Kaiseki Cover

An Introduction to Kaiseki

Well, here we are folks. After 19 days fooding (and fooling) around in Japan, you saw this coming. Yes, it’s time to do the hard yards and blog about the whole darn thing. I just hope I can get it done while the year still starts with a 2.

There will be two parts to the “Japan Chronicles”, as I’ve just decided to call it. Firstly, there are sixteen restaurants that will receive their own, dedicated blog posts. The reason being that these are substantive experiences, featuring a wide array of courses that require their own space. Additionally I will, for the first time, introduce a series of travel posts that will outline my trip more generally, including Japan’s non-food highlights. Why? Because I love the country, and hell, I want you to know why.

You know how I said there’d be two parts? I lied – this post is the standalone third aspect, and one I believe is necessary. It’s as the title says – an introduction to kaiseki. No joke, this post is well and truly needed, as a disproportionate number of them I’ll be publishing are about kaiseki restaurants. If however you’re already familiar with kaiseki, feel free to move right along. If you’re staying, here’s the deal: there are plenty of resources, online and offline, that offer a wealth of information into what kaiseki is all about. I’ll try and keep it simple, and explain it using my own words. Yeah…that could be a bad thing – read on and find out!

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Messina Dessert Bar Cover

Gelato Messina Dessert Degustation

It’s time to talk about Gelato Messina.

Specifically, what the creative minds behind Sydney’s greatest name in gelato have in store at their new fit-out in Darlinghurst. But this isn’t anything like the Messina you’re intimately familiar with. No, this is something else entirely: 7 courses of painstakingly-crafted desserts, with matched non-alcoholic drinks that spans a near 2 hour sitting. Price? A cool $130. It’s a lot to pay, but I’m going to convince you that it’s worth every last dollar.

Welcome to Messina’s newest and flashiest halo product: the Creative Department’s Dessert Bar Degustation!

Date Last Visited: 21/4/2016
Address: 243 Victoria Street,Darlinghurst, Sydney

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Lazy Suzie Cover

Lazy Suzie | Darlinghurst

When chef Zacharay Tan of Devon Cafe & Devon on Danks fame announces that he’s opening up yet another venture amongst the milieu of Sydney’s cafes, even the laziest Suzies among us – particularly a walrus such as I, will come to attention. You see, despite Sydney’s propensity to go over the top for just about anything these days, there is still clearly ample room for talented individuals to leave their mark.

In this case, we’re talking about scorching wok marks, and perhaps a case of purple tongue.

Welcome to Lazy Suzie, a hawker food centre-cum-in vogue cafe, smack bang in Darlinghurst’s hub of what’s what to eat. Don’t expect to find avocado on toast here – you’ve been warned.

Date Last Visited: 17/4/2016
Address: 78 Stanley Street,Darlinghurst, Sydney
Recommended Dish(es): Auntie Jenny’s roti, Pie Tee, CKT (if you can swallow the price), the ABC

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Flying Fish Cover

Flying Fish – Soaring to New Heights

Returning to Flying Fish is like seeing an old friend. My first visit was during the halcyon days of 2012 – you know, when people still actually read food blogs instead of going to Instagram. It’s cool, I get ya – I do it too.

Needless to say, change affects us all – Stephen Seckold’s flagship restaurant being no exception. Does the Flying Fish continue to soar, or is it now merely a fly-by? It’s been a long four long years, let the reunion begin.

Date Visited: 26/10/2012
Address: 21 Pirrama Rd, Pyrmont, NSW 2009
Go-to dish: seared yellow fin tuna, pork belly, pink grapefruit & black pepper caramel

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ACME Cover

ACME | Rushcutters Bay

“We Are ACME”, so the restaurant’s slogan goes. Phew – I had to read it again, to be sure that it didn’t spell “ACNE” instead. When I was a teenager growning up, it was a particularly heinous problem, and heck, even to this day my face can occasionally turn volcanic.

Fortunately, the only outbreak that’s happening at ACME in Rushcutters Bay is of the spaghetti monster – in the best possible way.

