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Monday, April 12, 2010

Miso, World Square, Sydney

Tonkatsu is not just crumbed pork - it's a religious experience.

With a national cuisine celebrated for its low-fat sashimi, sushi and reviving miso soup, I love that when it comes to deep-fried food, the Japanese really know how to party. Whether it's light and aerated puffs of tempura, or the crunchy satisfaction of a panko crumb coating, there's always a deep appreciation of the elegance that a deep-fryer can bring.

This is why, on my second visit to Miso, I cannot go past ordering the pork tonkatsu again off the menu. The latest addition to the Masuya Group that owns Masuya, Musashi and sushi bar Makoto, Miso is a small modern diner decked out in white and lime green, and always buzzing with patrons.

On a menu that's helpfully accompanied by photos, sashimi sets, udon noodle soups and bento boxes vie for my attention, but really, the pork tonkatsu is the only thing I'm lusting after.

Yaki sakana set $15.80
Grilled mackerel with a touch of mineral salt

The lunch companion for today, Fouad from The Food Blog, has much more self-control. I'm impressed when he orders the yaki sakana or grilled fish set, a serving of mackerel grilled with mineral salt.

We can smell the mackerel as soon as it exits the kitchen, a pungent fishy oiliness that intensifies as soon as it is deposited on our table. The tray holds a multitude of small dishes, a popular dining style known as teishoku, where a main dish is complemented by rice, miso soup and complementary pickles and salads.

Grilled mackerel

The mackerel has quite a strong flavour, its oiliness permeating every mouthful. There's plenty of distraction to be found in the side dishes though, a mound of raw shredded cabbage topped with a splodge of mayonnaise, or two flat sweet slices of tamago, a soft wet rolled omelette made from free-range eggs and dashi stock.

Strips of speckled konyaku, a high-fibre jelly made from the root of a Japanese yam, have a satisfying gelatinous chewiness. A shallow bowl of cooked kiriboshi daikon shreds is sweet with soy and sake.

Tonkatsu pork set $16.80
Free range pork (180g)

The arrival of the tonkatsu pork never fails to set my heart aflutter. Golden in hue and intoxifying in aroma, it sits elevated on a metal rack for optimal crispness, although in my mind, it also acts as an altar as testament to its divinity.

Inside the pork tonkatsu

The pork fillet comes already sliced - ready for your chopsticks to briefly dip it into the saucer of fruity brown tonkatsu sauce before transfer to your anticipating tastebuds. The shards of panko crumbs are what you notice first, a bristling crunch that gives way to the tender pork generously ribboned with the succulence of pork fat. The pork is Otway Pork from Victoria, a free-range breed that is fed a natural grain-based diet.

The richness of the pork is best balanced with mouthfuls of the raw shredded cabbage, cool and palate-cleansing. The teishoku set allows you to hop, skip and jump around your dishes, a bit of rice, a sip of soup, a few nibbles of sweet daikon or the simplicity of mayonnaise-dressed macaroni that is somehow endearing.

Grab your pork I say. It'll always love you back.

View Larger Map
Miso Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Miso Japanese Restaurant
Shop 20, World Square Shopping Centre
123 Liverpool St, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9283 9686

Opening hours:
Lunch Monday to Friday 11.45am - 2.30pm
Dinner Monday to Saturday 5.30pm - 9.30pm

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Pork tonkatsu from Maisen and Tonki, Tokyo

Japanese - Busshari, Sydney
Japanese - Gumshara Ramen, Sydney
Japanese - Iiza, Newtown
Japanese - Ju Ju, Kings Cross
Japanese - Kabuki Shoroku, Sydney
Japanese - Kasumi Izakaya, Sydney
Japanese - Madono, Sydney
Japanese - Nakashima, The Rocks, Sydney
Japanese - Poporo, Haymarket Chinatown
Japanese - Teppanyaki at The Ivy, Sydney
Japanese - Tetsuya's, Sydney
Japanese - Toriciya, Cammeray
Japanese - Wakana Yakiniku, Artarmon
21 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 4/12/2010 04:14:00 am


  • At 4/12/2010 5:28 am, Anonymous Julia said…

    These dishes look amazing!

  • At 4/12/2010 6:38 am, Anonymous Mark @ Cafe Campana said…

    The tonkatsu pork looks seriously good. Whist reading this all I could think is Japanese Schnitzel. I am sure this is not doing it justice. I want its oily goodness.

  • At 4/12/2010 7:19 am, Anonymous john@heneedsfood said…

    I think if you were to roll anything in panko crumbs, fry it and then give it to me ... I'd eat it!

  • At 4/12/2010 8:31 am, Anonymous billy @ a table for two said…

    Love a good piece of tonkatsu pork! Another place I found that do good tonkatsu is Akaneya.

    Oh. Mi-So-Hungry! :P

  • At 4/12/2010 9:20 am, Blogger Betty @ The Hungry Girl said…

    I love musuya, makoto and musashi. So great that they've opened a new one! I'll have to check it out soon! I love all the accompaniments that come with the dish :)

  • At 4/12/2010 9:43 am, Blogger Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)! said…

    You balance out the piece of deep fried pork with a piece of sashimi and a bowl of miso... tada! =D

  • At 4/12/2010 10:02 am, Blogger Why wearing shoes? said…

    I've been to this place it awesome.

