30.1.11

Gold Coast: Yama Sakura Japanese Restaurant

Seriously, in Gold Coast you are spoiled for choice of Japanese restaurants.
There are quite a few of them just in Surfer's Paradise alone. So there i was, during lunch time, surrounded by a few choices in this particular complex; i ended walking into Yama Sakura (Shop 60, 3131 Gold Coast Highway, Surfer's Paradise (07) 5592 2799) just because it looked more 'authentic' than the rest and there was a group of japanese students going in as well.
Apart from the a la carte menu, there were like a gazillion of sets to choose from. Probably every single possible combination of Japanese dishes you can think of, seriously. The waitress came by a few times asking if we were ready to order and we kept telling her that we needed more time. We eventually ended up getting the SET C (consisted of Wagyu Beef Teriyaki, Tempura, Sashimi, Rice & Soup) and the Sushi & Sashimi Set.
Not long after ordering that i realized that they had abalone sashimi set and sea urchin set. It was a bit too late to change the order, so maybe next time. Let me know how it is if you have tried it!
Set C came as a bento box and i wish there were a bit more of everything in it. Being in a set, the sashimi used didn't taste as fresh as the one from the Sushi & Sashimi set and there were not many pieces of wagyu beef teriyaki either, four strips to be precise. It was alright, but for $15, i probably would have got something better at Iori.
Out of the two sets that we've ordered, i liked the Sushi & Sashimi set better. The sushi was nice and the sashimi was fresh and decent-sized. I particularly liked the squid as it was beautifully sliced and deliciously fresh.
Sushi
Sashimi

Overall the lunch at Yama Sakura was okay. The only disappointing thing was the Set C because it didn't feel like it was worth the money; Sushi & Sashimi Set, however, was good and fresh. When i get a chance, i will definitely come back for the Sashimi Abalone and Sea Urchin - at least it's something that's not readily available here in Canberra.

26.1.11

Brisbane: Shinbashi Yakiniku

I'm finally back after going to Gold Coast for a little break - which explains my lack of updates! Thank God for the safe trip back to Canberra and gladly i wasn't affected by the flood in Queensland.
Despite the rain, the trip (overall) was nice and i got to try a few places that i would recommend to you all -coming in the next few posts, so stay tuned!
***
I decided to try Shinbashi Yakiniku (Japanese Style BBQ) after seeing how much my friend loves that place. 'It must be good' - i thought to myself since she had already been there AT LEAST three times (mind you, she lives in Canberra) and the restaurant has only been opened for about 7 months!
Shinbashi Yakiniku (2900 Logan Road, Underwood, Logan City - (03) 3841 5888) is tucked away in a rather quiet complex, so don't freak out if you can't find it at first sight. It is a nice and simple restaurant furnished with wooden tables and chairs and the staff is very attentive and polite.
Not long after we were seated, we got some Iced Tea and a bowl of Edamame. It took us a while to decide on what to order as the menu is packed with a lot of mouth-watering dishes. We ordered the $69 set menu for two plus a few other dishes. The fun thing about Japanese BBQ is that you cook your own food (meaning that you can't blame the chef if it ends up tasting horrible) and the good thing about it? It doesn't use oil, which translates into a healthier meal plus your clothes won't end up smelling bad afterwards.
The meat/seafood dishes at Shinbashi are seasoned to the minimal, just enough to enhance its flavours and freshness. I was actually pleased to see the restaurant commitment in serving good quality produce.
Below are the dishes that we tried:

Vegetables:

- Enoki Mushroom: simply cooked with a slice of butter. Simple but delicious.

Seafood
Overall the seafood was alright. Just make sure that you don't overcook it or else the seafood will be dry and tough.
- Squid: tasted normal but it was fresh.
- Japanese Scallop: tasted good when cooked just right. I failed the first batch, so it ended up a bit chewy. The second batch, however, tasted lovely.

Meat

- Premium Ox Tongue: tasted really good (juicy & tender) and not surprised that it is a popular dish at Shinbashi. I am not a big fan of ox tongue but this one i would totally recommend! Don't forget to eat it with the onion condiment that comes with the dish.
- Boneless Chicken: this dish had a 'heavier' marinade in order to bring out the delicate chicken taste. It was nice but not one of my favorites.
- Chicken Cartilage: I liked this dish because i am a total fan of chicken cartilage. It tasted really nice with the simple hint of pepper and salt, and the bit of meat around the cartilage was very soft and tender. Recommend it if you like something crunchy and chewy.
- Pork Jowl: It is a rather fatty cut of meat but i have to say that it tastes simply delicious after being cooked. Just for your info, I cooked it until the fatty part started turning a little brown and crispy. Recommend this too!

