This tasting menu deserves a Chef Hat, and I seriously wonder how come the Chef doesn’t have one, the degustation menu was one of the best we’ve ever had, and the value was great. I booked us using Restaurant.com.au, as they had an offer running for couple of days (First booking for free instead of AUD8) and had a hard time choosing a restaurant among what was on offer. I ended up settling for Ocean Room and it did not disappoint. Even without the 30% discount (on all the bill, food, cocktails, soft drinks, everything!) we both would have been happy to pay the full price (We paid 203 dollars instead of 290).
A group of businessmen are sitting right next to us and everyone is dressed to the nine… except Monsieur (jeans and T-shirt) and I (singlet, short and backpack) but we’re treated very nicely and the Maitre d’O accommodates for our request to sit inside (mosquitoes tend to love me). We’re warned that for the degustation menu, it’ll last 2h30minutes… but we stayed in the restaurant for 3 hours and 30 minutes (which was completely fine, we really didn’t mind!).
To drink, we had a sparkling water San Pellegrino AUD 10, and Monsieur went for the usual plum wine umeshu Uguisu Tomari from Fukuoka AUD 12. I took the girly option, sweetness guaranteed by the waiter: Strawberry and Shiso Daiquiri AUD 18.
We went for the 12-course Degustation Menu AUD 120 and the waiters that took care of us explained each dish very carefully and all were very knowledgable (we did ask question like what umeboshi means… and they knew! – salted plum, if you wonder)
#1 course: Namagaki – Sydney Rock Oyster
Oh dear. Monsieur and I both dislike oyster but decided we’d give that one a try (the waiter did offer us to alter things from the menu shall we have any objections, and that was very kind! We decided to stick to all the dishes though!). The Oyster comes under a “spicy sangrita cloud” but I the spiciness was very subtle. The taste of tomato was more prominent and a very nice pairing with oyster. Mind you, the two Sydney Rock Oysters still had the taste of oysters, but they were really fresh, and texturally pleasant (because, I suspect, they were very small). Even if you do not like oysters much, do give this one a try, it’s worth it!
#2: Ochazuke modern – flame seared latchet
This dish is really fusion like! Served in a cosmopolitan type of glass, there’s rice crust on the bottom, flare seared latchet on top, and a salted plum sorbet right above the latchet. I loved it texturally, and the salted plum sorbet (umeboshi) was somehow interesting. It doesn’t taste like umeshu (plum wine) and is really surprising. Not my favourite in terms of flavours, but still, very interesting combination!! The green tea is poured on the side when the dish is being served, it isn’t the usual bitter green tea, but a pleasing consommé, a “cooking” green tea (though it is tempered).
#3 Maguro Tartare with sea salt cured tuna
I loved the experience that comes with each dish. Here, the waiter explains us we’ve got to mix the elements on the plate to make our own tartare and wrap the mix with nori. Monsieur is allergic to pear, so I get his. The tartare is really good. If anything, I want more The sourness is in the lotus roots (pink and pickled) and the crystallised balsamic vinegars (also slightly sweet). Lovely!
#4 Ocean Shinjo Tiger prawn and calamari wrapped in bean curd parcel
Monsieur was a tad skeptic on the house made fish cake, but there wasn’t anything overly fishy. This dish is close to a dim sum, not what I’d define as Japanese, but still, very pleasant. The prawn and calamari are mixed together, so you won’t see chucks. I couldn’t tell there was calamari in (I do trust them though!!) but the prawn’s taste was more prominent. Still, very nice!
#5 Secret Hotate
Underneath the ravioli, which was more a thin pastry with herbs trapped in it rather than anything stuffed, were beautiful scallops. So buttery they were… Properly seared, and a generous amount of them!! The dish was a bit spicy for Monsieur’s liking but I found it lovely. To make the texture more interesting, there were some raw shallots on the bottom. The dome above looked like half a grape when it came, but it is, in fact, some jelly! I thought this was more Chinese than Japanese because of the XO sauce though!
