hills". From that day I knew - I have to specify that I get custody. We break up, Makoto is mine and if you go - may you choke on your tuna. Only kidding. I'm not vindictive but consider this a warning Demos.
Karage Chicken $5.80 and Special Salmon Roll $6.60
Working as a nurse was beyond insane. The hours, the workload, the emotional baggage and of course the distance between the hospitals and Makoto really took it's toll on me. It made me burn that Uni boyfriend scored a job a block away. I'd trek it into the CBD after a strenuous morning shift to meet him for lunch but in reality - Makoto just was able to make everything better.
Tempura Prawn Hand roll $3.60 and Unagi (eel) Hand roll $5.60
Our bad romance came to an inevitable end and we parted ways. I was not quick to realise that emotional eating at Makoto had become a coping mechanism. Some girls reach for the ice cream, the chocolate, the vodka..I dealt with my breakup with a stack of sushi plates of course. The clear spirits had to be saved for later..
Soft Shell Crab with Roll hand roll $5.60 (in Chatswood this comes with an egg omlette)
With bad romances, comes love at first fight. Yes Demos - this is where you come in. Yes, we bonded over double espresso dates, but for the longest time at the start - we hardly dined out. Who would have thought that now dining out is what we do best?
Hiramasa Sashimi $3.60 and Mini Premium tuna rolls $5.60
It took nearly a month for us to go on a proper "date" where Demos took me to a very swish waterfront establishment. The dashing gentelman Wine and Dined me with wagyu carpaccio, squid ink pasta and italian wine.. he told me that night that this fancy pants place was his "favorite" restaurant.
Daily Specials - today its Home Marinated giant unagi $5.60
I remember thinking "What kind of wanker did I end up with!?!?" well no, thats a bit mean. The boy had to impress and of course had to pick somewhere with.. umm..tablecloths. When it was my turn to take him to my "favourite" place in the world - man did I hit that panic button! I dont know why but I remember picking a fight. I was not going to take this new guy to place that he would look down on and wouldn't give it the appreciation it deserves! He could can have his swishy wanky restaurants with tablecloths and I'll have Makoto any day.
I guess my train of thought was that if he loved the fancy pants places so much - how on earth would he enjoy my gem in the heart of the city?
The boy persisted and obviously he loved it.
The standard stack of plates and seared salmon sushi $3.60
Yes, its my crazy nature to consider this place to be a deal breaker. It's my happy place and you could say its an addiction. I know I haven't talked about any of the dishes - but if there is one I would recommend - it would be the terriyaki chicken hand roll. Lets just say that if god forbid, they stopped making this... Double Tornado. I would rather the world be attacked by a zombie plague then for the hand rolls to dissapear, as atleast I am prepared for the Zombies.
Teriyaki Wagyu beef hand rolls $5.60, Teriyaki Chicken and Tempura Prawn hand rolls $3.60
The hand roll's here are made to order - are served warm and is pretty much what i keep comming back for. Their version of the terriyaki chicken is a lightly crispy cooked cutlet, dipped in a light teriyaki glaze and wrapped in a cone with the sushi rice and japanese mayo. This is my dish. (Note: they make it differently in the chatswood branch...they use a heavy terriyaki sauce and shove in a grilled capsicum slice :/ )
Food Coma Gianna.
Working in Paddington and driving home - I would drive through Liverpool Street to get to the Anzac bridge. The rule was, if there ever was a parking space out front - I would get out and get a table for one. This was my me and my hand roll time. After working back and busy days and stressing about deadlines, I often found myself here. It seemed fitting that after my last day at the G-Star office I came here to celebrate and knock myself into a food coma.
The photo above was taken on my 19th birthday with my Sony Cybershot camera - 5 megapixes and 128 MB memory stick. All the photo's above were taken at a low key dinner to celebrate my little brothers 19th birthday as well as my last day. The below photo is a sushi cake that was made especially for my birthday all those years ago - it really made me feel special and still does to this day.
This post was the only way I could think of that could best describe to you my attachment to Makoto. As I start this new "phase" of my life, i'm sure that it will slot perfectly fine. The new office is two blocks away, of course I have checked.
I'd love to hear what you think - are you attached to any restaurant in particular? Or is my attachment on a whole new level? Thanks for sticking by my ramblings, it means a lot for me to be able to share this here - and thank you for reading The Empty Fridge.. here is to another year of delicious dining posts and you enduring this hungry couple. Thank you for your support and friendship in the last year. This blog is my baby and I have so much love for it and for you, the awesome person behind that screen reading our ramblings.
As a gift, I'd love for you to leave us a note. But if not, hey - it's cool i'll continue to talk to myself for many blog posts to come. With you in eating, G. xo
Sushi Bar Makoto - open for Lunch until 3pm and Dinner until 10pm