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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Busshari Authentic Japanese Restaurant, Potts Point

There's nothing like a pre-dinner show to whet the appetite.

At Busshari, in Potts Point, it feels like you're entering a cabaret show. We enter the darkened entrance to be seated in a dimly lit room, the ceiling festooned with paper lanterns and the only bright lights directed over the sushi counter, clearly the centre stage.

A row of patrons, mostly young and well-heeled, line the sushi counter, eating and chatting to each other amiably. The sushi chef works silently, slicing sushi with the precision of a loving surgeon.

Our group of eight is seated at an adjacent table, and throughout dinner I can't resist turning around to keep an eye on the sushi chef performance. The blow torching of scampi is a show highlight, but ultimately, the non-stop flow of dishes, from raw seafood to shimmering jewels seemingly plucked from the sea, is unfailingly mesmerising.

Stone chopstick rest

Plum sake $13

We start with drinks, a plum sake tasting higher in alcohol content than the usual umeshu plum wine, but still pleasantly sweet. A triple shot glass sake tasting by others puts a fire in respective bellies, but I'm most impressed by my citrus shochu, a sweet almost sherbetty drink that is served in a gorgeous blue and white glass that reminds me of Morocco.

Sake tasting $15
Ginban, mikotsuru and jokigen

Uchiko yuzu citrus shochu $4

Kingfish carpaccio (fish of the day) $17

Kingfish carpaccio is the first dish to arrive, a pathway of fillet slices with the faintest pink blush. The fish is sweet and firm, refreshed by the trail of accompanying sauces and a quivering blob of yuzu jelly.

Grilled eggplant with miso paste $12

Grilled eggplant is always one of my favourites. The eggplant half is full and round, drizzled generously with two types of miso. The creamy flesh is devoid of any bitterness, and so soft it's almost scoopable. I'm such an eggplant fan I usually end up eating the skin as well.

Soft shell crab karaage (2 crabs) $16

Soft shell crab karaage is another crowd-pleaser. The spider-like tentacles are perfectly crunchy and without oily residue. We douse ours with lemon and dip it into the accompanying saucer of salt and pepper.

Tuna tataki salad $20

Tuna tataki salad is the kind of dish pescatorians must dream about. A long fillet of tuna has been uniformly seared to only a few millimitres deep, the succulent mouthfuls dressed with a towering mountain of greens and the finest shavings of daikon and carrot.

Tasmanian sushi roll $14
Ocean trout, avocado, chives, cucumber and salmon caviar

Sushi rolls arrive next. The Tasmania sushi roll, with its deep pink fillet of ocean trout and spears of cucumber and avocado, has a surprise inclusion of cream cheese, the saltiness enhancing the flavour of the ocean trout. It seems an odd addition at first, but in hindsight, it's not dissimilar to a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel combination.

Dragon sushi roll $14
Grilled eel, avocado, cucumber, omelet and sweet soy sauce

The Dragon sushi roll is always an impressive sight. Another inside-out roll, the fillets of fatty eel, grilled with a sweet soy marinade until it glistens, is a complement to the clean flavours of avocado, cucumber and tamago omelette.

Prawn tempura (4 pieces) $16

Seasonal vegetable tempura $17

Tempura prawns and assorted vegetables are coated in a light and fluffy crispy fried batter. The vegetable tempura has a particularly interesting selection, including shiitake mushroom, okra and a delicately fanned eggplant.

Chef's selection sashimi plate $29

The Chef's selection sashimi is presented in a beautiful earthenware trough - the heavy and handcrafted tableware is something that stands out with each dish. At first we'd jealously spotted this dish emerging it from the sushi kitchen, marvelling at its lucky recipients, before realising it was actually our own order!

The pillows of fish are fanned and draped seductively over perilla leaves, beside wasabi towers and beneath bouncy coils of carrot and daikon. The raw scallop is fragrantly sweet, the tuna a luscious shade of dark pink.

