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Japanese

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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Lonely Mouth

It’s been a long two months, but the blog is back! Socially-distanced, but undeniably back. Oh how I’ve missed going out to eat! Lonely Mouth opened pretty much on the cusp of coronavirus forcing us all into lockdown, so I was afraid that by the time we were allowed to emerge from our homes again, it would have fallen victim to the economical crash like so many other restaurants. Thankfully, that was not the case. They’ve kept things going with a steady stream of takeaway orders, and they’ve reopened for dinner as of last week. You do have to book via email for a strict 45-minute sitting, but once you’re there, you can feel safe in the knowledge that everyone…

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Tontaro Honten Ramen

Another day, another bowl of ramen. And up for review today is Tontaro Hoten Ramen, the relatively new venture by Jun Toyoda, whose artery-clogging ramen at O-San has a bit of a cult following. Though I’ve been told that Tontaro is a step up from the food-court setting of O-San (having never been myself), the set up here is nevertheless very no-frills. The blond wood panels a sparse, canteen-like space, and everything is pretty much self-serve. I do however appreciate the individual seats lining the edge of the restaurant, which makes solo dining a much less awkward situation if you’re bothered by that sort of thing.

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