The Weekend Australian - Magazine - - LIFE -

A lit­tle Sydney Rock oys­ter, for ex­am­ple, open­ing salvo in an $80 tast­ing menu, dressed with ponzu made with the dis­tinc­tive flavour of man­darin. A sub­lime, ob­scenely del­i­cate chawan­mushi the tex­ture of fresh silken tofu flavoured with both dashi, swim­mer crab and lemon oil. Quite sur­pris­ing. And then there’s the bril­liant use of an ul­tra-clar­i­fied ja­mon con­sommé – jel­lied, al­most crys­tal clear – over pieces of Ja­panese scal­lop, sliced ja­mon and 102/21 Al­berta Street, Surry Hills


(02) 8068 9774


Din­ner Mon-Sat

Typ­i­cal prices:

Smaller $11; larger $24; dessert $8; tast­ing menu $80

Like this? Try…

Paper Bird, Sydney; Kisumé, Mel­bourne


Small won­der in­fant sugar snap pea pods burst­ing with the flavour of an English gar­den. It’s so clean, fresh and pen­e­trat­ing.

Spears of steamed then “tem­pura” fried as­para­gus are served with a wedge of lime and a green tea salt. But Sasaki’s “bat­ter” is more like a seasoned, golden crust, a crisp shell re­veal­ing the un­mis­tak­able plea­sure of as­para­gus juice inside.

Per­fect, thick slices of raw king­fish (pic­tured) rise ice­berg-like from a pond of red pep­per gaz­pa­cho seasoned with akazu, the red vine­gar made with the lees of sake pro­duc­tion.

Duck two ways comes on a fruity, brick-coloured, slightly pep­pery leek sauce: slices of juicy, per­fectly ren­dered roasted breast and fra­grantly spiced poached “sausage”, the force­meat wrapped in cab­bage.

The first time rice ap­pears is with Sasaki’s splen­did take on a daube of beef. “To­day’s rice” is hand-churned at the counter in an im­pres­sive piece of Ja­panese cast iron, dis­tribut­ing chary base bits through the grain with olive oil and pink vine­gar. The meat it­self, in a bril­liant, dark curry/gravy, is out­ra­geously moist and gelati­nous – ut­terly de­li­cious – and ac­com­pa­nied by spiced, fried cau­li­flower.

Even the miso soup here is spe­cial: a cloudy white miso pud­dle pep­pered with diced tofu, pur­ple shiso and a soli­tary fish ball.

For the tast­ing menu cus­tomer, dessert pro­vides the only opp for cus­tomi­sa­tion: you might go for a lovely set cus­tard, like a crema Cata­lana, with a heady top layer of plum wine/sake syrup. Or a seem­ingly bland mas­car­pone and matcha pow­der pud that bursts into life and har­mony the mo­ment you munch on a tile of tart yuzu meringue. It’s im­pres­sive. Again.

The drink list is brief; staff job-share in a man­ner that can make ser­vice a lit­tle clumsy. But it all pales. Book. Now. For 2018.

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