Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Cooking with Chef Raita Noda - Washoku Kitchen

Oh baby!

We (ok, me) all have our squeee (a legit word in my dictionary!) and pupil dilating moments when delicious foods and produce arrives on the table (surely I can't be the only one....). This is exactly what happened when I saw a neat slab of well marbled wagyu and chunk of blue fin tuna belly (toro) at the Washoku kitchen event.

Osawa wagyu slices

Blue fin tuna

A very hungry bunch of us were gathered at Sydney Seafood school for a feast that coincided with the annual celebration of Tanabata, or better known as Star festival. Legend has it that the dieties Orihime and Hikoboshi are separated by the Milky Way and these lovers only met once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. To celebrate the Star Festival, streets are often draped in colourful paper ornaments ranging from wishing strips, cranes and other origami and women are dressed in gorgeous yukata. 

Yuri introducing us to Tabanata

Now let me backtrack. Upon arrival we were greeted by the cheerful Yuri and was handed champagne glasses of Choya, a traditional Japanese umeshu (plum) wine. Being the cheap drunk I am, I set it aside after a few sips to avoid embarassing myself. Settling in, I was ready for some serious food action with Chef Raita Noda (ex Ocean room) in the room. 

Choya, a traditional Japanese umeshu (plum) wine

your turn!

It is simply mesmerising watching Raita prepare the ingredients for the dishes, I may have resembled a gaping gorilla on a few occasions.

Raita Noda's wagyu sukiyaki

Raita rounded off his demo with smoking the tuna, the dish was sure smoky cos it even attracted a visit from the local firemen ;)
Post Raita Noda's demo, it is now our turn to create them masterpieces.

"Don't worry, I got it!" 

Quick persuing of the recipe booklets and looks of confusion later, we located where our fresh produces was and was ready to start cooking. I gotta say, Raita Noda sure makes it look a lot easier than it actually is!

The Kikkoman range 

Preparing the sukiyaki condiments

That's how I roll

sizzle sizzle!

testing out my knife skills

Raita's original wagyu sukiyai 

mushroom rice 
In its simplest form, Chef Raita’s Original Wagyu Sukiyaki featured mushroom rice rolls covered in seaweed strips and wrapped in layers of thinly sliced wagyu. This was then cooked medium rare on a hot pan with Kikkoman Sukiyaki Sauce, served with a leek, shallot and chrysanthemum leaf salad and garnished with tempura quail eggs

Now onto the fun (and dangerous) part, making tempura quail eggs!

I've always wanted to know how to tempura an egg given that I can't even poach an egg the proper way (I cheat using a microwave).

This task sure tested my clumsiness and lack of co-ordination, but I only ended up with 1 broken yolk! take that tempura egg!  #levelup

One dish done, on to the next dish. Smoked tuna! 

burn baby burn!

The tuna sashimi log was seared with a blowtorch then finely sliced. It was left to marinade for a few minutes in a mixture of Kikkoman Soy Sauce, cooking sake and mirin (with the alcohol burned off). 

smoking the tuna, was so much fun, I should buy a smoker and smoke everything at home now. (So...whose coming over for dinner?)

more condiments

Now that we had the beef dish down pat, it was time to plate our tuna. We were a bit fussy so we were the last ones standing( literally) in the kitchen.

Mmm! creamy black garlic

Smoked zuke marinated blue fin tuna sashimi

in addition to our 2 masterpieces (you know you love it!), we were also served 3 other courses and plenty of sake for dinner. As we devoured our foods, Dassai Sake brought around a range of sake for us to sample. Again, only a few sips were had. 

To round off a lovely evening, we were given a lovely take home pack with kikkoman's sukiyaki sauce, more wagyu slices and Choya. Needless to say, I knew I had to create something delicious with them. after much pondering I decided to go with an old favourite of mine.

Oh hello enoki beef rolls!

These are incredibly easy to make, I will put up a recipe on these gorgeous rolls soon!

Enough of my babbling, hope you enjoyed this post!

Till next time,

For more information on Washoku Kitchen events, follow them on social media or check out their website!

 Milkteaxx and guest attended the Washoku Kitchen event courtesy of SD Marketing, opinions however remain her own.
Photos by Maikeru Nirvana unless otherwise stated. 

