Posts tagged Black Cod

En Toriciya, Crows Nest

Oven Baked Truffle Cabbage: En Toriciya, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog Review

I’ve always had a healthy respect for Japanese chefs and their craft – there’s something about the quiet reverence that they have for each ingredient, and all their techniques are based around elegantly bringing out unique flavours and textures that naturally occurs in the food. So when I had the opportunity to pick the brain of Chef Hikeaki Fukada of En Toriciya, I was absolutely ecstatic.

…Of course, it had nothing to with the fact that he fed me dinner as well. 馃槈

The Order:

En Toriciya Degustation, $60/pp ($80/pp with matching sake):

Kingfish & Jalapeno Carpaccio
Kasujiru Vegetable Soup
Oven Baked Truffle Savoy Cabbage
Yakitori (Momo and Tsukune)
Popcorn Prawn
Charcoal Grilled Black Cod or Wagyu Steak
Sushi Moriawase (+12 to upgrade sushi)
Chefs selection of dessert (Matcha Creme Br没l茅e and Adzuki Custard)

The Food:

Holy. Smokes.

I was not prepared for this. I walked into En Toriciya expecting a smart casual dining restaurant, only to be presented with a close-to-fine dining experience. The only thing missing was the lack of pretentiousness, which I was very happy to do without. I was also informed that Chef Fukuda was also a sake sommalier, and our dinner would be matched with different sakes of his choosing.

I was certainly not expecting the sheer education I was about to receive.

Kingfish and Jalape帽o Carpaccio: En Toriciya, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewKingfish and Jalape帽o Carpaccio

We started with a very simple Kingfish and Jalape帽o Carpaccio – thin slices of kingfish were dressed lightly and topped with a small dab of what looked like jalape帽o pur茅e. Very refreshing, and just enough to whet the appetite. I was quite surprised by the Danemon sake that came with it – the richness was meant to bring out the flavour of the kingfish, but for my palate, it was oddly heavy to start the meal with. Still, an interesting choice.

Kasujiru Vegetable Soup: En Toriciya, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewKasujiru Vegetable Soup

Then we moved on to the Oven baked Truffle Savoy Cabbage and Kasujiru vegetable soup. It is here I learnt that if it looks like miso, and smells like miso…well sometimes it’s not miso. Chef Fukuda shows us just how passionate he is about sake…by using the lees (sakekasu – residual by products from making sake) to thicken and flavour the soup. No waste!

Oven Baked Truffle Cabbage: En Toriciya, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewOven Baked Truffle Savoy Cabbage

The Oven Baked Truffle Savoy Cabbage was so magnificent that I wondered if he was going to peak too early. With humble beginnings as a staff meal (where chefs are forced into ingenuity to make delicious meals for the restaurant staff out of whatever ingredients they have on hand) this cabbage dish has risen into such magnificence it should be called Daenerys. A soft truffle aroma laces through the robust char on the cabbage, which is then balanced by a tangy salty-sweet dressing.

This course was had with Asabiraki sake from the Iwate prefecture, which I’m told is famous for their rice. Fitting, then, that a complex sake plays a supporting role to such complex food. There is a typically Japanese sense of balance at play, and I’m loving every minute of it.

Tsukune (Yakitori): En Toriciya, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewTsukune (Yakitori)

Chicken Thigh (Yakitori): En Toriciya, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewChicken Thigh (Yakitori)

Next course: yakitori. Literally translating to “barbecued chicken”, we get two types for dinner – tsukune (chicken meatballs) and momo (chicken thigh). All fairly simply prepared – salt, smoke, and in the case of the tsukune, a light brush of glaze. Chef Fukuda tells me that he uses binchotan instead of regular coals – these Japanese “smokeless” coals hold the heat longer and more steadily, producing a better dish.

Popcorn Prawn: En Toriciya, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewPopcorn Prawn

The Popcorn Prawn follows, and although it’s a fun dish topped with generous lashings of mayonnaise (oh Mayo, how I love thee), it wasn’t quite as finessed as the other dishes seemed to be. Some bits of the batter were a touch underdone and a bit gluey at the end of the mouthful, which I noticed only because the standard of his other dishes were so high to begin with.

Charcoal Grilled Black Cod: En Toriciya, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewCharcoal Grilled Black Cod

We then moved right back up the scale, though, with Charcoal Grilled Black Cod and Wagyu Steak. I’m not entirely sure whether you’d usually have to pick one or the other for your degustation, but I know my life is much better for having tried the both of them. The Charcoal Grilled Black Cod was appropriately dark from the smoke and Saiky艒dzuke, a miso-like paste made by fermenting sake lees (At this point, Chef Fukuda is starting to look more and more like a man obsessed…something which I wholeheartedly appreciate), whilst still keeping the soft silky flesh that makes this my favourite way to have my favourite fish of all time.

