Izakaya Fujiyama, Surry Hills
There has been a lot of hype and talk about Izakaya Fujiyama, a new Japanese bar and restaurant opened by Chef Kenji Maenaka who is exBodega. Izakaya Fujiayama is located on Waterloo Street, right next door to El Capo and of course Orto Trading Co. I was catching up with a couple of my favourite peeps, the fashionable, DC, Uncle and the gorgeous E. There’s no booking policy so made sure I rocked up a little early to get a table. I love the open bar with lots of sake bottles.
The menu is quite simple, think the sake list is more impressive! Four hungry diners thought we would pick a dish each. Started with the miso cured tofu ($6.50) – served cold, topped with a very nice salty miso.
Fish namban ($12) – fried snapper Japanese escabeche. Lightly battered and deep-fried, the snapper fillets were tender, it was nice but nothing special I thought.
Uncle opted for the salmon and avocado hand-roll ($4.50), which turned out to be a maki roll. Think Uncle was a little disappointed as he was expecting something like a Makoto hand-roll.
The pork belly with miso ($18.50) – steamed pork belly with hoba miso and baked eggplant really had my name on it! Tender, succulent steamed pork belly – goddamn it – it was melt-in-mouth excellent and I love the miso paste and the baked eggplant – fantastic! It was hard to not demolish this on my own!
However, the highlight of the evening for all of us was the jaw – the grilled king fish jaw and ponzu ($32). It was the biggest jaw I have ever seen, it was GIGANTIC! I didn’t realise there were so much flesh in the jaw! We all sat there, in silence, picking out all the flesh, and if I was dining at home, I would have picked up the bones at the end and ‘gnawed’ it – yes – classy I know!
Dessert, we shared the chocolate cake with quince ($11.50), warm chocolate cake with baked quince and condensed milk ice cream. The chocolate cake was rich, gooey and a little too sickly for me, however, I did like the sweet baked quince and the condensed milk ice cream.
We also shared the tea ceremony ($11.50) – vanilla bean ice cream with green tea kokuto syrup and red bean! The green tea syrup from memory was warm, I have to say, we ate this quite quickly! I would have preferred the ice cream to be green tea though.
Service was ok, I don’t think we were impressed that we got rushed out. It wasn’t a busy evening, no queues outside but was asked to leave, as we were presented with the bill even though we didn’t ask for it. We were all still quite peckish but nothing on the menu really ‘grabbed’ us. The jaw and the pulled pork were the highlights for me, but everything else was nice but no ‘wow’ factor. There were so much hype that I had HIGH expectations, and unfortunately, for me, it didn’t live up to it.
E suggested that we should drop by for some scotch eggs at Orto for round two, but unfortunately, they were fully booked so I suggested fried chicken at the Dip. Still amazed that they all agreed, I think we were all still quite hungry .. so off we went.
It was the first time for E and Uncle at The Dip. It was Friday evening and the place was packed and happening! We scored the last table and ordered round two of dinner!
D couldn’t go past the southern smoke ($12) – 12 hour smoked pulled pork sandwich with bbq beans, apple and cabbage slaw on a steamed white roll. Definitely our favourites!
E was craving hot dog so got Lev’s Dawg ($12) – smoked kosher hot dog with chipotle mayo, fresh tomato salsa, grilled yellow peppers and american mustard on a steamed bun. I have had this before and enjoyed it but still do prefer the southern smoke.
Uncle and I wanted fried chicken – the special on Friday’s (?) – four drumsticks with fries. Lucky he stopped at me at two boxes, I had suggested four boxes! ONE EACH! Not sure what I was thinking. Crispy, crunchy batter, chicken meat was tender, could be more tender I think. Still, it wasn’t too bad – love fried chicken!
I think the fried chicken and hot dog helped – we were both stuffed! Although, I think Uncle could definitely have eaten some more! ‘The Mother’ had a bucks night that evening, he said that he contemplated of calling me at 3am to ask if I would join him and the boys for some lobster at Golden Century. The scary thing is, if he did call, I would have walked down and joined him. If I did – that would be THREE rounds of dinner – and I wonder why I am not thin as a stick!
Regardless of being ushered out, it was a wonderful evening, never a dull moment with the fashionable DC, Uncle and the gorgeous E!
GA’s ratings: Izakaya Fujiyama: 6.5 / 10
51 Waterloo St Shop G09
Surry Hills 2010
Ph: +61 2 9698 2797
GA’s ratings: The Dip: 7.5 / 10
55 Liverpool St
Ph: +61 2 9283 8792