- Marble Beef: liked the fact that it was thinly sliced which made it super soft and tender. Nice dish. Make sure you don't overcook it.
- Wagyu Marble Beef (~marble score of 4): this one is not as soft as the marble beef but still very good and tasty. It has a chewier texture which i like.
- Wagyu Rump (Marble Score 7-8): definitely the highlight of the night. It was simply devine and the wagyu just melted in my mouth. I haven't had such a good piece of wagyu for a while. It was only seasoned with a bit of seasalt and all you need to do is to sear it. *Thumbs up and it's a must order dish!
Originally, there were a total of 6 pieces of wagyu. I was so eager to try it that i almost forgot to take a photo of them. *phew
Look at all that Wagyu goodness =9
 To finish our lovely meal we treated some Matcha Ice Cream - two scoops of matcha ice cream on some cornflakes and finished with some red bean syrup. I like how they used corn flakes at the bottom to add that 'crunch' factor! Yummy =)

Verdict?
Nice staff. Good food. Fun Experience.
I had a lovely dinner at Shinbashi and i did enjoy the whole experience of cooking my own food. The food overall was good and you can tell that Shinbashi does look after the quality and freshness of what they serve. The highlights of the night (for me) were the Premium Ox Tongue, Pork Jowl and the Wagyu Rump...ohn and the Matcha Ice Cream too (i'm a total sucker for green tea ice cream)! 
I will most definitely be back when i get a chance to visit Brisbane again!

Thanks Steve, owner of Shinbashi Yakiniku, and the staff for looking after us! 

Shinbashi Yakiniku (Japanese Style B.B.Q) on Urbanspoon

6.1.11

The Scholar Chinese Restaurant - Revisited

Sorry guys for the lack of post, I've been busy and tired with work. I still am tired but i managed to get my act together and post about The Scholar Chinese Restaurant (23 Woolley St, Dickson (02) 6257 9983) again. I know i've blogged about The Scholar before (yum cha post here and dinner post here) but this post comprises of more dinner dishes than the previous one as it was taken during a friend's birthday dinner party. We ordered a fair bit of dishes so sit back, relax and prepare for the long list of dishes to come...

Starting with the meat and seafood dishes:
- Crispy Duck with Plum Sauce: the duck skin was crispy, the duck was tender and just can't go wrong with the plum sauce!

- Eggplant and Salted Fish Hotpot: a classic Chinese dish, goes well with rice.

- Lamb Cutlets: i am not a fan of lamb so i only took a bite; it was a bit dry for my taste.
- Steamed Barramundi: it was steamed in the Chinese way with a lot of thinly sliced spring onions and soya sauce. The fish was done well resulting in a soft and tender texture.

- Duck Tongue Hotpot: i know that the idea of eating duck tongue is rather freaky but if you think about it, it's not as bad as eating scorpions, ants, flies...right? I tried one (and more later) and it was surprisingly tender and packed with flavour! Worth a try.

- Wasabi Steak Fillet: probably one of the popular dishes of the night. Tender pieces of beef cooked with wasabi to give that 'kick' to the dish. Recommended *thumbs up

- Chicken cooked with shallots & ginger Hotpot: i didn't particularly like this dish as it was a bit salty and the chicken was dry.

- Pork belly braised in tomato sauce: the meat was very soft and it's the type that just melts in your mouth. The sauce is tasty and makes you eat an extra bowl of rice.

Tofu and vegetable dishes...

- Thousand Layer Tofu: it's a nice dish but it is getting a bit overated (for me, at least) since i nearly have this dish whenever i go to The Scholar. If it's your first time there, give it a go!

- Stir fried Kangkong with Fermented Beancurd: i love this combo but unfortunately i couldn't really taste the fermented beancurd.

- Stir Fried String Bean: a lovely dish with hints of garlic and chilli.

The dinner finished with a complimentary desssert: Goji Berry Jelly and Sliced Oranges - i like goji berry jelly as they are lightly sweet and refreshing; it was good but i still prefer the one i had at Tim Ho Wan (HK). 
The great thing about dining with a lot of people is that you get to try a fair bit of dishes at one go. Overall the birthday dinner was nice and enjoyable and the service was great!

The Scholar on Urbanspoon
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