Wagyu Beef Steak: En Toriciya, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewWagyu Steak

The Wagyu Steak was no slack either – medium rare pieces of tender steak were topped with moromiso, which is a chunky miso condiment. Rich/salty/sweet bites had pieces of cucumber to cut it, and it was over all too soon.

Selection of sushi: En Toriciya, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewSelection of sushi: Otoro

And when you think you can’t eat any more, out comes the plate of luxurious sushi. Sea urchin, fatty tuna belly, and engawa (flounder fin – a recent obsession I picked up from my trip to Japan) were one of many pieces that lined the plate. Simple, and yet such a perfect way to end the savoury courses. And it didn’t even matter that I was fairly full: I always have space for sushi.

At this point, we were treated to Daikoshu, a sake that actually HAD THE WARM HONEY NOTES OF WHISKY. Mind blown. This super aged sake (no joke, Daikoshu translates to “very old booze”) was older than I am, and defied all my previous Riesling-like experiences with sake. Where it was usually fresh and dry, this was voluptuous and almost caramel – like in its dark sweet notes. Very delicious, and an absolute eye opener.

Matcha Creme Br没l茅e: En Toriciya, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewMatcha Creme Br没l茅e

Adzuki Custard: En Toriciya, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewAdzuki Custard

Fitting, then, that we should sip it right before dessert. A Matcha Creme Br没l茅e and Adzuki Custard completed our meal, both with silky creamy textures and a sweet finish that wasn’t too cloying. With all the big hits through the evening, the dessert course didn’t exactly reinvent the wheel, but then again, I’d be asking for too much if I was expecting it from En Toriciya. A stellar performance: one I’m hoping to repeat.

The Service:

It’s not often that a restaurant’s service matches the quality of the food, but I’m very glad to report that at En Toriciya it’s a FULL experience. There was one waiter that really REALLY knew his shit. There was no question that we could throw at him that he couldn’t answer, and he only lacked a small nuance in detail compared to Chef Fukuda’s answers. Service that parallels the level of what I’ve had at Tetsuya’s, but in a much more comfortable setting. Love it.

Value for money:

At $60 per head for the degustation experience at En Toriciya, I think that you get more than your money’s worth. I was positively rolling out the door at the end of the meal, and my mind was still buzzing with the sheer variety of food that I was treated to. Chef Fukuda clearly puts a lot of thought into curating an array of treats, and like a good story, it leaves you walking away satisfied.

The Vibe:

En Toriciya is a fine dining restaurant hiding in humble surroundings, and that can be a little jarring for some. There isn’t a clear theme to the place, and for the uninitiated, you might even mistake this for just another local eatery where you can just pick up some hearty Japanese curry and make your way home. It’s clean and charming, but I wouldn’t expect theatrics and fireworks walking in. It’s very clear that the focus at En Toriciya is on the food and drink, the way Chef Fukuda wants it to be.

And finally,

I’ve always known that Crows Nest is home to some hidden gems (I’ve been to a few, lately) but I never expected to find a diamond quite like En Toriciya. Everything about this restaurant just resonated with the chef within me – the philosophy, the food, the single-minded obsession – and somehow they manage to artfully show off without the pomp and circumstance of other eateries with half the talent.

An absolutely stunning experience, and one I’m looking forward to repeating again and again.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of En Toriciya and Washoku Lovers.
En Toriciya
100 Willoughby Road
Crows Nest, Sydney
Phone: (02) 9438 1738

En Toriciya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Yakitori Yurippi, Crows Nest

Skewers getting barbecued, Yurippi, Crows Nest: Sydney Food Blog Review

Remember the Cliff Dive? Well guess what? Yurippi of the amazing skewers have now opened their own place in Crows Nest! The vision of owner Tin was more yakitori and less tuck shop, and it’s here that he really gets to stretch his wings to fulfil that dream.

Like all foodies, it actually runs in the family. Tin’s grandfather was a chef in Hokkaido for a hotel, and after a spell of fighting the urge through becoming an engineer, Tin is standing in amongst the smoke, serving upwards of 500 skewers to hungry customers every day!

So, how does it all stack up?

The Skewers, $2.90 each

Chicken and Shallot Skewer, Yurippi, Crows Nest: Sydney Food Blog ReviewChicken and Shallot Skewer

The Chicken Thigh and Shallot was succulent and juicy, set off with a sweet soy sauce that just brought it all together. Delicately smokey from the coal and binchotan (High grade Japanese charcoal) – let me take a moment to mention how baller their ventilation is – these skewers consisted of perfect, balanced bites.