Deep-fried flounder $25

The deep-fried flounder immediately reminds me of the snapper I'd seen demonstrated at Ocean Room. Everyone else leaps on the battered fish fillets but I'm most looking forward to eating the deep-fried bones. There's a satisfying snap as you break off a section of the tail, the skeleton cooked so the entire thing is like a deep-fried chip. It's also amazing to watch the remains of the fish disappear from the plate and into our bellies - until only the hard skull of the head remains.

Sushi knives

Patrons at the sushi counter

We must be the hungriest diners in the establishment as we're still ready to order more food. We note that the tables around us seem to be eating much less than us, but that doesn't stop us ordering more with gusto.

Karaage chicken on harusame noodle nest $15
Deep-fried chicken marinated in garlic, ginger and soy
served with roasted spring onion sauce

Karaage chicken is disappointingly served off the bone, a thigh fillet marinated and deep-fried. It comes on a forest of deep-fried vermicelli noodles, and whilst the chicken is tasty, secretly I pine for the pile of messy finger-licking chicken bones.

California sushi roll $14
King prawn, avocado, cucumber, Japanese mayonnaise and red tobiko

California sushi is plump with King prawn, avocado and cucumber, creamy with sweet Japanese mayonnaise and covered in a sparkle of red tobiko that squeak on the teeth.

Chef's selection sushi plate $28

The Chef's selection sushi plate arrives on earthenware cleverly crafted to resemble a length of tree. I'm lucky enough to score the uni nigiri, a quivering mass of buttery sea urchin roe on a pillow of rice. I'm impressed too by the sushi rice, which has just enough vinegar to give it flavour, with a texture that is sticky without being soggy.

Rainbow sushi roll $15
Tuna, king fish, ocean trout, king prawn, cucumber and avocado

Rainbow sushi roll is a kaleidoscope of colours. The fillets of tuna, king fish, ocean trout and king prawn are curled around the sushi rolls effortlessly and with elegance.

Seafood sizzling tobanyaki $29
Assorted seafood and vegetables with ponzu and soy

More food? Of course there was.

Tobanyaki means to cook on a ceramic plate, much like a sizzling dish but with the action at your table. The square clay burners have plenty of appeal, the charred and war-ravaged version holding our seafood dish even more so. The seafood sizzling dish offers fillets of tuna which alas, I find a touch overcooked and dry, possibly an error on our part than the kitchen.

Premium wagyu sirloin sizzling tobanyaki $39
Pure bred Wagyu, marble score +6 with vegetables with ponzu and sweet soy

Much more exciting is the premium wagyu sirloin. The thick chunks of fat-ribboned flesh are melt-in-the-mouth tender. Even the ones that linger on til the end, cooked to a well-done state, are still soft and juicy. There's also a welcome spectacle of cooking at the table too, along with the always-impressive presence of fire.


Blowtorch action

Sesame tart $7.50

Dessert? Absolutely.

We order almost one of everything. I'd been intrigued to try the sesame tart, but upon tasting it doesn't have the strong black sesame flavour I'd hoped for, overshadowed by the layer of toasted sesame seeds on top.

Mont Blanc aux Marrons $9
Chestnut puree with vanilla mousse

Mont Blanc aux Marrons is easily the most visually impressive. A beehive of piped chestnut puree hides an interior of fluffy vanilla mousse that tastes a little alcholic. The chestnut is sweet and intense.

Pumpkin mousse brulee $7.50

Pumpkin mousse brulee had also piqued our interest. It arrives in a small pot covered in a thin shell of caramelised toffee. The mousse has a subtle pumpkin flavour, a variation that works surprisingly well.

Black sesame ice cream $6.50

Plum wine sorbet is light and refreshing and we revel in the incredible silkiness of green tea and black sesame ice cream. Little cubes of mochi, cool and pleasantly squidgy, are a welcome addition on each dessert plate.

