Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sushi Dai

Hello Readers!

So today is the final blog about my trip to Japan. This time it's not fine dining but a humble sushi place called Sushi Dai.

Located in Tsukiji Fish Market, the biggest fish market in the world Sushi Dai was pretty hard to find at first but after a bit of looking we eventually found it.
their long lines starting from 4:30 in the morning. However we were very lucky and were the second last couple to be served. As we stood in line they gave us hot tea, we ended up waiting an hour and a half but it was completely worth it.

We had the Omakase and it started off with glorious Tuna! It was so fatty and wonderfully melted in your mouth. 

Next was what the chef called Golden Ice Snapper, I'm not sure what it really is but it was yummy.

We ordered some beer and they gave us some octopus, because octopus is beer food! 

This was followed by some Sea Urchin. It was really rich and sweet!

This is Horse Mackerel.

Some Japanese Omelette, which is a lot sweeter than you would expect. 

This was clam. So fresh that it was still alive and moving! At first I thought it was a bit creepy but I just popped it in my mouth and it was yummy. 

This was sea eel. The best eel I've ever had.

Some Tuna and Shellfish rolls.

Tile fish, such a gorgeous looking piece of sushi.

Ikura sushi or Salmon Roe. It was delicious, big bursts of flavour in my mouth.

At the end of our omakase, they asked if we'd like to have any more sushi....

We of course asked for another serving of their amazing tuna. 

This was one of the three chefs in the very small Sushi Dai restaurant. He was extremely friendly and tried to speak as much english to my boyfriend as possible and spoke Japanese to me as slowly as possible haha.

We had a really good time there, we felt very welcome and all the staff were extremely friendly. 
The sushi was beyond compare to anything I've ever had in Australia. You just can't beat the freshness fish from Tsukiji. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Taian - Osaka

Hello readers!
Today's blog is about my dining experience in Osaka at the 3 Michelin starred Taian.

Taian opened in 2000 and is run by chef Hitoshi Takahata, who trained for 15 years at Aji-Kiccho in Shinsaibashi. Seating only 17 people in the restaurant, Taian was one of the smaller restaurants we had visited in Japan.

A little stone garden inside the restaurant.

Regardless of its small size and being quietly tucked away in an alleyway, Taian proved to be an enjoyable dining experience. Chef Takahata mainly focuses on traditional Japanese dishes but on occasion sneaks in more westernised elements to his dishes.

Our night began with a drink. I being a big fan of plum wine naturally had to try their house-made plum wine. It was so nice and sweet, I had to have a second glass.

Our first course was an assortment of dishes. I don't quite recall what everything was... but I remember being really excited to try all the new flavours and textures.

Next was a flavoursome soup with Abalone. That delicate floating thing in the middle is made out of potato, it was softly encasing some more vegetables inside. This dish was a fine example of the chef's creativity with presentation.

Our soup was followed by an assortment of sashimi and a small side of marinated shrimp. As one would expect our sashimi was fresh and delicious and the shrimp was soft but extremely flavoursome. 

At the beginning of our meal, we were asked to choose a main so we decided on Kagoshima Beef and Porks spare ribs with a red wine sauce. We had a lot of good beef during our time in Japan but the beef at Taian left a big impression on me. You can just see the marbling in the picture.

Our beef was perfectly cooked so it was incredibly tender and simply melted in your mouth. The spare ribs were tender and fell of the bone with a lovely sauce that gave more depth in flavour.

Next was Deep Fried Ginseng root with Crab Harumaki. I personally enjoyed the flavour of the ginseng root but my boyfriend found it very bitter. However we both agreed that the crab was delicious and sweet, which was very suitable after the bitterness of the Ginseng root.

Our next dish was Onion soup with Oysters. Although not very traditional Japanese flavours, both the soup and oysters were rich and creamy, which blended together perfectly.

Next was more traditional and humble flavours. A bowl of mushroom rice, some pickled radish and a warm bowl of miso soup. Very simple but distinctly Japanese flavours, simply divine.

We ended our meal with a lovely Pear Jelly with assorted fruit and just a splash of pear brandy. A simple and sweet way to conclude our night.

The restaurant is mainly served by Chef Takahata's wife, who is an incredibly lovely woman. She was dressed in a traditional kimono and showed us courtesy with kindness and grace.

Being the youngest in the restaurant sometimes has its perks as well. Chef Takahata's wife brought out the bottle of pear brandy for us to have a look at, as well as their cute little Michelin man. It was such a small but sweet gesture. 


Taian was our last fine dining experience in Japan and I'm glad we had such a great time. We enjoyed incredible food, whilst watching the skilled chefs work in front of us. We were shown such courtesy and kindness, it left a deep and lasting impression on me as both the head chef and his wife bowed to us at the door and watched us walk out of the alleyway. The image of them standing together waving goodbye at the doorway of Taian is something I won't easily forget.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Top Paddock

After walking past the construction site 3 times a week for about 9 months now, Top Paddock has finally arrived. Proudly brought to you by the same masterminds behind Three Bags Full and Two Birds One stone, Top Paddock is their new baby located in Richmond (and fortunately next door to my work)

My first visit was unfortunately after 3 o'clock so their kitchen was already closed but I was able to order from their tapas menu. I went for White Anchovies on Toast.

An extremely simple dish that packs a punch. The anchovies were delicate and flavorsome and just a dash of oil gave it a real zing!

Soon after, the cakes cabinet beckoned my name and before I knew it a gorgeous Vanilla and Lemon curd cupcake was placed before me. The fluffy vanilla and lemon curd center was the perfect treat with the addition of an incredibly light and creamy frosting on top.


For my second visit I made sure I came before 3 o'clock, with a few girlfriends and starving! 

We had such an pleasant time sitting outside and enjoying the sunshine all whilst having a fantastic lunch.

I decided to try their Soft Shell QLD Mud Crab with dill, fennel and lime mayonnaise on Brioche. I've heard a lot of good things about this dish and thankfully it did not disappoint. A very unique but tasty burger made with brioche from MoVida Bakery that is to die for. A fluffy and buttery heaven!

Photo courtesy of  Carmen

My sister ordered Gin and lime cured trout, poached eggs, potato galette with a feta and beetroot relish. I got a serious case of food envy when this was brought out. I of course stole a bite and it was divine, such simple and clean flavours. A very refreshing and suitable lunch for such a hot and sunny day.

Photo Courtesy of  Ngoc

My friend had their signature Top Paddock breakfast. It looked so beautiful, I'm definitely getting one ALL to myself next time. 


After some gossip and drinks, we decided it was dessert time.

I chose their Chocolate Ganache tart with Raspberries. A gorgeous and rich tart with the bonus of being gluten free for the celiacs reading this blog! 

Photo Courtesy of Ngoc

My friend had this revelation of a Chocolate cheesecake brownie! It was highly recommended by all the staff and our waiter couldn't help but mention it was "life changing" as he placed it down and boy, was he right!

I had a small bite and it was absolutely mind blowing. It's as rich and chocolatey as a cheesecake but somehow is so light and creamy it melts in your mouth before you can even feel guilty! My only fault is that I did not order this myself. 


 With a spacious design and floor to ceiling windows that let in the summer breeze, Top Paddock is the ideal cafe for any typical Melburnian looking to sloth it out in comfort and style in this summer heat. 
Chef Jesse McTavish ensures that all the ingredients used are of the highest quality, so you know you'll be eating nothing but the best as you're trying to decide which coffee to try from their huge selection.

I'm most definitely going to become a regular, so keep an eye out for me! 

See you next blog !

Top Paddock
658 Church st, Richmond 3121
Ph: 03 9429 4332