Osaka Bar is located in Potts Point, only a short stroll from Kings Cross station. While it might be in the heart of the red light district, the staff are friendly and every customer is welcomed with a warm greeting from either owner, Chef Kazu or Mari.
Osaka bar brings authentic Osaka soul food to Sydney. Having been there earlier last year, we loved all the food in Osaka. From the okonomiyaki and other various street food in Dotonbori, to the fresh baked goods sold in Daimaru department stores... Osaka really was a treat for us. So with that in mind, our taste buds were preparing to re-live those precious food moments (god, it sounds like I am having a food-gasm right now).
Hidden away in an alley way, it really gives a very Japan-esque vibe. It resembles a lot of smaller bars you may find in Japan, everything from the red lanterns, to the wooden decor and then of course, the bottles of lined up sake!
Kagami mochi cake
We learned about traditional Japanese New Year tradition thanks to Mari. Did you know every household will have a mochi (rice cake) to welcome the new year? How exciting!
Kushi-Katsu - Osaka Authentic Style (deep fried food on skewer coated with bread crumbs)
You can see that we arranged this dish in many different ways for the perfect shot. I think we finally got there only after everyone gave up watching us of course... Kushi Katsu is the Osaka style yakitori where by the ingredients are lightly battered with bread crumbs and fried until golden. We went a little crazy here and ordered TWICE. There were several choices to choose from, we ordered the following: chicken thigh, sausage, prawn, scallop, squid, zucchini, camembert cheese and potato croquette. The kushi-katsu was super crispy and surprisingly it did not leave you with that gross oily aftertaste. The favourites of this dish would have to be the zucchini, scallop and sausage!
Actually, they were all damn good!
Grilled duck confit (Chef Kazu's signature dish)
Hats of to Chef Kazu with his signature dish, the Grilled duck confit. Chef Kazu personally brought this to our table and explained how the duck was cooked using confit and then grilled to a crisp!
The duck was so tender and then it melted in your mouth. It was moist and most importantly, the edges were crispy. While it was odd to have blueberries on the plate, it strangely worked for us as it made the dish quite sweet which worked wonders with the tangy dijon mustard. A well presented dish that ticked all the boxed for us. Make sure to order this dish on your next visit!
Okonomiyaki - Japanese savoury pancake pork
Traditionally, pork is the choice of meat in an okonomiyaki however you might be more used to a seafood okonomiyaki. Osaka bar will make both pork or the seafood option upon request. Unlike the experiences we have seen in Japan where they bring the ingredients out, prepare the dish in front of your eyes and then cook it on a hot plate, Osaka bar prepares and cooks this dish behind the scenes. We thought, so long as it tastes great then we do not mind one bit.
Soaked with the special sauce and drizzled with Japanese mayonnaise, this was legit. This brought us back to Dotonbori (minus the cigarette smoke) and we were fighting over the last bites. While it was great, it was slightly different to what we have tried in Japan. When we questioned Mari, we learned that okonomiyaki can be cooked in various ways depending on the different prefectures in Japan.
Green tea creme brulee served with pear compote
The green tea creme brulee and pear compote were both homemade. The green tea creme brulee is my new favourite thing (step aside pandan creme brulee, you have competition). The sweet aroma filled the room as the sugar was torched in the kitchen. You could literally taste the sweetness of this dish from a mile away. I excitedly smashed the sugar layer and devoured the amazing, ever so smooth, mouthwatering and soothing dessert..... by the way in case you were wondering, it cracked harder than a snitch being questioned!
Samurai Rock: Sake, Lime Juice, Fresh Lime
Shirley Temple: non-alcoholic mixed drink made with ginger ale and a splash of grenadine
Matt (the future alcoholic at this rate) had the Samurai rock, while Christie had the Shirley Temple. The Samurai rock was the signature drink known only to Osaka Bar. It was crisp and perfect to cleanse the palette in between foods. Just make sure to drink it fast before the ice melts!
At this point we were both quite full and satisfied with our meal. We had our photos loaded up on the camera and thought that it might be time to vacate the seat for another guest. We had THOUGHT that of course, until Mari came out asking if we would like to try their large range of Sake. How could we say no?! So with Mari's help, we selected some of the better sake on the menu and went away to taste (and photograph of course).
Dassai Junmai Daiginjo 50
This sake used yamada nishiki which is the best sake rice. It's fresh with a delicate fragrance - very well balanced. This sake can be consumed chilled and natural (but not hot). Mari also shared a story of how the a former American president sourced and served this sake to the Japanese president serving at the time. The Japanese president really liked the sake and since then, it has been specifically exported out of Japan to western countries, making it quite difficult for the Japanese to purchase. Everyone wants to taste this sake, so we feel quite blessed to be sampling it today and it was by far our favourite. The sake was crisp and very dry. It was very easy to drink, which could be quite dangerous in the right circumstances!
Tengumai Yamahaishikomi Junmai
In our opinion, this sake was the strongest out of the three, resulting in it being our least favourite. That could just be because we are beginners and know very little about sake. It resembled a very strong white wine. The more experienced may enjoy this drink more, but unfortunately it wasn't the drink for us.
Sansui Tokubetsu Junmai
This sake is clean, light and smooth. It is just like mountain water because it is very refreshing and easy to drink. It's great for beginners (like us)! This would have to be our second favourite sake.
Kiwami Hijiri - Junmai MOMO Nigori Sake
Did you know like dessert wine, there's such thing as dessert sake? The subtle sweetness and a hint of peach makes this dessert sake a great way to finish for your meal. You almost don't realise that there is any alcohol in this what so-ever.
The traditional presentation of sake is as such. With the cold sake being served in the white sake bottle below, and the warm sake being served in a teapot style bottle.
We would like to thank Chef Kazu and Mari from Osaka Bar for hosting a fabulous lunch and Yuri from Washoku Lovers for organising the event. Once we hit the gym and lose all that excess fat we just gained from eating your food, we will DEFINITELY come back for a second round. To rephrase what Chef Kazu said, you eat -bad food- you die, you don't eat -bad food- you die.
So eat up and enjoy your life!
What a great start to the year!