Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Is Donburi... is good :D

So for our Wednesday dinner and games nights our nom noms was at a restaurant quickly becoming one of my go to Japanese restaurants, Is Donburi on William St (next to Jus Burgers in the refurbished arcade containing Superstar Waffles).

One thing you'll notice is there aren't many seats at the restaurant so I'd recommend coming with groups of less than 8 as they have such limited space you could be waiting for a while. They do take reservations and I was quite tempted to see if the AMEX concierge would be able to reserve a table on the spot since I saw those reserved Amex signs (with no one claiming them....)

Anyhow dinner was kicked off with some Karaage chicken (which were awesome in taste though slightly disappointing as they bulked it up with a lot of salad, so much so it was closer to being a karaage chicken salad entree instead).

Taste wise the batter was great, crispy and not oily, looked slightly too dark though, definitely pass the golden brown stage. There were dipping sauces included (one which looked like sweet chilli and a dollop of Japanese mayo in the corner)

For mains I ordered my trusty I-Bento set (well presented with great variety of dishes for $24!). You choose your main protein of teriyaki chicken/beef/tofu/fish then the side dishes consisted of fried gyozas, pan fried salmon piece, sushi and a serve of sashimi ( three varieties of fish each with 2-3 small servings!) and a Japanese salad to round things off.

My friends had a mixture of S Bento sets a business was bento set ?l( essentially a donburi bowl filled with your main protein with rice topped with the fried gyozas and tempura pieces).

Serving sizes were are generous and plenty for dinner and it tasted very good. A highly recommend from me to check it out! Apologies on the lack of photos, I concentrated more on eating than taking pictures this time round :D)

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Aisuru Sushi

Ticking off another Japanese sushi place in Northbridge to try, back in the days this used to be a YHA travel agent but I'm glad they've become a sushi / izakaya type restaurant!!

So a fateful Sunday evening being impatient at getting a table at Is Donburi (second time I said I'll come back now!) we ventured to Aisuru Sushi (diagonally opposite at the corner of James and William Street.

Initial impressions was pretty good
decor wise seemed to go for a more modern look with a mix of conveyor belt bar seating and a handful of sit down tables and about four sets of tables on the alfresco pavement, we were lucky to snag a table as walk-ins.

Whilst looking at the menu we were asked if we wanted any drinks then shown an iPad with icons of drinks to select. The savoury menu was pretty focused, with a large bias towards sushi rolls (with not so common names - think fusion type sushi combinations)

Price wise things weren't too bad with most entrees coming around the $8-15 mark, with the more expensive ones often having a raw fish component.
Sushi came in two sizes, four or eight pieces with a four piece serving around the $8-10 mark and eight pieces around $16-22 mark.

After debating we decided to get three entrees and five 4pc sushi rolls so we could get a sample of their vast range of sushi combinations.

For entrees we had the sweet corn tempura, sweet corn kernels dunked in tempura batter then deep fried and drizzled with a mildly spicy mayonnaise based sauce. It was very tasty and the tempura batter was not soggy at all and the slight spicy heat mixed well with the sweetness of corn.
Our second entree was the salmon sashimi salad, looked like the salad base was a mesculin salad mix topped with five pieces of salmon sashimi and half an avocado sliced to one side. The dressing was nice though at times I felt a bit too oily and they could've presented it better, seemed the sashimi pieces broke the servings into five nice lots but the avocado was forgotten on the side. Perhaps laying the avocado across the sashimi would've helped?
Anyhow, raw fish and avocado is a typical pairing so not much could go wrong.

Our third entree was the karaage chicken, we had about 10 round pieces, about a third of a chicken fillet size so was a decent serve. Again the batter was tasty, chicken juicy, a very good and seasoned dish of fried chicken goodness yum

For sushi rolls there were some hits and misses, the hits being the soft shell crab sushi ( spider roll), the plum flower roll (chicken and avocado sushi roll with a different name) and finally the dynamite roll. The more forgettable sushis were the scallop based sushi (pretty much a California roll topped with some pale white scallops :( - I think some caramelisation would've gone a long way to give it some oomph) and the vegetarian sushi titles the magic mushroom, essentially a combination of enoki mushrooms and button mushrooms that ended up with a kinda bland taste. I was hoping of the umami taste from the mushrooms but just don't think it worked, especially with the sushi rice.

All in all a very decent Japanese restaurant, not too pricey with it coming to about $30 a head and service was fast as they cleared plates quickly with plenty of waitstaff to flag down for any assistance. A good sushi option if you're too far from Mr Munchies and much better value than Matsuri.

Aisuru Sushi on Urbanspoon