#6 Raita’s Sashimi collection
For long, I thought ordering Sashimi was sort of pointless. I mean how much can the taste of fish differ from raw in a given restaurant, to raw in another one? I guess I realised how wrong I was when I tried to cut sashimi myself!! Sashimi’s a real craft, and the way you cut it, the cut you choose, the way you seared it, does make a difference from one place to another. I can tell the seafood here is so fresh!
#7 Dobin musdhi Taraba King Crab
This is the dish that made Monsieur chose the 12 course degustation instead of the smaller one (8 course, 95 per person). It was a real experience! I loved the fact we each, had our own teapot, and how much ceremony was involved. 1st, you press the lime above your teapot, then you close the teapot with a flat cap. The cap that’s on top is not just a cap… Turn it upside down, and you get a tea cup from which we’re advised to drink the dashi consommé (give it a stir beforehand though!).
Once you’re done with the consommé, you get to eat what’s inside. Isn’t it brilliant???? Also I’ve never had chrysanthemum leaf before, but found it very similar to spinach… probably a bit neutral. There were 2 see-through pasta, the thickness of Udon noodle. A bit too chewy for my liking if anything. The King carb, the king of the teapot, was grand! It was prepped so forking the meat out of the shell was a play in the park. Even Monsieur found it disappointingly easy. Highly recommended!!!!
#8 Saikyo Miso Cod – The loveliest cod I’ve ever had in my whole life, and the one dish that you absolutely have to try once in your life!!!
That Cod was the best cod I’ve ever had. Signature frilled sweet miso cod fillet with ginger risotto and orange miso sauce… Sweet, buttery fish, so indulgent. We wondered whether they had injected each layer of the fish with butter because the cod was the richest cod we had ever tried, and the best cod we will probably ever taste out here. I think there’s a Nobu recipe for Miso Cod out there on the net, and I will try that. Apparently, the secret to get such texture isn’t the cooking (I thought it was slow cooked because the fish was so moist) but the marinade that involves Mirin, Miso, and saké. This dish was definitely my favourite!!!
#9 Adegashi Mapo Artisan Tofu
Monsieur wasn’t sold on that one, but it turned out to be very pleasant. Due to the wind flowing inside the restaurant, it was a bit cooler inside, and a warm soup was actually really pleasant. There was pork and Serrano ham in the soup (loved it) and the Tofu was as promised: Silky. I liked this soup, but I like my tofu either deep fried and very crispy on the outside, or steamed and super silky.
#10 Two Dimensional Jack’s creek Wagyu 8+ Marble Score
I wanted so much more from that wagyu 8+, that it fell short of my expectations. The plating was really nice, but the slow braised wagyu meat pie didn’t allow for the flavour of the wagyu to stand out at all. If you’re baking a pie, then I think wagyu isn’t appropriate. Even the smoked wagyu theatrically trapped into a glass full of smoke, wasn’t very wagyuish… Not because of the smoke itself, but because of the piece of meat that sat on the plate. Monsieur had a very tender piece, but mine was chewy on both sides, and disappointing, and very lean when wagyu is meant to ooze omega 3 fat. Alas, I still found the Wagyu 5 in Mittagong, to be the best Wagyu I’ve ever had so far.
#11 Edo-Mae Nigiri Sushi
I wasn’t expecting much from Nigiri Sushi, but these turned out to be the best Nigiri sushi I’ve ever had. The reason for this is that we didn’t need to dip them in the soy sauce, because it was pre seasoned. I ate them too quickly so wasn’t able to actually check whether the explanation put forward by the waiter was actually true. Apparently, the trick is to season the rice ball (brush it with soy sauce and some wasabi), but I suspect the fish slices have been marinated… I really don’t know, so I guess I will have to come back to check this out… I highly recommend you try Edo Mae Nigiri Sushi, these were just plain beautiful!!!!
#12 Nori and Shoyu Angel Cake
The dessert wasn’t bad, and I loved the soy caramel. That said, we had it in a hurry so we could catch the bus back home. I like the airiness of the cake, but found the Nori addition to be a bit too much for me.
The bill came down to AUD 290, but thanks to Restaurant.com.au, we paid just AUD 203! Awesome discount, but to be honest, I would have been happy to pay the full price for such quality. One thing’s sure: We will be back!! Oh, and also, I sincerely believe they deserve a Chef’s Hat (at least one).