Thinly sliced slightly cooked raw beef with vinegar sauce
I kept hearing about Nakashima and its hidden location down an alleyway in The Rocks, and still I would wonder why I had never stumbled across it in all my travels. As I follow Billy up Argyle Street, in search of dinner after the March into Merivale launch party, he makes a sharp left just before the overpass and proceeds up some stone steps. The restaurant isn't visible from the Argyle Street, but as we come around the bend, there it is. Finally. We meet.
There's an intimate and cosy feel to Nakashima, a small restaurant with tables inside a sparsely deorated dining room, or outside under cover of a huge white canopy shade that's walled with clear plastic sheeting.
Vinegared fried chicken $15.50
Our first dish of the tataki, thin slices of seared beef served with vinegar dressing, is disappointing with its tough and unwielding chewiness. Much more satisfying is the vinegared fried chicken which is tender and juicy, the bubbled and knobbly batter indeed flavoured with vinegar, although only subtly so.
Deep-fried eggplant with sweet bean paste
Shigiyaki is another highlight. Thin wedges of eggplant are deep-fried and then basted with a sweet and salty miso paste that's been caramelised under a grill. The eggplant is soft and yielding, creamy and smooth beneath the bean paste, a sprinkle of sesame seeds adding crunch and a handful of shallots offering a lively countenance.
Pork maki $8.40
Sliced pork rolled around shallots and pan-fried with sweet sauce
We order the pork maki on Billy's recommendation. It's a dish I haven't seen before; thin slices of pork wrapped around stalks of shallots and then pan-fried until golden on the outside. The pork appears to have been tenderised and softened, the meat pairing well with the sweet spring onions.
Sweet red beans and rice cake $6.00
For dessert I couldn't go past the sweet red beans and rice cake. Given the option of hot or cold, I chose hot. The red bean soup reminds me of the Chinese dessert version although this one is like the concentrated version, resplendent with red beans and overwhelmingly sweet. Two mochi rice cakes are stretchy chewy balls of starch satisfaction. I'd recommend having this dessert cold, presuming its sweetness will be less intense.
Cream anmitsu $7.00
Billy has the cream anmitsu, explained by the waitress as "fruit salad with red bean paste and ice cream", and suggestion to which I'd immediately lost interest. Had she explained it was a Japanese-style fruit salad with agar jelly, I might have shown more enthusiasm!
Anmitsu, I've discovered, is a traditional Japanese dessert that includes agar jelly, peaches, pineapple and red bean paste. Served with a scoop of ice cream and a generous piping of fake whipped cream, it's a light and refreshing dessert, the sweetness of the red bean complementing the coolness of agar and creaminess of the ice cream.
View Larger Map
Nakashima Japanese Restaurant
7 Cambridge St, The Rocks, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9241 1364
Lunch - Monday to Friday 12pm - 2.30pm
Dinner - Tuesday to Saturday 6pm - 9.30pm
Related GrabYourFork posts:
Japanese -- Ju Ju, Kings Cross
Japanese -- Kabuki Shoroku, Sydney
Japanese -- Madono, Haymarket
Japanese -- Nippon Club, Sydney
Japanese -- Umaimon, Sydney
The Rocks -- Australian Heritage Hotel (Nov08) and (Apr08)
The Rocks -- Guylian Belgian Chocolate Cafe
The Rocks -- Shangri-La Hotel Cafe Mix
10 comments - Add some comment love
3/07/2009 11:10:00 pm