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Monday, November 21, 2011

Izakaya Fujiyama, Surry Hills

izakaya fujiyama surry hills tuna jaw

If there's one dish you must order at Izakaya Fujiyama, it's the tuna jaw. This behemoth of bones, fin, gills and cartilage is one of life's pleasures - a testament that good eating can be found in the most unlikeliest of places, and that foraging for your own food provides endless fun.

izakaya fujiyama surry hills
Sushi bar counter at Izakaya Fujiyama

I'm dining with thefoodpornographer and Juji Chews tonight, both Perth food bloggers on a die hard eating tour of Sydney.

"Is there anything you've done in Sydney that hasn't involved food?" I ask.

There's a thoughtful silence before tpf pipes up "We went to the Opera House! And then we ate lunch."

izakaya fujiyama surry hills
Dining room and sake bottles

Izakaya Fujiyama sits alongside El Capo and Orto Trading Co, a trio of gastronomic big-hitters in an otherwise quiet street in Surry Hills.

In Japan, an izakaya is a tavern, a place people go after work to drink (usually sake) with snacks available on the side. Here at Izakaya Fujiyama, patrons can sit at the bar and enjoy appetisers with their drink, or sit down in the dining room and order a complete meal.

The sake menu can be a little intimidating but staff will happily offer suggestions that match your dishes. I ended up with the Kaishun Junmai Thoukarakuchi Hiyaoroshi ($10.50), pleasantly light and crisp with a clean finish on the palate (No. 43 on the sake menu).

pickles izakaya fujiyama surry hills
Asazuke $4.50
Salt pickled mixed vegetables

We start with asazuke, a small dish of salt-pickled cabbage, carrot and cucumber that swings between salty, sweet, chilli and ginger, awakening our tastebuds and whetting our appetite.

sashimi sushi izakaya fujiyama surry hills
Omakase sashimi plate $24.50

We leave the sashimi plate in the hands of the chef (omakase), a worthy investment of trust that rewards us with plump slices of fresh salmon, mackerel, kingfish and tuna curled against mounds of finely grated daikon and a paperthin shaving of radish.

sushi chef izakaya fujiyama surry hills
Sushi chef at work in the kitchen

kenji fried chicken izakaya fujiyama surry hills
Kenji's Fried Chicken $13.50
Karaage chicken with house made Kewpie

Kenji's Fried Chicken is the house version of KFC. There is no comparison. We tear apart the piping hot chicken and risk burning ourselves on the thick plumes of steam. The batter is deliriously good - crispy and seasoned and fantastically gnarled and nubbly for extra crunch.

The house made Kewpie mayonnaise is the icing on the cake, not overly greasy but adding extra zing to the already succulent chicken.

pork belly crackling izakaya fujiyama surry hills
Crispy pork belly with yuzu pepper $24.50

It's hard to resist any dish that says pork belly, especially ones that are preceded with the word "crispy". We fall upon the thick chunks of pork that are generously meaty - but really all we want is the tile of crackling on the top.

teriyaki beef rib kalbi izakaya fujiyama surry hills
Teriyaki beef kalbi $28.50
Glazed grilled beef ribs with green chilli relish

The teriyaki beef kalbi is carnivore heaven, a celebration of pink and juicy beef rib cooked on the bone. The meat is fatty, sweet and juicy, served with a spicy green chilli sauce with plenty of kick. It's worth fighting over the rib itself, and gnawing away at the connective tissue.

tuna jaw izakaya fujiyama surry hills
Tuna jaw $38

The tuna jaw offers the biggest spectacle, stacked on a chopping board that will threaten to leak fish "juice" all over you if you're not careful. It's a dish that demands to be shared slowly, picking away with a fork to reveal clumps of dark and light flesh that moves from lean to fatty. The fins are cooked to a brittle stage so you can snap off the ends and eat them like a chip.

The bones can be stripped clean with some patience, and we marvel at the sheer size of the jaw bone, and how so much tastiness can be found in something that is often thrown away or consigned to the stock pot. Two bowls of soy dipping sauce provide all the seasoning you need.

izakaya fujiyama surry hills
Izakaya Fujiyama bar counter

dessert izakaya fujiyama surry hills
Fujiyama Jaffa $13.50
Frozen chocolate cake with kumquat, yogo and popcorn

We struggle to finish everything between four people, but we manage to find room for dessert, opting to share the Fujiyama Jaffa. It's a prettily plated dessert that offers a playful mix of tastes, textures and temperatures.

The frozen chocolate cake is sweet against the tart candied cumquat and the tang of yoghurt ice cream. Popcorn kernels provide a crunchy component, contrasting against the smoothness of the yogo that is much like a silky chocolate mousse.

