Posts tagged takoyaki

It’s not easy being green: One Tea Lounge and Grill, Sydney CBD

Sydney Food Blog Review of One Tea Lounge, Sydney CBD: Gyokuro Green Tea

Green Tea is touted to have many health benefits, like antioxidants, and…yeah whatever. To be honest, all I care about is that it’s so DAMNED DELICIOUS.

I know you feel me when I say matcha errthang.

Sydney Food Blog Review of One Tea Lounge, Sydney CBD: Gyokuro Green TeaGyokuro Green Tea

Well, David – owner of One Tea Lounge and Grill – seems to feel the same way, using green tea as a component in 80% of the menu. Of course, it helps that his mum is an expert in the stuff, what with having her own store and all.

From drinks to food, just about everything is tinted a beautiful shade of Jade.

Sydney Food Blog Review of One Tea Lounge, Sydney CBD: Matcha Yuzu Frozen TubesMatcha Yuzu Frozen Tubes

We were spoilt with David getting behind the bar to personally create our cocktails. Using matcha to create a green tea syrup, he then mixes it with tangy yuzu juice and other fruits to create a refreshing mix that’s served up in test tubes, with billowing dry ice for effect.

Sydney Food Blog Review of One Tea Lounge, Sydney CBD: Gyokuro smoked octopus with avocadoGyokuro smoked octopus with avocado

Sydney Food Blog Review of One Tea Lounge, Sydney CBD: Takocini, $9Takocini, $9

Sydney Food Blog Review of One Tea Lounge, Sydney CBD: Matcha Fries ($4 for half serve)Matcha Fries ($4 for half serve)

Sydney Food Blog Review of One Tea Lounge, Sydney CBD: Popcorn curry chicken ($5 half serve)Popcorn curry chicken ($5 half serve)

Food-wise, the small bites ranged from the more obvious Matcha Fries, which were topped with a green tea and nori mixture, to the more subtle Gyokuro smoked octopus with avocado. The octopus was creamy and rich, cut by a light smokiness, and the Popcorn Curry Chicken was a perfect snacking accompaniment to our cocktails.

The Takocini was a particular standout: part arancini (Italian rice balls coated and deep fried) and part takoyaki (Japanese Octopus balls made from a wheat flour batter and fried in a cast iron pan), these little morsels on a bed of green tea mayo was just all moreish. Also high on the so-addictive-it’s-like-crack scale, the Matcha Fries. Served with a curry sauce, it reminded me of my childhood in Singapore where Maccas had curry sauce available to be eaten with a seaweed flavoured bag of fries.

Because you ain’t done fast food till you’ve done Asian fast food.

Sydney Food Blog Review of One Tea Lounge, Sydney CBD: Ramen Burger with Beef, $13.80Ramen Burger with Beef, $13.80

Sydney Food Blog Review of One Tea Lounge, Sydney CBD: Matcha Baoger with Tofu, $13.80Matcha Baoger with Tofu, $13.80

Sydney Food Blog Review of One Tea Lounge, Sydney CBD: Black Pepper Unagi Matcha Bento, $20.80Black Pepper Unagi Matcha Bento, $20.80

On the mains front, they’ve got all the Japanese classics like Bentos, Sizzle Hotplates, and Wagyu Beef, all with a modern twist, of course.

Sydney Food Blog Review of One Tea Lounge, Sydney CBD: Spicy Cheese Pork Sizzle Hotplate, $13.80Spicy Cheese Pork Sizzle Hotplate, $13.80

Sydney Food Blog Review of One Tea Lounge, Sydney CBD: Volcano Wagyu BeefVolcano Wagyu Beef

The Ramen Burger has come a long way since I first tried it at the Night Noodle Markets. The noodle ‘buns’ are satisfyingly crunchy on the outside, and held together really well, even though the beef patty made it a touch too thick to eat as a burger.

For the rice lovers, the Black Pepper Unagi Bento features a soft green tea rice, that adds a very mild and complementary note of bitterness to the whole dish. Or if you prefer a one-dish rice thang, then the sizzling hotplate is something worth ordering. Owner David honestly states Pepper Lunch as his inspiration, and I think you can never have enough of a good thing. He’s changed it up by adding an egg pour, so that you get flecks of hotplate-fried egg through your sizzling rice! Add to that chilli pork and cheese, and you’ve got yourself a cold-weather winner.

And if you’re trying to impress someone – or potentially maim them, haha! – you have to go the Volcano Wagyu Beef. Beautifully marbled pieces of wagyu are seared on a hotplate, and served with a billowing volcano of FIRRRRREEEEEE…and red wine jus. But really, I’m a sucker for theatrics, and the pyrotechnics got me.

