I was intrigued by this new Japanese restaurant on George Street, which had taken the places of the oh-so-cheap watering holes Maloneys and Bar Ace that used to provide a starting point for some alcomohol-fuelled nights. I gathered some friends and we descended down the once-familiar stairs to be greeted by a giant lit-up cherry blossom tree and a labyrinth of booths. So maze-like was the layout of this place that latecomers had to make phone calls to determine the exact whereabouts of our table. Funnily enough there were two other food-bloggers lurking about Mizuya tonight, and it was such a coincidence to bump into both Leona and FFichiban on the same night (hai guys!)
Mizuya is another one of those Japanese izakaya style restaurants that has the touchscreen ordering system. However, unlike others I've been to they don't seem to have additional hard-copy menus which makes it difficult for the people sitting on the opposite end from the screen to see what's on offer. We started the night with some drinks, including this test tube shots which we ordered purely for the novelty factor. They mostly tasted like juice or cordial with perhaps only the slightest hint of alcohol.
Test tube shots - $18 for 6
We also ordered a cold sake to be shared amongst us and it came in a cool bottle that had a hole in it. Sir D found much amusement in this :)
Sir D finds it highly amusing that it looks like his finger is bottle...
But really there's a hole to place the ice so it chills but doesn't dilute the sake
The food arrived quickly and soon our table was filled with kushiyaki skewers and deep fried snacks.
Marbled beef fillet kushiyaki - $5.80
Beef inside skirt kushiyaki - $5.80
Beef with garlic shoots kushiyaki - $5.80
We ended up getting three types of beef kushiyaki - a marbled beef fillet, beef inside skirt and garlic shoots with beef kushiyaki. Although the marbled beef fillet was nice and tender, I think my favourite would have to be the beef with garlic shoots which provided some crunchiness.
Deep fried silverfish with seaweed salt - $5.80
Queen Chu wanted to get the deep fried silverfish with seaweed salt so we went ahead and ordered it. It was a nice crunchy snack but didn't do much in terms of flavour with the seaweed salt just tasting like salt to me. I'm sure it would go down well with a nice cold beer though.
Crispy chicken skin - $3.80
But what would be even better is the crispy chicken skin! As if chicken skin wasn't fatty enough in itself, they had to go and deep fry it which makes for super crispyness and addictive snacking! Hehe I couldn't go past these on the menu but it really needs some more flavour besides just saltiness, perhaps some chicken salt?
Tempura prawn roll - $11.80
Agedashi tofu - $5.80
Onto some more substantial foods, we also got a tempura prawn sushi roll and agedashi tofu which were nothing special to what I've had at other Japanese restaurants.
Eggplant with sweet miso - $7.80
The eggplant with sweet miso was a crowd favourite with the smooth creamy eggplant and sweet miso combination being a winner for everyone. I was quite impressed by the home-made pork gyoza - they had crispy, burnished bottoms and the dumpling skins weren't too thick or chewy.
Pouring the tea into the rice bowl
The ochazuke (rice with tea) was something I've never tried before, and we ordered a grilled eel ochazuke which arrived as a small bowl of rice with sweet pieces of eel, seaweed and a large teapot. We poured the tea over the rice and dug in.
Grilled eel ochazuke - $7.80
It reminded me of when I was young and I used to pour Chinese soup into my rice (I don't know why, I think I just liked it). It's sort of like drinking soup that has bits of barley or risoni in it except the ratio is more in favour of the rice than the liquid. The subtle tea flavour is quite nice with the rice and the little chunks of eel added little bursts of sweetness.
Assorted sashimi (main) - $26.80
An assorted sashimi plate was ordered and I wasn't expecting too much but the sashimi wasn't bad, it was fresh and there was quite enough for us to all share and have a bit each. There was salmon, kingfish, tuna, scallop, salmon roe and two types of raw fish that I didn't know.
Chicken gristle - $5.80
I'm a bit wary of ordering chicken gristle because I've had some pretty bad ones that were really chewy and altogether unpleasantly difficult to eat. These ones were great though, similar to karaage but with a slight crunch from the cartilage and completely addictive!
Cheesy potato mochi - $5.80
We were still a bit hungry so we ordered to stomach fillers. The potato mochi was crispy on the outside with a mashed potato filling, and a cube of cheese melted inside. It came with some sweet soy sauce on the top but needed more sauce because after a while it became a bit too starchy even with the melted cheese inside. It was also very oily on the outside from the fryer.
Onigiri: salted salmon (left) and cooked tuna (right) - $3.80 each
Grilled miso onigiri - $3.80
We also got an assortment of onigiri. I didn't try the tuna or salmon one but the grilled miso onigiri was quite nice with a sweet miso flavour where it had been grilled. Some of the rice was sort of half grilled so it was dry but not quite crunchy yet which wasn't so great. It could have done with a little bit more of the miso paste but it served as a good stomach filler.
BBQ marbled beef steak - $14.80
The BBQ marbled beef steak was a dish we had to chase the waitress up on, but it eventually came and I'm so glad we waited for this! It was absolutely delicious with tender beef in a sweet soy sauce. It also came on a hot plate and had a little slab of butter on the top which melted from the heat. Alongside the beef there were also some roasted vegetables like sweet potato, carrot and pumpkin and also some mushrooms, broccoli and tomato. One of my favourites of the night.
Green tea shiratama sundae - $4.50
A meal isn't complete without some sort of dessert and the ice-cream is really hard to pass up here. You can order the green tea soft serve by itself but for an extra dollar you get all sorts of goodies like red bean, a few glutinous rice balls, surprise cornflakes at the bottom and a wafer! The green tea and red bean are always a winning combination and the glutinous rice balls are nice and chewy. Cornflakes and ice cream go so well together and it's a nice surprising crunchy texture you get towards the very end of your sundae since they're hidden away at the bottom of the glass. Worth every penny!
Mizuya Japanese Restaurant and Karaoke
Basement, 614 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: +61 2 9266 0866
Open 7 days, 11.30am - midnight
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