I adore little neighbourhood restaurants. They speak comfort and 'home'. When Washoku Lovers and Chef Naoki invited me along for dinner at Kujin, I was excited to see what being dished up.
Elizabeth Bay was like a second home to me as a youngster. My Grandparents lived down the road from Kuijin and I spent many a day exploring the area. I had seen various uses of this space over the years. I hadn't been in this area for some time and it brought back some great memories!
Kujin specialises in Teppanyaki and were treated to views over the teppan grill with Chef Naoki at the grill.
We start with a Yuzushu (Yuzu Sake) and Arogoshi Ringo (Apple Sake). A blend of juice and sake served on the rocks. A great little aperitif to tantle the tastebuds.
Dishes are served as they are prepared. We start with a new menu item. Chilled tomato slow cooked tomato stuffed with tempeh? swimming in a bowl of soy dashi sauce (this can be made vegetarian by omit the fish stock). This was a superb! Cool, fresh and light.
A selection of kushiyaki - chicken thigh in teriyaki sauce, salmon with green tea salt and lemon and prawns with green tea salt and lemon
The chicken is very moorish. The teriyaki is thick and sweet and the chicken has been grilled tender and juicy.
I would say the prawns were my favourite out of the 3 with the earthy green tea salt and a squirt of lemon.
The salmon was good too.
Chef Naoki is manning the teppan grill tonight making his speciality tamagoyaki, which is a Japanese style omelette with dashi and soy.
Here Chef rolls sheets of delicately cooked egg and the roll has multiple layers. He makes it look so easy! It definitely is a work of art and watching Chef cook it was fun! Fluffy layer dipped in dashi soy and freshly grated daikon radish.
Another grill selection is the chicken wing served with salt and cajun spice. The spice sprinkled on the chicken is tasty.
Sampling some sake. Here we start with the Otokoyama "Man's Mountain" sake from Hokkaido and has a +10 scoring (which is better). It's dry and a nice sake (remember I have only recently discovered a like for cold sake).
A large skillet of ok Seafood okonomiyaki Seafood prawn, squid and octopus with tartare sauce on top with bonito flakes and seaweed sprinkled on top. This had a good amount of seafood through it but I found it was smoothered in tartare reminiscent of a filet-o-fish and it wasn't cooked all the way through. It was a little mushy for my liking. Our least favourite dish of the evening.
I fall in love with this cold sake set. The pourer is absolutely devine and and ingenious way to keep the sake cold without it being watered down. The ice is in a glass bowl inside the bottle. I loved it so much I even asked where they found the glass pourers...unfortunately they come from Japan.
The sake served in this is Masumi "Genuine Pureness" from Nagano and is a +5. This is light and lovely and on the dry side.
We finish off with a bowl of chilled udon summer style soup from the specials - house made udon noodles in cold soup with cherry tomato, okra, eggplant, shallots and wakame seaweed. Everything is chilled and fresh and delicous and there are dashi icecubes floating in the cold dashi broth to keep it colder even longer. this was a lovely summer ending to a lovely meal.
The full bowl above and my serving below.
Ending to the meal? Really..no there is always room for icecream. Green tea ice cream in fact. With a lovely toffe like sauce and a dollop or red beans this is the way to end the meal.
If you are a member of Washoku Lovers then you can flash your card a get the ice cream for free. Sign up to Washoku Lovers here.
*roofood and friend dined as guests of Washuko Lovers and Kujin. Thanks for the invitation!