Saturday, 5 April 2014

Yebisu Izakaya - Sydney - Sydney, Australia.

Yebisu Izakaya 

The restaurant is crowded and bustling on a Friday night with a full house and a long queue to boot.

Located in Regent Place, Yebisu Izakaya is Japanese restaurant / drinking establishment specialising in tapas style food, to be enjoyed with alcohol. Different types of alcohol such as sake, shochu and beer are available to be enjoyed with the plates of food, but we're here for the food and not the alcohol.

The place is very busy most nights and if people are willing to wait, it must be good. We nearly left at the sight of the queue as it stretched for metres and the waiter wasn't sure as to how long the wait was going to be. However, it moved relatively quickly and we were seated in about 15 minutes. Yet, the wait could have been much longer as I've read some have even waited close to an hour.

We were seated at the counter which gave us a view of the front kitchen through the glass windows. Larger groups tend to be seated in the main dining area. We were able to witness large flames from the stove tops, meat on sticks being grilled and soup bubbling away. An interesting experience indeed.

One thing that strikes you straight away is the bright signs, paper lanterns, wooden exterior and lighting, allowing one to reminisce or think they are in Japan. It is designed to look like a modern izakaya that you would see in Japan offering a fun and casual setting.

Ordering is done via the Ipad and reminds me very much of the Wagaya and Misuya touchscreen system of ordering. They offer the traditional Japanese fare such as sushi, sashimi, yakitori, hot pot and we even noticed some Chinese dishes on the menu. Though, the variety on offer is much less in comparison to the above mentioned.

The prices are reasonable but I wouldn't say it's cheap. It can get pricey as one usually tends to order more than they should as you continue to press, press, press, quickly adding to the bill. The great thing about this restaurant is you can take your time and decide on what to order without having to rush as it is designed to be eaten in a series.

One thing I didn't like about the menu was the lack of descriptions. There was the name of the dish and the corresponding picture but there was no description, so you had to rely on past experience or your gut feeling as to what ingredients it contained if you've never tried it before.

Once you place your order the food comes out quickly and the waiters are extremely efficient at bringing out the food.

'Pan Fried Pork Gyoza ($7.80)' has two accompanying sauces on offer, either the teriyaki or ponzu sauce and we went with the former.  The gyoza is pre-fried in the kitchen before it is taken out. The waitress brings out the gyoza, placed on top of a bed of beansprouts, which are then further cooked on an iron cast plate and then the sauce is poured over. It then sizzles away but the bottom isn't crispy and a bit soggy due to the uneven heat distribution, but the pork insides are juicy and tender.

'Takoyaki Octopus Ball ($7.80)' is the norm like you would find at any other Japanese restaurant. But! It comes with wooden sticks attached to the takoyaki which makes it easier to eat. Love the novelty of this. It was cooked well leaving a nice exterior and topped with bonito flakes, mayonnaise and takoyaki sauce.

The 'Scallop and Garlic Fried Rice Large ($19.80)' is not your standard fried rice. It is cooked with fresh, large, plump and juicy scallops which have been grilled just right, allowing it to be moist and still sweet. The fried rice was nicely cooked with egg and shallots and the flavouring was spot on without the addition of too much oil.

'Teriyaki Chicken Salad ($14.80)' is my favourite for the night. The chicken is marinated in a teriyaki sauce and then grilled. They were very generous with the chicken as the chicken and salad portions were similar. The star of the dish was the dressing. It had a slight sweetness with a hint of sourness but was absolutely delicious, a dressing I've never tried.

We were so full at this point in time and contemplated on leaving without dessert. However, the dessert options were aplenty and they looked pretty good on screen. How could one resist? Plus it was cheap!

The 'Earl Grey Brulee ($5.80)' was a delight. I don't think I've ever tried earl grey tea and had a slight hesitation in ordering this as Tin Tin recalls the tea flavour being strong. I'm glad we did as that custard was so creamy, rich and smooth, and that sugar crust on top was perfectly caramelised. In the menu, the brulee was on a flat dish but it was served in a round bowl unfortunately, so the proportion of the hard shell to crack was limited. It was just so yummy and I found myself scooping up ever little bit of custard from the bowl.

'Green Tea Ice-cream with Daifuku ($3.80)', otherwise known as a mochi is superb here. It is made from a glutinous rice flour and then stuffed with green tea ice-cream. It was so fresh that it was still stringy and soft.

I really enjoyed the overall experience. What I love about this restaurant is not only the great food but also the atmosphere. You don't have to be a drinker to enjoy the food here.  The slow pace of dining allows you to enjoy the food without having to feel rushed and is a great place to catch up with friends. Don't be deterred by the queue. I definitely think it is worth the wait as the food is excellent.

Regent Place
501 George St
Sydney NSW 2000

Phone no: 02 9266 0301

Opening Hours
Sunday - Wednesday
12:00pm - 11:00pm
Lunch Last Order 3:00pm
Dinner Last Order 10:00pm
Thursday - Saturday
12:00pm - 12:00am
Lunch Last Order 3:00pm
Dinner Last Order 11:00pm


Yebisu Izakaya on Urbanspoon

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