Wednesday, 11 October 2006

let's do lunch at yoshii

I’m itching to go nuts. Somebody just give me an excuse!

It’s October which means Good Food Month in Sydney and this year there are some spectacular events on. Cooking classes, market tours with top chefs, degustation dinners and the Night Noodle Markets.

Restaurants and bars also put on specials such as the Cocktail of the Month where participating bars nominate a cocktail and pair it with a canapé; hotels offer up a select dessert for late night revellers with the $15 Sugar Hit and restaurants all over the city show off their wares with a glass of wine for $35 in Let’s Do Lunch.

I booked myself into an Oyster Forum on Sunday and was very keen on three cooking lessons: Serendipity ice cream, Lenotre’s pastries and the Middle Eastern desserts. I started to dial the number to book in and then hung the phone up like a guilty prank caller.

Yes, this is Good Food Month.

Yes, this is the one month when I am in seventh heaven and can openly revel in all things gastronomic.

Yes, this is the only time in the year that everyone actually wants to talk gastronomy because it’s “so hot right now”.


With this in mind I resigned myself to:
a) the Oyster Forum
b) Let’s Do Lunch at Yoshii

This is ridiculously restrained for me. I am being unbelievably responsible.

. . . but the month’s not over yet . . .

So today was my Let’s Do Lunch at Yoshii.

115 Harrington Street, The Rocks
Sydney, Australia
Chef: Ryuichi Yoshii

We entered this Two Hat restaurant and, spotting our friend from the door, we made our way through the small room of wide tables and wonderfully wide, cushioned chairs. The little dining area was divided from a sushi bar by wooden slats in a bamboo effect. It made a clear division between the spaces without boxing in the smaller room too much.

For $35 we got slow roasted wagyu and a glass of Brown Brother’s 2006 Rosé.

The beef was served dengaku style in two thin strips, both wonderfully moist. The meat was so soft and yet still juicy and rare, the flavour of the fat gorgeously marbled throughout. The first strip of wagyu was doused in an elegant red miso sauce – rich, cerise and succulent.

The second strip was sweetened white miso paste. This pale yellow and lemony flavoured paste was smeared over the strip of meat and sprinkled with what seemed like crushed sesame seeds.
Slinky Minx and Ingrid preferred the white miso cut whereas Lustm and I favoured the red miso beef. Both were exquisite, but if forced to choose I think the white miso was just a little too sweet.

The meat was served with what looked like pretty shapes of steamed vegetables, but as the morsels hit my lips they were distinctively smoky. They were fresh and had a firm texture while taking on a slight grilled flavour. I even enjoyed the delicate slice of okra, the slimy, furry texture seemingly irrelevant in this context.

In true Japanese style, the meal came with a bowl of rice and a small pot of steaming miso soup.

When the food first arrived I thought it was a tiny portion, but the richness of the wagyu filled me to the brim and I couldn't have eaten a skerrick more.

Service at Yoshii was friendly but fairly poor. Maybe it was due to the onslaught of diners taking advantage of the GFM deal?

Our table for four had only three wine glasses and we had to ask for an extra wine glass three times before it arrived. Wine was not automatically offered either, even though it was part of the deal, and then when our bill arrived we had been charged an extra $40 for wine we hadn’t ordered. Despite the confusion the wait staff were friendly and eager to fix the problems.

Food knowledge wasn't solid across the team, one waiter deferred the explanation of dengaku style cooking to his Japanese colleague who provided a detailed account that was very much appreciated.

Maybe it’s just Sydney, but it seems restaurants with real Japanese wait staff often have this friendly yet totally confused service. In the end my rating focuses entirely on the food, and Yoshii did well in that department.

Let’s Do Lunch at Yoshii was yummy and despite the muddled service I'm determined to visit again for one of the famous kaiseki sets.

~ ~ ~

This post is just one of many Good Food Month activities being recorded by Sydney’s food bloggers. Check out what else has been done/eaten/explored by viewing the excellent weekly round-ups from Cucina Rebecca.



  1. Isn't Yoshii Super Mario's friend? ;)

  2. i think that gaming character destroyed any chance of all real yoshis being taken seriously.

    too bad. it's one hell of a common name in the land of the rising sun!

  3. Ooo, that sounds yummy! I love wagyu! I've got seats booked at Yoshii for the Hats Off dinner... but doing this last minute, they only had the sushi bar seating available :(

  4. good food month is the bane of every waiters existence. demanding, cheap bastards cooing about how gorgeous the swill provided by the sponsoring beverage company is (invariably it is some winery that wouldn't get within a barge pole of the winelists of the restaurants that are featured. case in point, brown brothers pinot grigio and tempranillo this year. yep aria, otto, et al are so listing it once the month is over! for sure!)

    plus they don't understand the concept of tipping, but that goes hand in hand with being tight i guess.
    not that i'm a bitter waiter or anything.

  5. Great food, but very interesting about the service. What a shame it spoiled the day!

  6. That wagyu sounds sensational. Still haven't made it to Yoshii yet altho' I've heard so many good things.


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