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 need for salt and oil struck me again recently, and this need was fed by an evening delivery order from Kiwi Fish Shop, a fish and chip shop variably described as being in Mascot or Rosebery, and possibly part of the Newmarket Hotel operation.
The crumbed calamari (3 pieces for $4.50) provided a good initial hit of salt and umami.
The prawn cutlet ($2.50 each) were a bit overbreaded but still good
The sea scallops (2 for $2.50) were not as fresh as deep fried scallops can be, but still passable.
The crumbed oyster ($3.25) was not as good as at Kibuna, a Japanese restaurant also located in Mascot – however obviously in a different style.
The fish and chips ($12) were just that. I was not that into the chips, While the tyranny of distance is at least partially to blame, they just didn’t taste fresh to me.
An additional fish fillet was had for $9 – already you can see this is too much food
I was sad to have been charged $1.50 each for small tubs of tartare sauce. You would think that some would be included.
The fish taco combo ($12) was delicious – mainly the fish taco. I liked the sauce and salsa. Could’ve gone without the mountain of chips and with a couple of dollars off the price to match.
The Juicy Scotch Fillet Burger optioned by my partner with egg and cheese ($13 base, $16 as shown) was pretty good actually, but expensive and also not the real reason you’re ordering from a fish and chip shop on a Thursday evening.
The food at Kiwi Fish Shop was not bad, and even probably quite good. I don’t really have a recent benchmark to compare it to, as fish and chips are really more of a once in a year or two thing given the wide variety of other delicious things that I have access to, that may not be as bad for me. I had strong regrets about halfway through the meal, but for some reason I powered through. I should have at least saved the food for the following day.
In what was sure to be an unexpected outcome for Sydney Dining Group, the recent mention of Ripples Milsons Point amongst Sydney’s latest COVID-19 hotspots actually helped bring the Ripples brand to prominence, one of a few reasons why we chose to dine at Ripples Chowder Bay for dinner tonight. We felt that Ripples’ ability to avoid a major catastrophe with their previous COVID-19 case meant that the restaurant was likely to have good ventilation and hygiene practices. It was, after all, our friend’s first time out since we ate at Acre in June.
Of note, street parking was $18.50 for 3 hours. We overstayed (it was difficult to predict how long we’d be) but were not ticketed.
We were initially seated in a spacious dining room inside, but moved outside to attempt to find more cross ventilated pastures on the deck. Unfortunately, because of the adverse weather, the deck was covered in a thick plastic shroud – something I had experienced at one of Sydney Dining Group’s other restaurants, Aqua. This meant that the outside dining area actually put us in far closer proximity to other patrons, without an increase in air changes per hour – something that greatly worried one of my senior colleagues.
We started with a plate of Chorizo & Mozzarella Arancini (5 for $16). I enjoyed the arancini but found it difficult to spot the chorizo. My partner, a big-time arancini fan, was not impressed. This was, believe it or not, one of the best value dishes of the meal.
These king prawns with orange, fennel & chervil ($28) were such bad value that it should have been criminal. What we got for $28 were three little cooked prawns, and a bit of citrus salad. I savoured my $9’s worth of prawn, which I found to be sweet and yummy, as well as my few allocated orange and salad bits. Our consensus opinion was that this starter was OK in taste, AWFUL in value. I think any reasonable restaurant with a sense of decency would hesitate to charge more than $15 for this tiny dish.
My gastroenterology colleague’s pick of main was the Confit Duck with cabbage, wild rice & red wine jus ($38). I thought this duck was very good, however judging from the size it must have come from a very small duck, perhaps one that had just hatched not too long ago. This is the best confit duck that my partner and I have ever had, although that’s not saying much as we have tended to avoid confit duck from Western restaurants ever since our first few attempts. I enjoyed the tender and juicy nature of the meat, as well as the delicious red wine jus.
My senior colleague’s pick of main was the Whole Market Fish, Tomato, capers & zucchini ($42). The market fish of the day was baby snapper. I enjoyed this dish and had this the most as it was closest to me. I liked the generous serving of vegetables, as well as the nicely oven roasted white flesh. Quite wholesome and good value compared to the rest of the meal.
Our next main was the Lamb Rump with peas, zucchini, mint, yoghurt & lamb sauce ($38). I had only a very small corner piece so it is a bit difficult for me to describe it. I thought it was nice, however, for them to have cut it up into bite sized slices. I thought that the meat was better, more flavourful, and more tender than that at COOH, a recent comparison.
A side of Green Beans with crispy eshallots & lemon oil ($12) was shared, however my colleagues did not seem to keen for it. I was personally grateful for this high greenery dish.
The Soy Panna Cotta with pineapple, coconut, sugar sauce & coconut gelato ($16) was my senior intensive care colleague’s first introduction to the concept of panna cotta, but otherwise not memorable.
The White Chocolate Mousse with chocolate crumb, passionfruit & mango sorbet ($16) was memorable for its strong sour passionfruit taste, small size, and large price.
The Lemon Tart with pistachio, meringue & pistachio gelato ($16) was not bad, however not as good as similar lemon tarts at around the $7 mark.
Ripples at Chowder Bay was an expensive but ultimately forgettable meal. Whilst I enjoyed the roasted baby snapper and confit duck, pretty much everything else could have been skipped. This is especially true for the desserts, which were all boring and expensive. We paid $291 between the four of us for the above listed foods and a $65 bottle of middling red wine, and a bit of condescension from our waiter when we asked for a recommendation for said wine.
Ripples Chowder Bay was fine only in terms of the price.
Last night was one of the worst nights I’ve ever spent a lot of money on. It was not one of worst nights of my life.
On the strong recommendation of one of my partner’s gaseous friends we dined at Moxhe, a Modern Australian Seafood restaurant. Moxhe offers a four-course and an eight-course tasting menu for dinner, based on whatever the guy finds at the fish market that day.
We settled down nicely in a suburb we can’t afford to live in for a nice meal and a completely missable glass of $25 chardonnay each (oops! check the price before you order next time!).
This is the bread. It has the noteable distinction of being one of the only things I got to eat last night. I found the bread to be quite middling. It was a sourdough of “heritage flour”, whatever that means. There were some black dots in it but I don’t think it made it as premium as black dots normally make vanilla ice cream. In all seriousness, the bread was non-special, and paled in comparison to other breads we’ve had – for example at Ester and Lumi – in the past. The cultured butter this bread was served with was limited and not refilled, though my partner continually edged the sad, empty butter dish further and further away in the hopes that someone would notice.
These are the Pickled Mussels Tartelettes, of which we had one each. The tartelettes were a fun and strange mouthful of zesty weirdness. I did enjoy them, although it was not clear at the time what I was eating.
Before we started dining we were treated to an extensive list of oysters to choose from. Words like “rustiness” and “mineralness” were used to describe what was essentially an list of Bateman’s Bay oysters that increased in size and price. We had the two petite claire oysters (one each) that came with our tasting menu, and supplemented them with two label rouge oysters ($6 each), of which I ate both. While initially scoffing at the varied descriptions of differently sized but identically sourced oysters, I do think I enjoyed the flavour of the smaller Petite Claire oysters more. I wasn’t able to gain a consensus however as my partner doesn’t really enjoy seafood and didn’t want to eat a second oyster.
This is some unknown nigri. Unknown because the published menu for the night said that we would be getting an octopus skewer and instead we were given this. It was entirely missable, not at all better than any $3.50 nigri from Sushi Rio or $3.80 nigri from Sushi Hotaru.
I really enjoyed this Smoked & Aged Ocean Trout Blini. I thought the blini was really well toasted, and had nice crispiness to it. The ocean trout had a delicate flavour, and we both appreciated that it was not too heavily smoked. My partner was particularly excited that it came served on a warm bowl. “Wow,” she said, “this bowl is hot”. This was one of the stars of the meal for me, and you will soon find out why.
This beautifully presented raw sashimi platter was where everything fell apart for me. We were served a plate of snapper, bight red fish, alfonsino, trevally, royal red prawn, scallop, and ikura ikura with bonito paste and curry leaf garnish, as well as a smoked and unsmoked soy sauce.
I dutifully made my way through the dish, eating my allotted fishies in the order that was prescribed. Unfortunately I encourted three scales in three of the fishes, which didn’t reflect the care or the skill of the chef and hurt the experience. We both enjoyed the red scarlet prawn’s delicate sweet taste, as well as the very small but quite enjoyable scallops.
Whilst having this dish however I felt a sad and scary tingle at the back of my throat. I know that I am kind of allergic to scampi, however there is no scampi here and I thought I would be safe. I was wrong. I can’t really pinpoint which of these sea animals was the culprit, however I suspect it was the deliciously sweet scarlet prawn, which has a close relationship to the scampi. I managed to finish my portion of this dish, and the tingling in my throat settled, howver this was quickly replaced by spasmodic retrosternal and epigastric pain, lasting for up to 20 seconds at a time, and coming in minutely intervals. As you can imagine, this was a very bad time for me. I sought the opinion of my gastroenterology colleagues, who were really not that concerned, however it felt very bad. I suspect it was the continuation of the allergic reaction that I had, but of course have no proof. It felt like how a corkscrew oesophagus looks on chest X-Ray.
This is the Capellini pasta, Pesto, Ricotta, Olives. I wish I could tell you about this dish, however the severe abdominal and retrosternal pain I was in meant that I only had a small bite of it before I decided it was safest not to tempt fate. I felt really bad! This is where my partner will have to take over the review, as I have no idea what anything after and including this dish tastes like. The restaurant was gracious enough to charge me only $65 for the entrees as I just could not continue. A point of humour for the waitress was that just the previous night a husband sitting in the same chair that I was also felt very unwell during his meal and had to leave for fresh air many times whilst his wife enjoyed wining and dining. This was basically me, however I remained seated and watched longingly at all of the seafood that my seafood-phobic girlfriend got to eat alone.
My partner actually enjoyed this pasta, which was surprising as it mixed several of her least favourite ingredients – being pesto and olives. She is someone who will readily rip out the olives from any given pizza, but she tells me that the finely minced nature of the olives made it less offensive to her.
I actually laughed to myself when they described this dish to us. My partner hates prawn, and Large Clarence River Prawn, Prawn head sauce, Tomato, Burnt Eggplant , sounded like her worst nightmare. Little did I know that she would be having the last laugh.
I was really sad to miss out on eating this giant prawn. The photo doesn’t really capture the largeness of the prawn, but just trust that it is. I have been seeing people on Instagram chowing down on their giant scarlet prawns for some time, and I longed for a large prawn myself. While I didn’t get to eat this dish, I did get to watch my partner slowly eat her prawn with her knife and fork, unsure whether to like it or not. They actually served me a prawn too, but I didn’t eat it. My partner must not have liked the prawn that much as my prawn was returned to the kitchen uneaten.
This is the Murry Cod with rosemary, broccolini, asparagus. Again this is a deviation from the printed menu. Whilst I didn’t get to taste this dish, my partner thought that the fish is a bit tough. Perhaps she has been spoiled by all the toothfish we’ve been having.
This is the Marigold and yoghurt sorbet. My partner enjoyed it but she thinks it was just a palate cleanser, not a proper dish. The yoghurt paired well with the marigold, and I’m told it was fresh. I secretly nommed on a leaf and it was quite leafy. As an aside, I’d really like to get a pacojet one day but I think that day will be far far far into the future.
This aged gruyere tart looked absolutely delicious. Watching my partner eat it gave me strong FOMO feels. She told me it was just a normal cheese tart but I think she was trying to make me not feel sad. She had some cheese today in a different setting and let slip that it paled in comparison to this here pictured cheese tart.
Making good use of the pacojet or whatever sorbet machine they have going on in the back, the Strawberry & rhubarb pavlova, black pepper ice-cream was the next dessert offered. The pavlova I’m told was light and fluffy. I did sneak a taste of black pepper ice-cream as I was feeling a little better by this time, however I decided not to tempt fate as not only was I having a gastroenterological problem but I am also lactose intolerant.
The last dish which I didn’t get to enjoy were the Mignardises. This consisted of four desserts, at least two of which was chocolate or chocolate t ruffle, and one of which was a cookie. I cannot identify the third item in the photo, but I think they were probably good as I was sending a quick message to a group chat and by the time I looked up all four elements were gone.
Overall I had a pretty bad time at MOXHE. It was not their fault, but it was also not my fault. I don’t know how to avoid this in the future. I’m very sad that I didn’t get to eat all of these yummy foods but I don’t think we will go back. What a shame.