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Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Iiza, Newtown

EDIT: Iiza has closed

The popular Iiza Japanese izakaya (or tavern) on buzzing King Street is always filled with people, but not many patrons realise there's a private dining area upstairs available for groups.

Function menus range in price from $35-$50 per person with a minimum of ten people. The room can accommodate up to forty, seated on wooden benches.

Tempura prawn sushi roll in egg crepe

We've opted for Function Menu A, an eight-course offering for $35 per person, and climb the steep stairs at the back of the restaurant to find the second floor dining room all to ourselves.

Edamame, a bowl of steamed soy beans sprinkled with sea salt, provides a simple start, the bright green pods squeezed gently to extract each legume. 

A couple of dietary requirements (no raw seafood) had been pre-advised to staff, who were more than happy to provide alternate dishes to the standard menu. Hence the standard sashimi tuna rolls are replaced with tempura prawn sushi for some, although raw tobiko flying fish roe presumably escaped the attention of staff.

Sushi roll with tuna and avocado

Chef's selection sashimi platter

The Chef's selection sashimi platter provides a generous assortment of raw salmon, tuna, kingfish and scallop.

Soft shell crab (sashimi alternative dish)

The cooked seafood eaters are provided with a soft shell crab salad which several of us may have plundered mercilessly.


I love the presentation of the gyoza, six golden crescents nestled in a wooden tray. The skins are thin and crisp, and the filling is soft and juicy.

Agedashi tofu

Agedashi tofu was a dish to share, the potato starch-dusted cubes of silken tofu drenched with a sweet dashi stock and served on a bed of green tea noodles.

Green tea noodle salad

Green tea noodle salad provides more carbs, although the light and zingy soy and onion dressing on top gives it a refreshing tone.

Teriyaki chicken

By the time the teriyaki chicken arrives, we are starting to struggle. The marinated chicken thighs have a lovely caramelisation to the edges, and the dish of teriyaki sauce on the side is appreciated, allowing us to individually control the sweetness of our serving.

Crispy seafood and vegetable tempura

The tempura arrives last, an ode to everything that is glorious about deep-fried. Eggplant, sweet potato, prawns and vegetable kakiage are coated in a wondrously light and crispy batter than makes an audible crunch with each bite. A saucer of green tea salt provides a seasoning boost.

Green tea ice cream with red bean $6.50

Dessert isn't part of the banquet menu, but we'd organised for an extra course of green tea ice cream, topped with a scoop of adzuki red bean paste and shards of deep-fried pastry, that provides a fitting finish.

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Iiza on Urbanspoon

184 King Street, Newtown, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 8095 9260

Opening hours:
Monday to Sunday 6pm-11pm

Function Menu A: 8 courses $35pp (10-40 people)
Function Menu B: 9 courses $45pp (10-40 people)
Function Menu Special: 9 courses $50pp (10-40 people)

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Iiza, Newtown (Mar10)

Congratulations to Kate who has won a 12-month subscription to the Stonesoup Virtual Cookery School worth $199.
22 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 7/06/2011 07:45:00 am


  • At 7/06/2011 8:38 am, Anonymous Tina@foodboozeshoes said…

    I want that agedashi tofu and gyoza!

    lol - I thought that was grated cheese over the red bean and green tea ice cream... hmmm!

  • At 7/06/2011 9:01 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I love food at Iiza but had no idea of their functions menu. Thanks for letting us know, dishes look lovely.

  • At 7/06/2011 9:23 am, Blogger Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said…

    Look forward to sampling the food there tonight!

  • At 7/06/2011 9:40 am, Blogger Jay said…

    My favourite here is the kingfish wing nitsuke. I usually end up drinking the leftover sauce like a soup!

  • At 7/06/2011 9:41 am, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    heh i thought it was cheese on the ice cream too! oh man i heart green tea salt it's just crazy addictive!