It’s very obvious to me that the care and attention to detail that I first noticed all that time ago is still very present, and I’m reaping all the benefits! Score.

Chicken Liver Skewer, Yurippi, Crows Nest: Sydney Food Blog ReviewChicken Liver Skewer

Chicken Heart Skewer, Yurippi, Crows Nest: Sydney Food Blog ReviewChicken Heart Skewer

Chicken Gizzard Skewer, Yurippi, Crows Nest: Sydney Food Blog ReviewChicken Gizzard Skewer

The offal options on the menu also receive the same attentive treatment: the Chicken Liver, Chicken Heart and Chicken Gizzard were all grilled to perfection, and seasoned with a light but firm touch. Like a parent who knows what’s best.

And they really know best.

Pork Belly Skewer, Yurippi, Crows Nest: Sydney Food Blog ReviewPork Belly Skewer

The Pork Belly and Pork Jowl were also masterclasses in barbecue. Thin slices of Pork Belly were threaded onto skewers and seasoned with a sprinkling of salt. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the first bite gave me the “holy crap this is so amazing feeling”, and Jen, my dining partner, feels exactly the same way. Clean flavour of pork, only slightly enhanced by the savoury overtones of the salt. Like a good wonderbra. ?

Pork Jowl, Yurippi, Crows Nest: Sydney Food Blog ReviewPork Jowl

And the Wagyu Beef with Homemade Marinade. Oh the wagyu. Need I say more?

Wagyu Beef Skewer, Yurippi, Crows Nest: Sydney Food Blog ReviewWagyu Beef Skewer


Not into the meat fest? (You should be) The Shiitake Mushroom with sweet soy was also a delight, with the mushrooms tender but not too, well, mushy, retaining its firm bite. So. Good.

Special bonus points!

Ox Tongue Skewer, Yurippi, Crows Nest: Sydney Food Blog ReviewOx Tongue Skewer

If you wanna turbocharge your experience, the Chicken meatball with 63C egg, Slow cooked Ox Tongue with miso sauce and Miso Sake Black Cod are just the things to order.

Tsukune Skewer, Yurippi, Crows Nest: Sydney Food Blog ReviewTsukune Skewer

Also known as Tsukune, the Chicken Meatball is pretty much like a Japanese chicken kofta, and is traditionally served with a raw egg yolk to dip it in. Here they cook the eggs to 63C (where eggs were naturally born to be cause it’s so darn delicious), and serve you the whole egg, with a soy based sauce that turns this rich bowl into an unctuous treat. You can dip the skewer in or eat the skewer whole and then finish with the egg.

I suggest the latter. Go on. You know it.

Miso Cod Skewer, Yurippi, Crows Nest: Sydney Food Blog ReviewMiso Cod

Miso Black Cod is also as silky and buttery as it promised to be, and while the treatment isn’t anything particularly new, I don’t think there’s any reason to improve upon perfection. Delicious delicious perfection. Black cod is quite hard to find in Sydney, and I’m just glad I’ve got another supplier for my growing addiction.

The Sides

Mentaiko mashed potato, Yurippi, Crows Nest: Sydney Food Blog ReviewMentaiko mashed potato

You also need sides to go with your skewers, and the Gyozas come with Hane, which translates to “wings”. A slurry of starch and water gets poured into the pan for extra crunch, and the Gyozas get little flaps, which is where the wings get their name from!

Gyoza with Hane, Yurippi, Crows Nest: Sydney Food Blog ReviewGyoza

Chicken Karaage, Yurippi, Crows Nest: Sydney Food Blog Review Chicken Karaage

And if you’re of the fried chicken persuasion (who isn’t?) the Mini Karaage is like the popcorn version of the Japanese fried chicken classic, served up with a side of premium kewpie Mayo. PREMIUM KEWPIE. I didn’t even know there was even such a thing. More creamy and less tangy. Mmmmm. More fat.

Look for the yellow cap, I’m told. I know I’m going to be hunting this shizz down.

Final Thoughts

Tamagoyaki getting sliced, Yurippi, Crows Nest: Sydney Food Blog Review

I know it’s boring reading a review that’s wholly positive, but you know what? I’ve got nothing but love for Tin and his team. They are genuinely happy to be there, and the fact that they’ve been through other career options before coming together means that it’s a conscious decision to be there, and boy do they make it count.

The space is intimate, and the open kitchen lets you be privy to all the buzz on the kitchen. I love the izakaya feel of the place – small drinking houses that are very popular amongst Japanese business people – and the small bites pair really well with their rather large alcohol selection.

Or ramune. I suggest the ramune. ?

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Yakitori Yurippi.
Yakitori Yurippi
7 Falcon Street
Crows Nest, Sydney
Phone: (02) 8041 9261

Yakitori Yurippi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato