Izakaya Yebisu | Sydney CBD

Izakaya Yebisu restaurant takes us back to Japan. The ambiance, culture and food definitely makes you question why we ever left Japan in the first place. So excited to see Japanese culture in the heart of Sydney. You can find Izakaya Yebisu in Regents Place. 

Izakaya Yebisu has a wide range of mocktails available at an affordable price. Yuri from Washoku Lovers invited us down to sample some of the dishes, so she joined us for a mocktail! Matt chose the Grape mix, Yuri chose the mojito; and I chose the Lychee mocktail (as always).

Now that we have our palettes refreshed. Bring on the food!
How could we possible pass up the opportunity to have a bento box lunch set?! Both Christie and myself thoroughly enjoy the idea of a Bento box, how you are treated to multiple smaller side dishes to accompany your main dish. It really gives your taste buds a work out, so we both decided to choose a bento set!

Pork Cutlet Bento Box (new item to the menu)
It was a hard choice deciding what to order but I couldn't go pass the pork cutlet bento box. It was so tasty and I love the egg and sauce in the rice. The pork cutlett was nicely cooked and so moist inside. However Matt made me a little jealous of his Karrage Chicken!! I just had to steal a bite (or two)

Chicken Karaage Bento box with Miso Soup (new item to the menu)

Karaage chicken is one of our favourite Japanese dishes. It is essentially chicken that has been deep fried in a thick layer of batter and it tastes 100x better than any deep fried chicken you will find in a western restaurant. It is normally served up with mayo and rice, with an accompanying side of salad, miso soup and daikon. The batter on the chicken was quite light, which isn't what you would normally expect from a karaage chicken. That said, I think I preferred the lighter batter as you could actually enjoy the chicken!

Chikunzenni originated from Northern Kyushu and is a dish made of braised chicken and vegetables. It's often eaten as a celebratory meal for the new year.

Both of us are not your average fan of sashimi. Christie will eat it on the odd occasion, but Matt will avoid it like the plague. Christie wasn't feeling fishy today, so instead insisted that Yuri enjoy it!

 Furofuku Daikon
Furofuku Daikon is a traditional Japanese dish in which simmered daikon is served with miso sauce. Daikon is actually quite popular in Japanese cuisine and for good reason. It is damn tasty! The miso sauce made it a touch sweet so it did help break up the flavour of the chicken mains.

Japanese Salad
Who doesn't like salad? Well Christie for one, but when it comes to a Japanese style salad, we end up fighting for the last bite. This salad was slightly different though as it had a white sauce dressing rather than the usual oil, vinegar and onion. It was nice, but it actually made it feel a bit heavy on the stomach.

 Natto sushi
Natto sushi is a traditional Japanese food made from soybeans fermented with bacillus subtilis. Natto is most popular in the eastern regions including kanto, tohoku and hokkaido. We didn't actually know, but it is SWARMING with bacteria (the good kind of course) which means that it is really good for your health. It tasted quite bland and wasn't one of our favourite dishes of the sitting, however knowing that it is good for you, we might be purchasing this again.

Tempura ice cream puff (new item to the menu)
Can I just take a moment to take a step back and make sure I wasn't dreaming, that this experience was real. You bet you that it was! You have heard of deep fried ice cream time after time (when you fall I will catch you I'll be.... eating). This takes the game to a whole new level!
Introducing the Tempura ice cream puff!! The batter was thick, chewy and everything you would hope a dessert tempura to be. Then when you crack it open, you get a chilling (no pun intended) surprise of vanilla ice cream! Not only that, it is quite chap and will be PERFECT for when summer hits!

We have always wanted to try Yebisu and luckily enough we were invited by Washoku Lovers. Thank you for treating us again to another amazing feast. As you can read, we thoroughly enjoyed the food and highly recommend Yebisu to all our readers!

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Washoku Lover's Kitchen with Raita Noda

Yuri from Washoku Lovers invited us to watch and be amazing by the experienced cooking of Chef Raita Noda. This experience was felt like it came straight out of MasterChef (MasterClass). You can so imagine what an eyeopener and experience cooking alongside a chef like Raita Noda in the kitchen was for both of us. 

Raita Noda Former executive chef at Ocean room, recently opened Raita Noda Chef’s Kitchen (where the seats are booked out several months ahead). 
If you would like to read more about Raita Noda, click here

This cooking class was held at the Sydney Seafood School. Don't worry, there's no fishy smell inside! Yes that's something I was worrying about because Matt is not a seafood fan. Although he's getting better! If you attend any day sessions, you will see a picturesque view from the dining room. 
Something really cool (I thought) was that each area was sectioned out i.e. you would start off with the demonstration area (above), then make your way to the kitchen (behind the closed doors) and finally hide away in private setting at the dining room.

Anyway let's get started!

