Chinatown, NSW 2000
The exterior is large and boasts clear glass windows which you can look through and view plastic versions of their dishes – and they do look very enticing 😉 The interior is sparkly, bright, and a myriad of colours. Of particular interest to me are their large, plush, high-backed lounge chairs that are so comfortable to relax in that we forget we’re in a casual cafe.
Their speciality is evidently the Japanese Omurice, which is a thin omelette wrapped around fried rice and topped off with a jaunty squiggle of mayonnaise. It comes with a variety of different sides – we selected the Pork Cutlet one which came lying on a pool of delicious spicy sauce. I absolutely loved it – the omelette was thin and encased delicious fried rice with a smattering of peas and carrots in it, and the pork cutlet was crisp and substantial. The spicy/tangy sauce was fabulous too, especially when mopped up with the omelette and rice. Mmmmm. Very good.
We’ll be back!
Chris awaits his food
The pretty pictorial menu
Pork Cutlet Omurice
7 Cambridge St
The Rocks, NSW 2000
I’ve been to Nakashima a couple of times, but was keen to take Mum and Dad there to check it out. Let me say straight-out that if you haven’t been there before, it’s just about near-impossible to find without some very specific directions. It’s tucked away in a ‘hidden’ alley at The Rocks, just opposite the Argyle pub. Despite being so elusive, the place is always packed – evidently word of mouth travels very well.
Nakashima’s a tiny little Japanese restaurant, where about 2/3 is outdoors (but under cover). It’s great for a casual meal, since the menu isn’t particularly extensive. Their specialities are the Pork Maki and the Wafuu Steak, both of which are splendid. Also popular are their sushi platters, which are always fresh and satisfying.
Arrive early (between 6-7.30pm) and get a free drink!
Pork Maki – sliced pork wrapped around shallots and pan fried with sweet sauce ($7.40)
Tempura – lightly battered prawns & vegetables quickly deep fried ($7.50)
Wafuu Steak – Pan fried tender beef fillet with homemade vinegar sauce ($14.50)
Shigiyaki – deep fried eggplant with sweet bean paste ($7.00)
(previous review here)
Red Oak Boutique Beer Cafe
201 Clarence Street
Sydney, NSW 2000
Australians make great beer. One of my favourites is their Red Oak Honey Ale (mentioned here), whilst Chris favours the darker/caramelly versions. The Red Oak Boutique Beer Cafe (obviously) boasts an extensive beer menu and some fabulous meals. I often have the 4-course meat tasting board – a delightful selection of 4 items from their menu, with their 4 matching beers. Too cute!
This time however, I opt for the standard dishes. I’m a complete sucker for lamb, so selected the Herb Marinated Lamb Rump – Spanish Red Ale braised lamb shoulder and potato eggplant rolls, du puy lentils and mixed mushroom ragout, not quite realising that it’s shank and cutlets that I like and definitely not the the Rump. D’oh!! It was fine, but definitely was not something that excited me. I found the rump (which was the majority of the dish) pretty tough, and it took quite a bit of gnawing before I could (somewhat) swallow, so I gave up and gave that to Chris to tackle. The braised lamb shoulder was much better, but in a much smaller portion so it didn’t quite fill me up. The surrounding lentils/potato/mushrooms were a tiny portion and mashed together, and seemed like quite an odd (and largely un-tasty) side and made the dish just a big splodge of black.. the chef out to have known better and added some brightly/light coloured side dishes to give the meal that much-needed visual kick.
Chris opted for the Limestone Coast Lamb and Marzen Ranch Sausages on Olive & Feta Mash, Fennel Salad and Oatmeal Stout Jus which he absolutely loved. The sausages were fat and juicy and very very good. Typical gourmet sausages, but very tasty. They came resting on a bed of olive & feta mash potatoes that sent Chris into grins of delight (he loves olives!), but I found it far far far too salty/overpowering especially when combined with the sausages. It was a nice dish but after a few mouthfuls, the saltiness got too much for me and I gave up.
I’m an optimist though. I know their food is generally very good so I’m game to go back to try it again. Perhaps next time I’ll stick with a simple fish or pork belly dish, or their good ‘ol 4-course tasting board 😉
Red Oak Boutique Beer Cafe
Cosy, warm interior
Dark English Mild Ale
Herb Marinated Lamb Rump – Spanish Red Ale braised lamb shoulder and
potato eggplant rolls, du puy lentils and mixed mushroom ragout ($28)
Limestone Coast Lamb and Marzen Ranch Sausages on Olive
& Feta Mash, Fennel Salad and Oatmeal Stout Jus ($20)