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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Madono, Haymarket Chinatown Sydney

Wagyu beef sashimi $13.80
Rare cooked Wagyu beef sashimi with lime citrus jelly

EDIT: Madono has now closed

Always keep your eyes peeled in Chinatown. Change is constant. One minute there's Ippon Sushi. The next it's morphed into another buttercup yellow Bread Top.

Change doesn't only happen at street level. Just as you should never forget to look up for hidden treaures, you should also remember to look down. Next door to the newest Bread Top chain there's been a change in the basement - once a hidden seafood restaurant, now it's a Japanese eatery, still hidden unless you look.

Miso soup

A short set of stairs leads you to a cute stepping stone pathway through a bed of slate grey pebbles. Downstairs there's plenty of warm wooden chairs and tables, black shiny walls and a chirpy pink and red wall feature with maple leaf and flower cut-outs. It feels like I'm sitting inside a Japanese metal pencil-case - all cute quirky motifs with splashes of unexplainable happiness.

JSK roll $13.90
Smoked salmon, salmon caviar, semi-dried tomato,
avocado and omelette

Madono describes itself as "progressive Japanese cuisine", a tag we can only presume refers to it's embracing of all things cheese. There's a camembert cheese agedashi tofu, a cheese asparagus chicken cutlet and a House special roll that comes with cream cheese, avocado, omelette and flying fish roe.

Other than that, the menu is reasonably familiar. We start with bowls of complimentary miso soup followed by the wagyu beef sashimi which is unbelievably tender. The lime citrus jelly is soft and yielding, and although I love tobiko flying fish roe, I find the crunch of it detracts from the sublime smooth tenderness of the beef.

The JSK roll is replendent with salmon and fat glisterning pearls of salmon roe. The sushi rice is delicious - plump and sticky and flavoured well. We struggle to find any sign of the semi-dried tomato though.

Crispy veggie chips salad $9.80
Baby veggie with crispy lotus root, beetroot and carrot chips
with sesame vinaigrette

The crisp veggie chips salad is a delicious mix of baby greens with crisp deep-fried discs of vegetable. The beetroot and carrot chips are lovely and sweet and the lotus roots have a subtle nuttiness.

BBQ eel with teriyaki sweet potato $16.80

I'm impressed with the barbecue eel, which is plump and tender. The fatty flesh melts on the tongue, tempered by the salty sweetness of the teriyaki marinade. It lies on a generous bed of sweet potato mash, a smooth puree that possesses that tacky starchiness that the Japanese so do adore (I do too).

Kurobuta pork katsu $14.80
Deep-fried crumbed Japanese high-quality pork loin

The Kurobuta pork katsu is a lesson in deep-fried perfection. Golden crunchy exterior protects the juicy fatty tender pork within. Thankfully there's been some restraint on the tangy barbecue sauce - the crazy squiggle on top is just the right amount.

And that pretty much sums up Madono. Not overly progressive, but perhaps in hindsight, just the right amount.

Madono Progressive Japanese Cuisine (CLOSED)
Lower ground 398-402 Sussx Street
Haymarket Chinatown Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9211 3534

Related GrabYourFork posts:
Fujiya, Haymarket
Kagaya, Hurstville
Kura, Haymarket
Musashi Dining Bar, Haymarket - March 2007 and October 2005
Tomodachi, Haymarket - September 2006 and November 2005
11 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 12/20/2007 01:20:00 am


  • At 12/20/2007 2:40 pm, Blogger desie said…

    very vivid, appetizing pictures. thanks for the info.
    will definitely check this place out.

  • At 12/20/2007 4:26 pm, Blogger ChocolateSuze said…

    i always have issues with cheese in jap food but *drool* the camembert cheese agedashi tofu sounds awesome!

  • At 12/20/2007 11:34 pm, Blogger thanh7580 said…

    Your posts are always so informative and alluring. I love Japanese food and the descriptions and photos have me drooling right now, especially anything to do with beef tartare. I sometimes wish I was in Sydney just so I can try some of the places you review. But then I remember how great the food here in Melbourne is as well and I don't feel so bad.

  • At 12/20/2007 11:43 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi maybahay - Their food did photograph well, which is always a nice thing :)

    Hi chocolatesuze - lol. You, the cheese lover? I'm not sure how camembert will hold up against dashi but hey, I'd give it a go next time :)

  • At 12/20/2007 11:46 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi thanh7580 - aww thanks :) The food was all plated deliciously and the light was surprisingly good too (spot the foodblogger!). And ha, are you trying to start a Melb/Syd war?

  • At 12/21/2007 5:45 am, Blogger Ms One Boobie said…

    I am so envious lah.. ! love all the picutres..!

  • At 12/21/2007 9:02 am, Blogger thanh7580 said…

    Helen, both Melbourne and Sydney have their respective good and bad points.

    I have to say that I used to envy you and your group of food bloggers so much as you would all go out for dinners and events. But lately I've found lots of Melbourne food bloggers who I go out with for dinners and events. There is quite a community feel amongst food bloggers in these two states. I think Queensland and Adelaide are still lacking that community feel due to a lack of numbers.

  • At 12/21/2007 11:03 pm, Blogger Rachel said…

    what a great find!!! very appetizing pictures. Thanks so much for sharing these secret places :)

  • At 12/24/2007 10:32 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi MamaBok - Thanks. Sometimes the food is plated so beautifully the pics are dead easy to take :)

    Hi thanh7580 - Your Melb foodblogger looked great and kudos to Ed for organising it all. We Sydneysiders have been a bit slack in getting together lately. Perhaps in the New Year.

    Hi Rachel - Thanks for coming along for the ride. The need to eat for the readers is such a fantastic (but dangerous) excuse.

  • At 10/05/2009 3:47 am, Anonymous jenn said…

    I loved this place the two times I was here, but seems like it's changed/closed down some time between May and October. :( Now replaced by a place called Nante. I'm not sure whether they have the same items on the menu (change of management, or just design overhaul?) because we were in a bit of a hurry to find another place...the number I called did say they closed at 3am on Saturdays, though. -wry-

  • At 10/06/2009 12:27 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Jenn - Yes you're correct, Madono has now been replaced by Nanta. I've eaten there - will hopefully get a chance to post some pics soon!


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