Black vinegar and honey water $4.80
and mango soda $4.80
Black vinegar on the drinks menu? Even as I read it, I knew I'd be ordering the strangest thing on the menu.
Sushi Samurai is a small but cosy restaurant, timber tables and bench seating clustered in warm and earthy surrounds. It's reasonably busy at lunch and dinner, popular with local residents, nearby workers and Lyric Theatre patrons looking for a pre-show feed.
Meanwhile, the black vinegar and honey drink tastes just as described, the acidic tang of a deep vinegar muted by the toffee sweetness of honey. It's surprisingly refreshing, and a little addictive. It certainly packs more punch than the mango soda which seems a little bland and watery by comparison.
Fried chicken soft bone $8.80
We start with fried chicken soft bones, the cartilage bits you find on the ends of your chicken drumstick battered and deep-fried until golden brown. I've always relished chicken cartilage, and crunching on both the batter and the soft bone is texturally satisfying.
Agedashi tofu $6.80
Agedashi tofu is a serving of three planks of silken tofu dredged with potato flour, deep-fried and served in a dashi stock.
The tofu is delicate and a sprinkle of green onions, grated daikon and sesame seeds add liveliness, but I'm disappointed the gelatinous skin that characterises this dish isn't as stretchy as I'd prefer.
Lotus root chips with chicken salt $8.80
I'd ordered these lotus root chips in the hope they'd be a replica of the crisp snacks I adore at Wagaya. Whilst they look impressive--wheels of lotus root that look like the rotary dial of an old-fashioned telephone--the slices are a little thick and chewy.
Samurai chirashi sushi $16.80
Redemption is found in the chirashi sushi. I thrived on chirashi sushi during uni student days, forgoing the fancy sushi rolls for a lunchbox of rice scattered with an assortment of toppings for the day.
Hunting through the forest of flavours is half the fun. Our chirashi sushi is served in a pretty laquer box, adorned with fresh chunks of tuna, kingfish, raw scallop and prawn.
A layer of microscopically fine omelette shreds adds elegance and a delicate richness. Fish roe--both tobiko flying fish roe and ikura salmon roe--squeak and pop between the teeth.
It's fresh and colourful, nourishing and sustaining. Even a samurai warrior couldn't find fault with that.
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Shop 1 / 16-30 Bunn Street, Pyrmont, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9518 8852
Open 7 days
Dinner from 5.30pm
Also open at Neutral Bay
Shop 5 /197 Military Road, Neutral Bay, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9953 4059
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1/14/2010 01:18:00 a.m.