  • At 4/12/2010 10:53 am, Blogger Fouad @ The Food Blog said…

    wow, that fish looks amazing. It's making me so hungry, I want to eat it. Not really. The oiliness of mackerel will haunt my dreams for ever. But the photos turned out GREAT! and that pork was quite moist and well cooked. good post and thanks for the mention :)

  • At 4/12/2010 11:35 am, Blogger OohLookBel said…

    Oh, dang. I was just at World Sq yesterday, craving something nice for lunch. I ended up getting a bun from Bread Top :P If only I’d known that pork tonkatsu was only a few steps away...

  • At 4/12/2010 2:26 pm, Blogger Brenda said…

    Oh gosh that looks delicious! I've had lunch already, but this has made me hungry all over again!

  • At 4/12/2010 5:44 pm, Anonymous Craig @ What We Ate Today said…

    Mmm, that pork tonkatsu looks AMAZING! Another place added to the list for my next Sydney trip!

    Free-range makes it even better!

  • At 4/12/2010 6:40 pm, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    heh an altar to the most magical animal! lols 4am post?! grab your pork indeed

  • At 4/12/2010 6:50 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    I love tonkatsu pork as well. Otway pork as well gets to feed in the stunning Otway ranges with views of the famous Great Ocean Road and a sea breeze - those are pampered pigs!

  • At 4/12/2010 7:58 pm, Anonymous Rose said…

    I can get behind any place that does good deep fried stuff. Thanks for the review, looks like they're on my list for a quick dinner soon!

  • At 4/13/2010 10:10 am, Blogger Stephcookie said…

    Ughhh this is making me crave tonkatsu so badly! I've wanted to try this place for a while now, now I need to! Heehee, grab your pork :D

  • At 4/13/2010 1:35 pm, Anonymous Hannah said…

    Oh heavens, that tonkatsu cross-section shot is pornilicious, and I'm not even a huge meat or deep-fried person! (Mmmm, deep-fried person... wait, what? Okay, putting that one down to jetlag.)

  • At 4/13/2010 7:22 pm, Blogger nomnomnibblies said…

    i've been wanting to try out this place! i nearly went in once :(... now your post really makes me want to go even more!

  • At 4/14/2010 2:08 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Julia - Thanks. It certainly made for a tasty lunch!

    Hi Mark - The comparision to pork schnitzel did cross my mind although here the pork is deliberately kept chunky (not flattened) and fat is an important component to the meat. It makes for a delicious tribute to the wonders of pork!

    Hi John - Ha, let me remember that for next time... lol.

    Hi Billy - Have yet to try Akaneya but thanks for the tip! Will have to get there soon.

    Hi Betty - Miso has been open for a while now, but I love that all the restaurants start with M!

    Hi Angie Lies to Eat (and Cook)! - I like your thinking!

    Hi Why wearing shoes? - It's great isn't it? Except I can't go past the tonkatsu!

    Hi Fouad - Ha, and to think I was initially so impressed by your fish bravado! Lunch was fun - we should do it again soon!

    Hi Belle - You'll know for next time although there's a huge calorific leap between a Bread Top bun and the tonkatsu - well worth it of course!

    Hi Brenda - Ah yes, reading food blogs is always dangerous!

    Hi Craig - It's well worth a visit. Hope you make it to Sydney soon!

    Hi chocolatesuze - The most magical animal indeed! And three words: Labour. Of. Love. (lol)

    Hi Gourmet Chick - I was having a look at the Otway website and it looks amazing. A very commendable way of rearing pigs.

    Hi Rose - I'm right with you on the deep-fried love. So much tastiness!

    Hi Stephcookie - I'd been meaning to get to this place for ages too. No photos on my first visit but I wasn't going to miss the opp on my second encounter. And lol, I like bad puns.

    Hi Hannah - lol at deep-fried person! Welcome back! Good to see you back on Aussie shores and we must see you in Sydney - for tonkatsu and so much more!

    Hi nomnomnibblies - I definitely recommend the tonkatsu. Hope you get there soon :)

  • At 4/18/2010 7:23 pm, Anonymous Simon @ the heart of food said…

    Loved the opening line to this post! When the tonkatsu is good, I totally agree :)

    This tonkatsu looks quite nice :)

  • At 4/18/2010 10:24 pm, Blogger Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said…

    Oh, it's been too long since I've experienced the tonkatsu love! Mostly due to pre-wedding constraint, but now that that's out of the way... =p

  • At 4/19/2010 12:36 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Simon - lol. Glad you approve! And weren't you reading - this tonkatsu wasn't quite nice, it was amaaazing! lol

    Hi Mademoiselle Delicieuse - Brides always lose weight in the lead-up to the big day. Now's the perfect time to get into a big serve of tonkatsu, I say! Get some tonkatsu love today :)


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