I'd go again for the tuna jaw. And Kenji's Fried Chicken.

izakaya fujiyama surry hills

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Izakaya Fujiyama on Urbanspoon

Izakaya Fujiyama
G09/52 Waterloo Street, Surry Hills, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9698 2797

Opening hours:
Monday to Saturday from 5.30pm til late

No bookings

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
El Capo, Surry Hills
Japanese izakaya - Iiza, Newtown
Japanese izakaya - Kasumi Izakaya, Haymarket
Japanese izakaya - Izakaya Den, Melbourne
21 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 11/21/2011 01:05:00 am


  • At 11/21/2011 6:33 am, Blogger Miss T said…

    That tuna jaw looks terrifying. I need a lie down.
    T x

  • At 11/21/2011 8:56 am, Blogger Mel said…

    I love this place - LOVED the tuna jaw, infact everything was perfection. The KFC was to die for - agree with you there.

  • At 11/21/2011 9:10 am, Anonymous Tina@foodboozeshoes said…

    Can I really be craving KFC and beef rib this early in the morning...?

  • At 11/21/2011 9:33 am, Anonymous Minh said…

    Helen, I love it. I went here last week and ordered the exact same dishes (minus the Tuna jaw, woe!). Love the photos, and even tho I just ate breakfast I want that KFC nowwwww

  • At 11/21/2011 10:14 am, Anonymous Nic@diningwithastud said…

    That Fujiyama Jaffa looks great! Not sure about the tuna jaw. Its something I wouldnt think to order but you have bigged it up pretty well so will have to give it a go :)

  • At 11/21/2011 11:00 am, Anonymous Dumpling Girl said…

    The first shot is stunning, but love the look of the other meaty offerings.

  • At 11/21/2011 11:03 am, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    woah that tuna jaw is massive! mmm i totes want beef rib for breakfast

  • At 11/21/2011 11:25 am, Anonymous Chopinand @ ChopinandMysaucepan said…

    Restaurateurs should learn from Izakaya Fujiyama - turning an off cut that costs $4 into something special that rivals the cost of a good piece of rib eye with a 800% profit margin.

    This is what I call savvy business sense and fine dining restaurants with high operating costs should take heed of this strategy.

  • At 11/21/2011 12:51 pm, Anonymous gastronomous anonymous said…

    i do like the jaw here! and the chicken karage was pretty good too!

  • At 11/21/2011 1:25 pm, Anonymous Hannah said…

    Oh Helen. You know you had me at pickles and sashimi. And that you lost me again at Jaffa. :P

  • At 11/21/2011 2:24 pm, Anonymous Jacq said…

    That tuna jaw looks epic! I don't think I could go past the KFC with house made kewpie either

  • At 11/21/2011 2:36 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    OMG!! First pic of Tuna Jaw was petrifying-good to know it was delicious.I would love to try KFC and Frozen chocolate cake with kumquat, yogo and popcorn.

  • At 11/21/2011 4:29 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    Oh my that tuna jaw looks amazing - great find Helen and I do agree with putting yourself in the hands of the chef, always a winner!

  • At 11/21/2011 8:20 pm, Anonymous Hotly Spiced said…

    That looks great. I just can't pass up fried chicken and pork belly.

  • At 11/21/2011 9:51 pm, Anonymous Billy @ A Table For Two said…

    someone just mentioned about this place to me and now seeing a nice review from you, looks like I might have to check it out sometimes.

    Now, who will be my dinner date? :P

  • At 11/22/2011 8:56 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I almost had a heart attack, the tuna jaw looked like a dead bird.

  • At 11/22/2011 7:46 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Everything looks great, and the tuna jaw seems like it's a menu item that was designed for me - I love picking around the scraps for secret nibbles!

  • At 11/23/2011 3:12 pm, Blogger sugarpuffi said…

    i feel so stupid not ordering the tuna jaw!! now i wanna go back just to get it

  • At 11/23/2011 10:44 pm, Anonymous denny@feedmycamera said…

    tuna jaw looks bloody interesting, it did look scary at first though hahaha!

  • At 11/24/2011 1:20 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This looks great. Since living in Japan and coming back I have missed izakaya dining. The food looks certainly authentic. However, I wish there would be more izakayas with the awesome atmosphere of sitting on the floor around large tables sharing food and drink with your friends. Miss that experience. Hopefully one day it will come here, until then I'm off to try this place out

  • At 12/10/2011 7:00 pm, Anonymous Amanda said…

    I'm so glad I found your post today as I have yet to visit them and have wanted to since I visited El Capo and saw they had opened next door. Some great advice on what to order - Thanks!


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