Kaiseki Tsuruko Cover

Kaiseki Tsuruko (つる幸) | Kanazawa

Welcome back, Japan-obsessed foodies! With an introduction to kaiseki written, I hope that this venerable cuisine will become far easier to understand (though it’s oh so, so easy to eat). A necessary lesson, for many posts like the current one cover my experiences at various kaiseki and kaiseki-like restaurants. My first true-to-form experience of kaiseki was at restaurant Tsuruko, in the tranquil, highly underrated city of Kanazawa.

This is a long read, so if you’re feeling lazy, let me jump the gun for you before you do – this restaurant is worth every last Yen.

Best that you keep reading 🙂

Date Last Visited: 24/3/2016 – Spring seasonality
Details (address, hours, etc.): link
Food cost only: 30000JPY
Actual price paid (cost includes dinner + 1 carafe of sake + all taxes): 33,813JPY (~$402AUD at time of writing). 

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Ms.G’s | Potts Point

Dan Hong and Paul Donnelly are constantly on a mission to break the mould. You know they’ve succeeded when you can’t encapsulate the kind of food that comes out of the kitchen at Ms.G’s. Asian? Well yes, but that’s broad. Vietnamese? Getting closer, for sure. But go to Vietnam and try and find me a banh mi burger or cheeseburger spring rolls.

The food at Ms.G’s isn’t that normal after all, is it? I first visited three years ago, and at the time decided that it’s one of those restaurants that are well-worth a return. I just didn’t expect it to take three years to get there. Well, here we are!

Date Last Visited: 24/2/2016
Address: 155 Victoria Street Potts Point, NSW
Recommended Dish(es): mini banh mi, sweet & sour ribs; The BOSS

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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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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 | 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 – 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: 8/3/2016 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 | 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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[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 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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