  • At 7/06/2011 10:09 am, Blogger Mel said…

    I love Iiza, but had no idea they had a private room upstairs. The banquet doesn't look too shabby.

  • At 7/06/2011 10:31 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I've always wondered about this place while eating burritos across the road. I think I'll give it a try next time! :D

  • At 7/06/2011 10:58 am, Anonymous john@heneedsfood said…

    Ditto with Peter G! Although it will be my tenth visit!

  • At 7/06/2011 11:24 am, Blogger joey@forkingaroundsydney said…

    I have a hankering for Jap food now!

  • At 7/06/2011 12:12 pm, Anonymous Dumpling Girl said…

    I love the look for the gyoza, all snuggled up in that wooden bowl.

  • At 7/06/2011 12:42 pm, Blogger Hungry Female said…

    I've really only seen green tea salt in Japanese restaurants in Australia, definitely one thing the rest of the world needs to adopt! Izakayas and yakitoris are the way to go:)

  • At 7/06/2011 2:08 pm, Anonymous Hannah said…

    Is it weird that I was slightly disappointing to discover that the garnish on the dessert was pastry, not grated cheese? I was so excited to think it was cheese....

  • At 7/06/2011 4:10 pm, Anonymous Lil said…

    Mm looks like typical but comforting Japanese food.

  • At 7/06/2011 5:44 pm, Anonymous sara (Belly Rumbles) said…

    It is always great to find out where there are private rooms, specially for smaller numbers. I love the presentation of the gyoza as well.

  • At 7/06/2011 8:04 pm, Anonymous Anna @ TheLittlestAnchovy said…

    This place looks great. I love the soft shell crab it looks so crispy :)

  • At 7/06/2011 10:47 pm, Blogger A cupcake or two said…

    When I go to a Japanese Restaurant the first thing I do is check out their plates. The Gyoza is presented beautifully and I have to have that Wooden Tray. In fact I am ringing them in the morning to uhhmm find out where I can get one :) 35 to 50 for Japanese is pretty reasonable. I have to check this out for myself..

  • At 7/07/2011 12:43 pm, Blogger Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said…

    Had dinner here for a family member's birthday not long ago and didn't even realise there was an upstairs area! Given the quality of their food, this is excellent value.

  • At 7/07/2011 2:19 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ooh been meaning to try this place for a while now but Newtown so farr hahah. I shall def get round to this place sometime tho and the esp since the function menus are pretty cheap!

  • At 7/07/2011 4:36 pm, Anonymous Nic@diningwithastud said…

    Mmmmmm gyoza! I didnt know that about upstairs. Good tip for birthdays :)

  • At 7/07/2011 6:35 pm, Anonymous purabi naha said…

    Everything looks so appealing about this restaurant. Japanese food is considered very healthy. Green tea noodle salad sounds so unique! You have a great blog and your food photos left me drooling!

  • At 7/08/2011 10:49 am, Blogger Phuoc'n Delicious said…

    All that for $35pp?! That's really good value for good that looks this good. I keep walking pass this restaurant but have never stepped in yet. I'll have to keep it as an option for future functions. I also didn't realise there was an upstairs dining area.

  • At 7/08/2011 2:09 pm, Anonymous Kate said…

    At the end of your scrummy looking post (soft shell crab, tempura with green tea salt - yummo!) I saw that Kate was the winner of the Stonesoup Cookery Classes and super squeeeee, that's me! So I wanted to pop you a line and say thank you for hosting such a great competition. I've been over to Jules' site and her approach to food is incredible - I already feel like my brain is grasping the idea that meal preperation doesn't have to be complicated in order to taste good. That actually sounds kind of lame - like, duh, everyone should know that, but honestly when I think of eating at home I fear dishes, dishes, complicated recipe directions, loads of time and money spent at the shops and then more dishes - urgh!

    I really am excited about the classes and I can't wait to get going. So thanks again, Helen :)


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