Green tea ice cream $6.50

View Larger Map
Busshari on Urbanspoon

Busshari Authentic Japanese Restaurant
119 Macleay Street, Potts Point, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9357 4555

Opening hours:
Dinner Monday to Saturday 6pm-11pm

Related GrabYourFork posts:
Potts Point - Doma Bohemian Beer Cafe
Potts Point - Mere Catherine
Potts Point - Prague Czech Beer Restaurant
Potts Point - Yellow Bistro & Food Store
24 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 1/05/2010 03:19:00 am


  • At 1/05/2010 4:37 am, Blogger joey@forkingaroundsydney said…

    I love the desserts here! I haven't been back for a long time but the place seems to be even better than I remember; everything looks really good. Thnaks for all those photos in the dim environment and the comprehensive review.

  • At 1/05/2010 7:33 am, Anonymous Dave -nibbleanibble said…

    Presentation is a wow but the price is even a bigger wow.

  • At 1/05/2010 7:51 am, Blogger Shanks said…

    Totally with you on the fish-bone chips lol!! Fantastic photos.

  • At 1/05/2010 9:11 am, Anonymous billy@atablefortwo said…

    oh my god, so much food! The price isn't too bad actually for I can see the food is very fresh and well presented.

    Now I am sad that I turned down the invitation. Oh well, next time. :)

  • At 1/05/2010 9:19 am, Anonymous John said…

    Can you hear my stomach rumbling?
    Incredible. The food looks exquisite.

  • At 1/05/2010 9:27 am, Blogger AY said…

    Oh wow, the eggplant and soft shell crab look amazing (as do the others!) but these definitely caught my attention. This is the restaurant that Yas has a friend working as a sushi chef at right? Oh dear, yet another place to add to my increasing list of places to dine at. It's so hard to save money these days! HAHA

  • At 1/05/2010 10:17 am, Blogger YW said…

    what a feast! Very interesting desserts.. sesame tart.. chestnut puree, don't see them much at other places

  • At 1/05/2010 10:40 am, Blogger Stephcookie said…

    Wow you guys ordered heaps! Sounds like you had a great view from your table, I wouldn't have been able to stop watching either. I must try Busshari soon, I love Japanese desserts and their selection looks pretty good. And I'm a sucker for a good miso eggplant.

  • At 1/05/2010 10:42 am, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    oh man how good was the eggplant! and the wagyu!

  • At 1/05/2010 10:53 am, Anonymous Sara (Belly Rumbles) said…

    All looked so amazing and delicious. I am always a sucker for eggplant, love it too. Busshari is on my to do list now. Photos were great.

  • At 1/05/2010 11:01 am, Anonymous Leona said…

    wow this place looks pretty good! Will have to keep this place in mind and try this one day. Looks really good.

    The deepfried flounder and the sizzling dishes look really good!

  • At 1/05/2010 11:26 am, Anonymous grace said…

    haha love that chestnut puree, I thought it was a coil of brown soba noodles at first

  • At 1/05/2010 1:10 pm, Anonymous Hannah said…

    So I was all prepared to comment about how much I love finding sashimi (or "carpaccio, if you will) with white fish rather than the standard salmon and tuna, but... the desserts! The desserts!!

    I fell head over heels in love with Mont Blancs in Japan, and it pains me that it's been years since I've had one! Envy....

  • At 1/05/2010 2:55 pm, Blogger missklicious said…

    Everything looks amazing. Definitely on my list of places to try. Seems pretty affordable too!

  • At 1/05/2010 7:41 pm, Blogger Locomoco's eating world said…

    I've never heard the resto but it's definitely on my resto list to visit in 2010!

  • At 1/05/2010 8:30 pm, Blogger Kate said…

    The sushi rolls look amazing! I can see why you kept ordering. Im yet to try Japanese ice cream. Knowing me tho, id love it so much I wouldn't be able to stop. What would be your favourite sushi place- quality and value for money?