Upon arrival you are greeted with the ever so lovely people from Washoku Lovers. They would provide you with an apron and Tanabata (where you can write a wish and hang it on a bamboo tree). We wished that everyone has a full belly by the end of the night :)

Each participant was greeted with a Choya Sparkling (drink recipe found here) 
We had the classic Choya fruit liquer with umeshu (plum). Yes, it was sweet and a great way to start the evening. We were skeptical to eat the choya as we had no idea what it was at that time!

Look at all that fresh produce....
The Wagyu beef is amazing and well worth the price point of $150 a kilo!!!

Chef Raita Noda demonstrated how to cook Osawa Wagyu Sukiyaki (recipe link below), and his own signature seafood dishes. He also showed us a method of washing rice. Yes, you read right. It's pretty usual in asian households to wash rice but I've never been exposed to this method of refining white rice!

I wash my rice until the water turns clear (was taught from my parents). But that's not the case!
The rice needs to be gently massaged, rinse and repeat for about 3 - 4 times. I was thinking to myself.. it's just rice right? How can washing it, massaging it and repeating the process make the rice taste different? THERE IS A DIFFERENCE!!! 
The rice tasted firmer and less gluggy... it's so hard to describe. 
Try it for yourself!

Raita’s Original Wagyu Sukiyaki
Seeing that we cooked what we ate, I think it tasted pretty good. But I'm sure my opinion will change once I taste Chef Raita's cooking. What brings the dish together is definitely that delicious sukyaki sauce, and of course the love and effort Matt put into rolling and cooking it. =P
Matt tried making this over the weekend and it was a success! Very easy to follow :) 
You can make it yourself. 
Recipe can be found here

The flames were turned up quite high at the event. Literally. 
We even had a guest appearance fro the fire department who made it in great timing once the fire alarm was accidentally set off. 

Table Smoked Zuke Marinated Blue Fin Tuna Sashimi
This was the spotlight of the night. The flames and smoke made our experience from 'WOW' to 'WOW FREAKING AMAZING' It's such an privilege to witness this style of cooking. 
Want to test this out yourself? 
Recipe can be found here

And finally, we have the traditional wagyu sukiyaki. This perfect warm hearty soup would be ideal right now. Go on, warm yourself up. 
Here's the recipe for you
Now it's our turn to cook! Good joke (some of our friends would say). My first experience of cooking without guidance ended up with a burnt chicken wing (still raw inside). So yes, I was damn nervous cooking in a group. BUT MATT WAS HERE TO SAVE THE DAY. 
Clearly we know who the better cook is in the relationship.

Below we took some shots of us making Raita's Original Wagyu Sukiyaki.

Matt's rolling the rice and inside-out style with nori and kinoko gohan. Remember to wet your hands when dealing with rice, or you will end up with more rice on your hands then on the seaweed!

Once Matt completed rolling the rice, I wrapped the roll with wagyu slices and off we went to the hot plate (see, I helped).

Sizzle away lovely wagyu rolls....mmmmm

Next up is the quail station. Have you ever tried to break an uncooked quail egg? There's a special quail egg scissors that you can buy (great way to avoid wasting a quail egg). 

We were amazed when we found out that you could tempura quail eggs! Who would think that it would work so perfectly? These little additions were AMAZING and worked perfectly with the wagyu sakiyaki!

We had assistance from Chef Raita himself with the Table Smoked Zuke Marinated Blue Fin Tuna Sashimi dish. Whenever in doubt, leave it the the professional!

After cooking our meal, we proceeded to the next room. 
The dining room

The night finished off with Sake master Andre Bishop. We had a fun night, watching, cooking and enjoying our meal and experience at Washoku Lovers Kitchen.

This clam soup was so clear and yet it was packed with flavour. 
You didn't even have to eat the clams to enjoy this soup. 
You would be glad to know that the recipe can be found here!

Finally we finished off with dessert (everything has to finish with dessert right?) 
Kochi Yuzu Granita With Yuzu Gelée Kochi Yuzu Juice
Bursting with flavours from every member of the citrus family you can think of. It is a little bowl of happiness! We had no idea what we were eating at this point, but all we knew was that we enjoyed it.

We even got to take home our own Omiyage Gift Bag which included Osawa Wagyu Sukiyaki Beef (500g), Kikkoman Sukiyaki Sauce and a Choya classic umeshu. 
Boy... we are getting spoiled by Yuri!!

Thank you again Yuri for inviting us to attend this event. 
Yuri's passion to share with everyone the Japanese Food Culture is admiring and inspirational. 

Have you heard of Washoku Lovers before? Do you love Japanese food? There's a high chance that you already dined at one of Washoku Lover's partnered restaurants. 
There's great benefits so don't forget to check it out and get your membership card!

Take care everyone and stay warm!