Ippuku is a small and in my opinion underrated Japanese cafe in Rosebery. Despite some somewhat middling reviews online I decided to take the plunge and visit for some sandos before an evening shift at work.
Ippuku is a nice, bright cafe with plenty of natural light and a selection of indoor table, indoor high table, and well ventilated outdoor seating, ideal for the COVID paranoid. Staffing was by a predominately Japanese crew with a Caucasian man making yummy warm juice from Single O coffee beans.
I was in a bit of a rush so I asked to have my pork katsu sando inside and the rest of the food to be packed for takeaway so that I could eat it later at work. I think unfortunately I did not communicate this very well, as similar to Yummy Duck BBQ just around the corner I received all of my food in take-away form. This was ultimately not a big deal as I was able to try each of the items that I ordered fresh.
The Pork Katsu Sando ($13) was really good. The pork cutlets were thinner than I’m used to from places like Kentaro, Oratnek, and Sandoitchi, but this was by no means a problem. Indeed I found this pork cutlet to be extra juicy, with the welcome addition of a few fatty bits around the edges to mix the flavour and texture up a bit. Unlike my previous experiences this sandwich was served with tomato, which provided an extra level of freshness to the sando and reminded me a bit of MOS Burger’s tomato burgers. Really good.
The Ebi Sando ($16) is a recent addition to the menu, and features a generous serving of thick, juicy battered and fried prawns in a bit of an egg-salad tartare sauce. I loved the juicy prawny prawns and how the sandwich was just jam packed with them. I really enjoyed the half of this sandwich that I had fresh, but found the sauce a bit too fishy when I had the second half a few hours later. It was a few dollars more expensive than the pork sando but definitely worth a try.
The pork gyoza (6 for $10) were a bit disappointing. I appreciate that they were pork and chive rather than pork and cabbage, but I just didn’t think they were all that flavourful. It tends to take a lot for a Japanese gyoza to impress me though – I tend to like Chinese dumplings more.
The Wagyu Beef Burger ($16) is pretty good, but pretty expensive and ultimately just a normal burger. It was not a Japanese hamburg patty which is what I expected. It was really just a classic hamburger with a thick juicy internally-pink patty, cheese, pickles, tomato, onion, lettuce, and sauce. Quite steep for $16 and not at all special.
The Chashu Rice ($17) is quite bad, and I would recommend you stay far away from this. Forever. The egg is nice and partially cooked and runny, bunt that’st eh end of the compliments. I found the fried rice to be sticky and not flavourful. The chashu was dry and not fatty enough to break up the bland fried rice taste. A very bad dish for you to avoid.
I drove home from Ippuku and dropped off this chicken katsu sandwich ($13) for my girlfriend. I can’t really tell you anything about it apart from the fact that she thought it was pork and enjoyed it. I asked her to save me some, which she did, but she left it in the microwave for 10 hours instead of the fridge so I didn’t feel safe enough to have any.
VERDICT Don’t fall victim to negative Nancys on Zomato. I’d strongly recommend a visit to Ippuku for their delicious sandos.
The suburbs North of the bridge are full of Japanese-flavoured adventures, however they are can be difficult to access to us mere mortals. My South Eastern Sydney colleagues had previously had dinner at Spanish Sakaba, but missed out on their famous wagyu ramen. We therefore made a special decision to cross the bridge for a second time as a group to give it a go.
The Yuzu slushy ($8.80) was quite good, but very expensive and small.
The deep fried wagyu gyoza (4 for $10) were pretty good. The filling was more complex than the usual cabbage pork stuff that you get at most Japanese restaurants in Sydney. My brave senior colleague had the great idea to ask for an extra gyoza for an extra fee, so that we could each have one.
We each ordered a Trio Wagyu Ramen ($29.29), which was served in a large, hat-like dish (see above). This was a mixture of oxtail, sliced beef, and tri-tip in a thick chicken and beef soup. I liked this, however thought that the fatty meats made the soup too thick and rich. Apparently the wagyu oxtail ramen without the other two meats comes with a lighter soup.
The chef served the five of us a complimentary wagyu salad with horseradish dressing. In my opinion this was actually the best dish of the meal, and we were so surprised that we were offered it for free. It was really delicious, and it had plenty of just-charred meat. The horseradish dressing added a great flavour to the dish. I would honestly pay for this if I could, but I don’t think it’s even on the menu.
The Angus Beef Katsu with Chips ($27.80) was not what I expected. First off, $28 is a super expensive for a burger and chips. My colleague who had been here before said that it was a classic Japanese burger – I thought this would be some epic level hamburg. What it actually was was a katsu crumbed beef steak with cabbage and tonkatsu sauce. I thought it was good, but not great, and definitely not $28 great. The chips were fine. Normal shoestring chips.
The Chips with Osaka sauce ($7.50) were just fine. Neither strong nor weak.
My overall verdict is: good, expensive. Avoid beef burger. Get beef salad (try to order off the menu)
My partner was recently accepted onto the anaesthetic training program for 2021, and we broke our own rules on not going out in order to celebrate. We had the $85pp tasting menu at Zushi Barangaroo, which we were able to enjoy after 30 minutes of circling the CBD to find a park. Allow me to explain.
We started off with the sashimi special, which was sliced raw whitefish with a chili ponzu dipping sauce, and garnished with some flying fish roe. I found this dish to be acceptable in freshness, and enjoyed the fish more alone than I did with the sauce.
The tuna tataki was seared yellowfin akami, crusted with sesame seeds and topped with fried leek and shisho cress. We have always been suckers for seared tuna, and enjoyed this dish. We would’ve kept the sauce too, had they not taken it away from us.
The chef’s selection of sashimi was a selection of sashimi selected by the chef. It was fresh and tasty, but certainly not a standout. There was nothing particularly fancy about this dish, a staple if you will. There are no irregularities to report.
I enjoyed the seared Hokkaido scallop in yuzu soy broth. The scallops were sweet, and complemented well by the sour-salty sauce. The radish puree was also sweet and complementary.
The corn ribs and the prawn tempura were the most divisive dishes of the meal. My partner absolutely loved the corn ribs, roasted and covered in parmesan with lime available for squeezing. She loved how juicy and sweet the corn was, and the complementary flavour of the cheese. It was certainly tempting enough for the people sitting next to us to ask what it was and order it for themselves. I’m not so much of a corn man myself so I offered one of my corns to my partner.
I enjoyed the prawn tempura. The prawns were very large and meaty, and the fluffy and fresh tempura batter was a treat. The dipping sauce and lime also worked well. I was able to trade one of my corn for one of my partners’ prawns, which produced a good result for both of us as she hates the cockroach of the sea.
The toothfish was disappointing. We were given this very small portion to share for two adults. How would we have shared it if we were just business colleagues on a business lunch? The actual quality of the toothfish was also very poor. Compared to other servings of toothfish I’ve had at other restaurants it was too firm and overcooked. I certainly expected better.
The duck teriyaki was good and provided in great quantity too. The teriyaki sauce was good with rice. I liked it more than my partner.
It is difficult to mess up white rice too badly. It mixed well with all of the different sauces we had left over. The grilled broccolini was tasty but again there was a lot of it. I did enjoy the seaweed butter flavouring but it got a bit much towards the end.
Overall we enjoyed Sushi Barangaroo. We probably wouldn’t go back for the tasting menu, but there did look to be quite a few attractive looking bentos being served for lunch. Maybe next time.