Sydney Food Blog Review of One Tea Lounge, Sydney CBD: Matcha Lava Bomb, $20Matcha Lava Bomb, $20

Sydney Food Blog Review of One Tea Lounge, Sydney CBD: Matcha Lava Bomb, $20

The desserts, too, have gotten the matcha treatment. The Matcha Lava Bomb is basically a lava cake that’s had a lovechild with a crepe suzette: the cake gets doused in orange liqueur and set on fire. Cause everything is better when it’s been set on fire.

To be brutally honest, the food, while good, isn’t super amazing. But the whole experience though, is a barrel of fun. David really understands what it means to be a diner, and he makes sure that everything from the service to the ambience is deliberate and thought out. It really speaks to the story behind One Tea Lounge – it’s dedicated to Daisy, David’s fiancee who passed away from cancer last year. It was always her dream to open a restaurant, and really provide the ‘hospitable’ in ‘hospitality’. And I respect that David is trying to carry out her dream.

I would recommend heading down to One Tea Lounge and Grill in a group – it’s much more fun that way. Otherwise, why not say hi to David at their Night Noodle Market stall? It’s not 100% confirmed, but if the previous years are any indication, they’ll be there. =)

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of One Tea Lounge and Grill.
One Tea Lounge and Grill
Upper Ground Floor
73 York Street, Sydney, NSW
Phone: 02 8318 2246

One Tea Lounge and Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

My Favourite Kind of Balls: Tamayaki, Haymarket

Tamayaki, Dixon Street, Haymarket

I remember the first time I’d ever eaten a Takoyaki. My friend and I walked through a Pasar Malam in Singapore – makeshift night markets that are held nomadically in the heartlands of the country – and she disappeared for a moment, coming back with a box of them: mayonnaise-covered balls made from a creamy batter, and filled with bacon and cheese. But I didn’t know that this was a crazy delicious Japanese street snack then.

All I heard were the words “Bacon and Cheese”.

Traditionally filled with octopus pieces – then called Takopachi instead – these balls are basically made with a base of wheat flour batter in semi-spherical cast iron pans, looking like the savoury edgy ancestors of the cake pop. Today, they are filled with such a variety of ingredients and are so omnipresent that they even have them dispensed from vending machines in Japan!

Satay Chicken Takoyaki, $6Satay Chicken Takoyaki, $6

Commonly filled with seafood like prawn and crab, Tamayaki in Dixon St (Haymarket) have spiced up the menu with super cool flavours like Satay Chicken, and Eel (Unagi).

But first, wanna know how they’re made?

Takoyaki getting filled

First the pan gets filled with batter, and then the chosen fillings.

Takoyaki being flipped

Then it gets expertly flipped. Most places use two thin metal skewers to flip and roll these balls into spherical perfection, but no, Tamayaki chooses to use only one, with a Luke Skywalker-wielding-a-light-saber-post-Vader type efficiency.

Mayo being generously applied

These balls are then carefully cooked to be crispy on the outside while still creamy on the inside, and popped into little trays, before being generously doused in mayo-based sauces. The Unagi gets mayo and barbecue, and the Satay Chicken gets a specially formulated spicy satay sauce. Very nice.

Satay Chicken Takoyaki, $6

Watch out for that first bite! Cause, you know, steaming hot insides and all. The Unagi is as delicious as expected, filled with tender eel flesh and smothered in savoury sauce and dried bonito flakes that curl and wave with the heat off the balls. But the Satay Chicken was a surprise favourite. Chicken thigh pieces stand up to being cooked twice very well, and the spicy tangy satay sauce tastes of all the spices that come with authentic satay flavours, and not just a peanut-heavy mess that I see so often. Also available in beef, Tamayaki is really providing a new twist to old favourites.

Mango Juice Ball

And if you’re getting thirsty from all the creamy mayo, Tamayaki also has an extensive drink menu. I tried the very summery Mango Juice Ball – filled with little liquid-filled spheres of mango syrup that burst into your mouth luxuriously the way salmon roe does.

The takoyaki has really come a long way since I first sampled it as a teenager in that bustling, humid, market, and Tamayaki seeks to push the boundaries, and continue on in the Japanese mixture of innovation and traditional techniques. The balls are made fresh to order, resulting in a little bit of a wait for the order to be ready – especially if you’re in a rush. But really, I’ve never been at a tamayaki joint where there wasn’t a wait, so…

Japanese comfort street food for the win!

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Tamayaki.
Shop 36 1 Dixon St
Sydney, NSW 2000
Phone: 0450 290 190

Tamayaki on Urbanspoon