Book of the week
JUNK FOOD JAPAN: ADDICTIVE FOOD FROM KUROBUTA SCOTT HALLSWORTH BLOOMSBURY, $53
Reviewed by Janan Jay
Having previously spent almost three years living in Tokyo, when Hallsworth’s first Kurobuta pop-up came to my native London it quickly became my favourite postpayday haunt – its instantly recognisable, authentic Japanese comfort food has a bold, brazen twist.
Here the Australian chef, formerly of Nobu, continues to showcase his encyclopaedic knowledge of the cuisine and penchant for bending the rules. A classic curry calls for ribs instead of poultry; the humble chicken katsu is extravagantly topped with an umamioverloaded French butter; raw tuna meets truffle oil and tortilla in his famous sashimi pizza.
Everything about this book is passionate, playful and intense, with an in-depth four-page introduction; imperfect print punk aesthetic; and vibrant photography from awardwinning David Loftus for every dish. Laugh-out-loud anecdotes and educational facts headline each recipe (often accompanied with a liberal sprinkling of the f-word).
However, this is a book that demands commitment. Many of the recipes – while delicious – are quite timeconsuming and, from my own personal experience of attempting sushi and dashi stock from notoriously volatile bonito flakes in my tiny Shibuya apartment, require a certain degree of skill.
Be prepared to make a lot of condiments (there’s a whole chapter at the back) and remember that getting hold of exotic ingredients, while easy if you live in Japan, London, or Melbourne, might prove trickier in New Zealand. There’s a supplier list provided but, being UK focused, it’s pretty redundant. A list of essential staples (mirin, cooking sake, kombu) for novices might have proved far more useful.
It’s also pretty pricey at around fifty bucks but, for adventurous Japanese fusion aficionados, it’s totally worth it.
York; movement. rights gay The 5. Jerusalem; 4. New 3. Dead; Grateful The 2. Rider; Easy 1.