  • At 1/05/2010 10:26 pm, Blogger WX said…

    wow the sushi looks amazing. I'm a huge fan of eggplant as well so I'm dying to get my hands on some of that grilled eggplant.
    Thanks for the review!

  • At 1/05/2010 10:48 pm, Anonymous Trissa said…

    I HAVE to go here - the food looks amazing - I am in love with the deep fried flounder!

  • At 1/06/2010 3:24 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Joey - I love a good dessert menu too. So nice to have a few more options in addition to the usual green tea and black sesame ice creams! It really was quite dark in there - not very photo-friendly at all :)

    Hi Dave - Prices do seem high, but they are on par with the area, and the food was quite fresh and plated beautifully.

    Hi Shanks - I was saying on that night that I prefer the bones to the flesh. lol.

    Hi Billy - It didn't seem that much food on the night, but editing the photos - I can't believe we fit all that in.

    And you should know better - always a feast when we're involved :)

    Hi John - Hope you managed to find something to satiate your appetite :)

    Hi AY - I love eggplant and soft shell crab too, and yes, Yas knows the chef here. Hope you get here sometime!

    Hi YW - I always have a sweet tooth and it was interesting to see a few different desserts on a Japanese menu. Chestnut puree is always a weakness of mine too.

    Hi Stephcookie - Ha, we seemed to be constantly ordering all night but I think that's what happens when you put Yas and Howard in charge of ordering. lol.

    Hi Chocolatesuze - Mmm the eggplant was brilliant and really impressed with the wagyu. So tender and soft.

    Hi Sara - Ha, everyone loves their eggplant. Yay! I keep meaning to make my own version sometime. Hope you get there soon and thanks, the lighting was crazy dim so pleased with how they turned out.

    Hi Leona - The flounder was a highlight (yum, fish bones) and sizzling dishes are always fun!

    Hi grace - lol. Soba noodle dessert would be an interesting one indeed!

    Hi Hannah - Always good to have a range of sashimi, although I always go for the scallops, myself :)

    Hi missklicious - Hope you get there soon :) Quite a few interesting dishes, and the decor and plating are pretty cool.

    Hi Locomoco's eating world - That's the great thing about Sydney - so many restaurants to try!

    Hi Kate - Oh that's a tough one. I actually don't go out for sushi that often, but I like Kura which is cheap and cosy.

    Hi WX - The sushi was great and lol, never knew there was so many eggplant fans out there!

    Hi Trissa - The deep-fried flounder was fantastic, and definitely one of those dishes you'd find hard to recreate at home.

  • At 1/06/2010 5:36 am, Blogger Yas @ hungry.digital.elf. said…

    Me and my Japanese friends often end up eating at Busshari and this is our favourite place. (not just because we've got friends working there.)

    my god, Tobanyaki (the wagyu beef) and eggplant are my favourites!

    So, uh, you decided not to mention about the second dinner afterward? LOL

  • At 1/06/2010 7:22 am, Anonymous Veruca Salt said…

    Everything looks so good. I haven't had yummy Japanese in ages.

  • At 1/06/2010 6:48 pm, Blogger Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said…

    My goodness, so much good-looking food! *swoon*

  • At 1/07/2010 5:53 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    This japanese Restaurant looks amazing and at a very affordable price compared to some of the top Japanese restaurants in the City. The food all looks so fresh and the presentation is top quality. Great Blog! I will definately be making visit very soon!

  • At 1/07/2010 9:05 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Yas - What second dinner? lol. That would just be gluttony! shhh... you know nothing!

    Hi Veruca Salt - Methinks that will be rectified very soon :)

    Hi Mademoiselle Delicieuse - It was a long and delicious meal. We covered much of the menu but there was still plenty more!

    Hi Stuart Webber - The price were quite reasonable especially given the freshness of the seafood. Hope you enjoy your visit :)


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