Date Last Visited: 17/10/2015
Address: 56 Bayswater Rd, Potts Point, Sydney, NSW
Recommended Dish(es): baloney sandwiches, black garlic linguine, pig’s head macaroni

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Cuckoo Callay Bacon Festival 2016 Cover

[Updated] Cuckoo Callay Bacon Festival | Newtown

Cuckoo Callay’s bacon festival is back for 2016! This post has now been updated to reflect the extra goodies for this year’s bacon lovers.

I’m going to be baconing some new ground here, because I don’t think I’ve ever been porked like I was at the subject of this post. You see, dear readers, in my usual perusal of my emails, I received an email from the always wonderful folks at Wasamedia that stood out from the rest:

Cuckoo Callay Bacon Festival.

And that’s all it took. The venue that speaks to my heart with this magnificent event? Cuckoo Callay – right outside Newtown station. And before your inner self screams “GIMMICK!” – wait, did you already click into the post?

Date Last Visited: 6/3/2016 8/2/2015
Address: 324b Newtown Train Station Newtown, NSW 2042
Recommended Dish(es): Bacon Mac Daddy, Pig in a Box

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Kensington Street Social | Chippendale, Sydney

Michelin-starred, UK celebrity chef Jason Atherton knows a thing or two about running a restaurant. His latest establishment: Chippendale’s Kensington Street Social. It isn’t his 2nd, or 3rd, or even 4th restaurant – no, it’s his fifteenth. With this level of experience in flipping tables, one would expect seriously tasty fare.

I’ll just out this right now: you will not want to be social with your food at Kensington Street Social.

Date Last Visited: 21/2/16
Address: The Old Clare Hotel, 1 Kensington Street, Chippendale, Sydney
Recommended Dish(es):

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Butter Sydney Cover

Butter Fried Chicken | Surry Hills

At first, it may seem somewhat eyebrow-raising that a Surry Hills restaurant called Butter would pair all things fried chicken (and uh, butter) with selling sneakers. However, after much thought, I arrived at an unavoidably delicious truth:

You’re going to need those sneakers for a marathon after an experience at Butter Surry Hills. Heh.

Date Last Visited: 20/2/2016
Address: 6 Hunt Street, Sydney
Recommended Dish(es): something involving fried chicken

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Salaryman Cover

Salaryman Restaurant | Surry Hills

In the culture of whacky Nippon, a salaryman (サラリーマン) is a man who is literally on salaried employment, usually referring to a corporate white collar archetype. However a salaryman is truly defined by what he does after work. That is – to eat, to drink, and to be merry (hey, he’s had a 14-hour day – gotta take a break, right?)

Fortunately, you don’t need to work a 14-hour day to partake in an experience at Stephen Seckold’s newly-opened Salaryman Restaurant. I mean, sure, the experience is potentially more realistic if you suffered such a day, but what’s life without a bit of cheating?

Date Last Visited: 29/12/2015
Address: 52 Albion Street, Surry Hills, Sydney
Recommended Dish(es): prawn toast okonomiyaki, rolled wagyu sirloin, Smoove chocolate bar

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Cavalier Specialty Coffee Cover

Cavalier Specialty Coffee | St Leonards

There’s a new coffee joint in the north end of town, and it happens to serve food too. “So what?” I hear you ask, the north is a literal bounty of fantastic cafe options (much to my south-contained chagrin), why is Cavalier Specialty Coffee any different?

Well, I’ll give you a reason; well, three reasons: the food, the food, and oh diggity, the beautiful, beautiful food. Chef & owner Harry George is cooking up something that you’d expect to see at an $80-a-head restaurant, but accessible to the masses. Throw in excellent coffee, an unassuming decor and cordial service and that’s the recipe for many a revisit.

Indeed, a cavalier intro, but you’ll see what I mean when you dig into the details of St Leonard’s newest, hottest joint!

Date Last Visited: 24/1/2016
Address: 34 Oxley Street, Crows Nest, Sydney
Recommended Dish(es): oldskool newskool salmon, English trifle French toast, pumpkin hummus on rye

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