Posts tagged Engawa

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

Tamageta Ya, Neutral Bay

Sydney Food Blog Review of Tamagta Ya, Neutral Bay: Chicken Cutlet Curry Rice, $18.80

I have found my Mecca. A place where I can go to for some spiritual healing. Where I can congregate with other people similar to me and bask in the glory in something bigger than myself.

That something, is Japanese food culture, and that place? North Sydney.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Tamagta Ya, Neutral Bay: Yuzu Honey Hi ballYuzu Honey Hi ball

I can’t believe that it’s taken me so long to discover this treasure trove of Japanese grocers, restaurants and general awesomeness. But now that I’ve found it, I’m not going.


Sydney Food Blog Review of Tamagta Ya, Neutral Bay: Fried Crab Claw Croquette, $8.80Fried Crab Claw Croquette, $8.80

Sydney Food Blog Review of Tamagta Ya, Neutral Bay: Grilled Engawa and Grilled Salmon Nigiri, $12.80Grilled Engawa and Grilled Salmon Nigiri, $12.80

Hidden in an alcove of Japanese restaurants is Tamageta-ya. When you first walk into this cozy eatery, you are enthusiastically greeted by a chorus of Japanese staff members, as well as delicious smells emanating form the kitchen. Here, they serve up Japanese classics, with a few modifications.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Tamagta Ya, Neutral Bay: Mentai Cheese Gyoza, $8.80Mentai Cheese Gyoza, $8.80

Sydney Food Blog Review of Tamagta Ya, Neutral Bay: Salmon Avocado Roll, $5.80Salmon Avocado Roll, $5.80

Sydney Food Blog Review of Tamagta Ya, Neutral Bay: Pop Corn Roll, $6.80Pop Corn Roll, $6.80

The maki rolls and nigiri are all served with black rice. Full of nutrients and higher in fibre than regular sushi rice, black rice is still maintains a soft stickiness that I expect from Japanese rice, and succeeds where brown rice fails. And bonus points because it actually has quite a bit more flavour than regular sushi rice, so double win right?

Sydney Food Blog Review of Tamagta Ya, Neutral Bay: pickled ginger

And let me take this opportunity to share a little public service announcement: you know how dipping a sushi roll into soy sauce just makes everything super salty and fall apart? Well, enter your friend – pickled ginger. Simply use the pickled ginger to brush on the soy, and voila! Reasonably seasoned sushi. #winning #lifehack

You’re welcome.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Tamagta Ya, Neutral Bay: Chicken Cutlet on Egg, $13.80Chicken Cutlet on Egg, $13.80

Sydney Food Blog Review of Tamagta Ya, Neutral Bay: Chicken Cutlet Curry Rice, $18.80Chicken Cutlet Curry Rice, $18.80

Sydney Food Blog Review of Tamagta Ya, Neutral Bay: BBQ Eel Set, $19.80BBQ Eel Set, $19.80

Sydney Food Blog Review of Tamagta Ya, Neutral Bay: Premium Wagyu Beef Steak, $10.80Premium Wagyu Beef Steak, $10.80

Besides the sushi selection – I highly recommend the engawa for it’s amazing texture and tender flesh – they also have hearty mains like Japanese curry and a chicken cutlet on egg that’s served in what looks like a massive ladle.

How’s that for presentation?

The curry was my favourite, because you can take the girl out of Singapore but you can’t take the Singaporean out of the girl. Japanese curries are a little sweeter, but there’s just something about this massive serve of curry and rice that is comforting AF. There’s nothing like a huge bowl of noms to make me want to loosen the top button on my eating pants.

Psych! There is no button on my eating pants.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Tamageta Ya, Neutral Bay: Tokyo Tower, $7.80Tokyo Tower, $7.80

Sydney Food Blog Review of Tamageta Ya, Neutral Bay: Chocolate banana sundae, $5.80Chocolate banana sundae, $5.80

And of course dessert, because I’m greedy like that. The Tokyo Tower is a classic Japanese parfait, with cornflakes, ice cream, red bean paste, and mochi balls. Very pretty, very Japanese, and incredibly filling. The portion sizes here are certainly not small – don’t let the little old Japanese lady customers fool you! I had to be rolled out of there at the end of the night.

At Tamageta ya, there’s does seem to be an emphasis on the complete meal. They provide ample options from starters, to mains, to desserts, and even have an extensive drinks menu that feature classic Japanese cocktails made with quality whisky. They even have a lunch deal where it’s cheaper to order your food with a drink than just the dish by itself. I know, the math did my head in too, but it’s definitely the case!

Oh, and you’ve got your Washoku Lovers card? Flash it when you drop by for lunch and you’ll get to get the “Today’s dessert” for free! Any excuse to have dessert is a good excuse.

Washoku Lovers is a free membership programme that gives you perks to many Japanese restaurants in Sydney! We also have visited other restaurants participating in the Washoku Lovers programme, like Suminoya and Oiden! To find out more about the programme and sign up, visit

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Tamageta Ya.
Tamageta Ya
Shop 5, 197 Military Road
Neutral Bay, NSW
Phone: (02) 9953 6678

Tamageta-ya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato