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Japanese

Sushi Wow

I was craving some easy sushi, and seeing as Sushi Hotaru has been leaving me wanting more often than not these days, I decided to expand my horizons a little. Armed with an old recommendation for Sushi Wow in Newtown, I decided to get over my mental block for the name – seriously, what kind of name is Sushi Wow? – and actually try it based on its merits as a sushi train. When I first walked in, I was quite impressed (wowed?). But it’s not the interior that caught my attention; the place basically looks like your standard sushi train restaurant, albeit a clean and welcoming one. What I was impressed with was the sushi train itself, which tottered…

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Ima Project Cafe

Being back in Melbourne after a whole year of Covid restrictions is no insignificant event. It’s the longest I’ve ever been away from my family or friends, and just thinking about all the restaurants I didn’t get to eat at absolutely breaks my heart. So between spending as much time as I can with my loved ones, I’ve had the difficult job of deciding on where to eat in my short week-and-a-half in Melbourne. Thankfully K had a good idea of what he wanted to eat; having been in strict lockdown for about 3 months, he hasn’t had Japanese food for almost as long, and that’s how we ended up at Ima Project Café for brunch.

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Kanzo

Believe it or not, almost three years after moving to Sydney, I’m still looking for a go-to Japanese restaurant. Although I have about half a dozen good ramen restaurants under my belt by now, I’m still yet to find a cheap and cheerful place that serves casual Japanese food – the kind of place you go to on a weeknight when you don’t feel up to cooking. My search today took me out to Parramatta, to a popular sushi restaurant named Kanzo. Based on reviews, I had expected a small and fairly low-key restaurant, but what actually greeted me was a takeaway shop with some rickety stables set up next door, in the vestibule of a run-down shopping mall. Still,…

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Nakano Darling

I’m always up for an izakaya meal. There’s really not much out there better than a parade of plates and nibbles, ordered over a long meal with great conversation, and maybe a drink or two. Nakano Darling is one of the new kids on the block, located in the shiny Darling Square dining precinct. The décor may not be classically Japanese, but the vibe it evokes is unmistakeable. It is undeniably cool with its collection of neon street signs, tatami seating with wooden crates for tables, and quirky Japanese ads projected onto the concrete walls. It stops just shy of trying too hard, and the result is very appealing indeed.

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Chaco Ramen

In the two-odd years I’ve lived in Sydney, I’ve pretty much blitzed my way across all the well-regarded ramen restaurants in Sydney… without crossing the bridge that is. One of the very few ramen-ya on the right side of the river (fight me) I’ve left to try is Chaco Bar, but because they only served noodles for lunch a couple days of the week – the rest of the time is reserved for yakitori – I’ve never gotten around to visiting. So I was doubly delighted when I heard the news that Chaco Bar had gotten popular enough to split into two; the new Chaco Bar now does yakitori full time, whilst the original site has been converted to Chaco…

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Yakitori Yebisu

One of the things I was most disappointed to have missed out on during my Japan trip was the authentic izakaya experience. I was so keen to chase up that perfect bowl of ramen – this was 2012 and good ramen absolutely did not exist in Melbourne – that I didn’t spare much time for anything else. And whilst I certainly don’t regret eating a bowl of noodles (sometimes two) a day, I do wish I had made time for even just one late-night izakaya trip. At least I have my 2022 honeymoon to Japan to look forward to; that is, if we’re let off this Covid Coaster by then!

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