Teriyaki chicken udon set $9.50
I have to admit it. Japanese food is my weakness. Steaming bowls of ramen, quivering fresh sashimi, the sticky sweetness of sushi rice and fat chewy strands of udon. Japanese cuisine is all about simplicity and satisfaction, presented with the visual beauty of an inspired artist.
Age gyoza $4.50
Daruma Japanese Restaurant in the Prince Centre is busy with students and office workers on a weekday lunch. A sign in the window promises a "new menu coming soon!" but today we are offered a laminated menu, a single-sided colour page with photos.
We start with age gyoza, deep-fried dumplings filled with pork mince and vegetable. The extra crisp pastry is noticeably thin and crisp -- more like a spring roll wrapper than the usual dumpling skin.
Seafood tempura $4.50
Seafood tempura arrives in a woven bamboo basket that is plonked directly onto a table, rather than arriving a tray. We find prawn, fish, eggplant, pumpkin and zucchini and though the batter is a little heavy and oily, the serve is generous for the price.
I wash it down with Calpis, the milky drink that tastes like a watered down version of Yakult. Its slight acidity is perfect for cleansing the palate. I can never resist this revered Japanese drink on the menu.
Salmon variety box $14.80
The Extra has gone for the teriyaki chicken udon, a huge bowl of swollen udon noodles nestled beneath teriyaki chicken pieces. To the side is a serve of inari sushi, rice tucked inside a deep-fried aburage tofu pocket.
I'm craving sushi and order the salmon variety box, a series of square compartments offering salmon sashimi, salmon nigiri and salmon sushi rolls.
A hexagonal bowl holds agedashi tofu, a deep-fried block of tofu coated in a gelatinous skin that is sweet with dashi. A huddle of salad provides enough greenery to surely counteract the deep-fried entrees.
Japanese food is my weakness. What's yours?
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Daruma Japanese Restaurant
Level 1, Prince Centre
8 Quay Street, Haymarket
Tel: +61 (02) 9281 2889
Monday to Friday 10.30am-9pm
Saturday and Sunday 12pm-9pm
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12/16/2010 05:18:00 a.m.