It’s been disgustingly hot, hasn’t it? And you know it’s bad, when the lovely manager of Busshari, Yuko, apologises profusely for the heat and assures you that the air-conditioning is indeed running, as you walk in the door. I can see what she means though – no sooner had I positioned myself at the counter, I was covered in a sheen of sweat.
DAMN YOU AND YOUR CRAZY WEATHER SYDNEY!
Needless to say, it was a really good time to be eating cold food – Yuko suggested the Seafood Sashimi and Seasonal Vegetable Salad, Soba and Somen, and we were definitely not going to turn that down.
Ocean trout belly nigiri, $8 for 2pcs
Toro nigiri sushi, $12 for 2pc
Seafood sashimi and seasonal vegetable salad, $27
Deep fried flounder, $28
Grilled Scampi with sea salt, green tea oil, $26
Soba & Somen, $20
Chilled green tea soba and Somen with shiitake mushroom, prawn and radish wasabi
Matcha Ice Cream
If you truly do eat with your eyes, then the food at Busshari is an exquisite feast. Everything came out looking stunning – piles of food artfully arranged on stone plates that conveyed a modern Japanese aesthetic.
We started with pieces of Ocean Trout Belly Nigiri and Toro Nigiri Sushi. Tender melt-in-your-mouth slices of fish are wrapped around 2cm-wide batons of rice, forming the perfect mouthful. Unctuous, luscious, and luxurious, these easy bites were a great start to our evening.
Then we got a bit more stuck in with the Seafood Sashimi and Seasonal Vegetable Salad. Whoever said that salads were measly rabbit food clearly had not seen this salad before. A veritable mountain of salad leaves were thoroughly covered in a sweet/savoury dressing, and adorned with a variety of fresh, sliced fish, assorted seafood, and finished with a nest of white radish and a Renkon (lotus root) chip. It was refreshing, simple, and oh so filling. Order to share, or as a main on a hot day. Either way, win-win.
The salad was immediately followed by another ‘wow’ dish: the Deep Fried Flounder. Pieces of fish are lightly battered and fried, and set on the crispy bones of the flounder bent into a graceful arch. I didn’t eat the bones this time – didn’t want to seem unladylike – but Yuko tells me that 1 in 3 customers down the whole thing, bones and all!
And then, we indulge my obsession with shellfish: the Grilled Scampi with Sea Salt and Green Tea Oil was soft and buttery, although I was missing any noticeable flavour of green tea. But really, we all know that I’d eat shellfish done any which way, so really, no loss there!
And then the last savoury dish – Soba and Somen. Chilled green tea buckwheat, and wheat noodles are arranged in a waterfall, with little pots of sauce that you dip the noodles in and slurp up. The shiitake mushrooms – served on the side – were the best bit of this, though. Slices of rehydrated mushrooms are marinated in a sweet soy mixture, and the result is a meaty, moreish bite. So good.
And just when we thought that we couldn’t eat any more – who am I kidding? We were that full by the time we finished the salad – scoops of creamy matcha ice cream come out, anointed with sweetened red bean paste. Not quite the best of all the matcha ice cream I’ve had – ahh Meiji you maker of addictive frozen desserts – but it was pretty good, especially when you can get it for free!
I know that it’s hard to comment on the service because I was dining as a guest, but from my vantage point at the counter, it did genuinely look like everyone was having a great time. Waters were consistently getting topped up, and orders were flying off the pass at lightning speed…did I mention that this was also one of the calmest kitchens that I’ve had the pleasure of watching? We felt like we were in very good hands, and it was an absolute joy.
Value for money:
Busshari is not where you go for a night out that’s light on your wallet, much like the rest of Potts Point. Not that it’s particularly taxing either, but $27 for a main-sized salad – even though it’s got lovely slices of fresh seafood – still would have me hard pressed to slap the “bang for your buck” label on it.
Still a nice restaurant for a classy dinner out, though. A worthy choice, especially if you’re in the area.
Value for money: 0.5/1
I guess “casual” would be the best way to describe both the cuisine style and the crowd. There certainly wasn’t the hushed quietness of some Japanese restaurants I’ve been to, but Busshari also weren’t going out of their way to emulate the hipster crowd of the inner city. Go for a relaxed evening…because sushi and chill, right?
I do absolutely feel like we were thoroughly spoilt by Chef Nobu – who has been at Busshari for the whole 10 years they’ve been open! – and the Busshari team. Chef steadily worked through the many orders that were coming through on the printer, expertly handling the many varieties of fish that they kept on hand.
If you’re into your sake, they also have a Yuzu sake in stock that is so deliciously light, it’s like drinking juice. Highly recommended, if you’re of the Sake persuasion. Trust me, you’ll want to be.
And don’t forget to flash your Washoku Lovers membership when you go to get a free scoop of matcha ice cream! Don’t say I don’t hook you up! ?
Bonus Points: 0.5/1
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 Tamagetaya and Manpuku Ramen! To find out more about the programme and sign up, visit www.washokulovers.com.