Say hi on social media, I only bite food! I can be found on Instagramfacebook, twitter and Google+

Monday, 17 August 2015

Chaco Bar, Darlinghurst

Hidden just of the busy Oxford St, Hole in the wall sized Chaco bar offers some authentic yakitori action for those who can't be in Japan just yet. (c'mon annual leave balance and bank balance!). They do a range of delicious skewers and snacks and have an extensive drinks menu for those keen. 

ume drink

We begin our evening with an ume drink, which is non- alcoholic as we all drove that night. (Safe drivers 101 ;) ) I found this drink to be quite moreish even thought it had a slightly unconventional aftertaste to it. 

pork belly slider 

The food here is designed to be shared, but when you give me such a good looking piece of pork in between a pillowy soft bao, I ain't sharing! (p.s. the girls wrestled it out of my hands before I devoured it). The pork was simply heavenly, it was soft and perfectly grilled, the bao was almost like inhaling clouds. Oh my....

crispy prawn slider 

We also tried out the crispy prawn bun for good measure, whilst it was good, it was definitely overshadowed by the pork belly slider.I also had issues with the slightly gelatinous sauce.

tsukune- chicken meatballs w/ 63 degree egg

On to one of my favourite dishes, Tsukune. You really can't go wrong with perfectly seasoned and grilled chicken mince (see them char marks!) and a oozy 63 degree egg! The chicken meatballs were soft without being mushy, complimenting the sweetness of the yakitori sauce well. Trust me when  I say, "lick that egg off the plate" despite our neighbours giving us weird looks. 

pork and asparagus

We were halfway through when we realised we didn't have much greens in our order, so we added the pork asparagus skewer. This dish wasn't bad but not something I'd be in a rush to write home about. 

miso eggplnt skewer and chef's recommendation of 6 skewers: pork belly, chicken thigh, chicken heart, wagyu beef, chicken wing and lamb

To save us breaking our backs when deciding on skewers, we decided to go with the chef's selection. 
The chef's selection gave us a pretty good sample of what was on offer and we enjoyed most of the skewers (oh hello wagyu and chicken wing!) with exception to the chicken heart which we all thought was too squeaky for our liking. 

close up of the miso eggplant

More veges were needed, so we opted for the miso eggplant. slightly crispy cubes of eggplant were covered in different aged miso pastes, giving a contrast in the depth of flavours. This was so good the non- eggplant eater devoured her serve (damn! I wanted more!) 

sizzling gyoza

We were roundinh up our feasting when sizzling cast iron pans of gyozas landed on the table next to us. We took that as a cue to continue eating and ordered one for ourselves. 
The gyoza was filled to the brim with a delicious pork and vegetable mix, the bottom was crispy and not overly oily.  Big thumbs up from all of us! 

interior seating 

Chaco Bar is quite tiny, so it is best to make a booking to avoid disappointment. The place is cosy and quite dim, perfect for a date or a casual catch up. 

So tell me guys, what is your favourite at yakitori? I personally have a weakness for pork belly and wagyu, let me know yours in the comments below!

Till next time,


Click to add a blog post for Chaco Bar on Zomato

              Say hi on social media, I only bite food! I can be found on Instagramfacebook, twitter and Google+

Monday, 10 August 2015

Alpha Restaurant, CBD

Greek cuisine is all about the share plates, the mountains of food that the families prepare together. I was first introduced to greek cuisine at Xanthi (which has sadly now closed down, but you can still visit Kefi's in Kingsgrove for a good feed!) so when a friend suggested we go check out Alpha, I was more than happy to abide.

Upon arrival, we are greeted with big wooden doors and a bright and airy open dining room. Great ambience for a small group catch up or even a date.

Let’s go straight to the food.

Barrel aged fetta tou fourno- chilli, roasted garlic, oregano

Oh my this blew my mind. Such a simple looking and sounding dish was jam packed with flavour and texture.
The saltiness of the aged feta went so well with roasted garlic which were pungent but oh so creamy. 

Tip? Order the pita bread and swipe that bowl clean!

Spanakopita- spinach pie, leeks, fetta, dill

You know when your eyes can fest more than your stomach? Yep, that is exactly what happened between ordering and the arrival of this monster looking spanakopita. The pastry was golden and crispy, filling was flavoursome and generous  but this bad boy was massive, it could easily fill up the 2 of us without any of the other foods we had.

moussaka of eggplant- seared scallops, taramosalata

This is not your traditional moussaka, instead it is Alpha’s play on it. It features beautifully seared scallops and a loaded eggplant stack.Whilst the flavours were beautiful, I sort of expected a more traditional version as this dish was part of their vintage menu.

Spit roasted organic chicken-tzatziki, lemon

I normally get my chicken feed from my local charcoal chicken place, but I had had some wonderful chicken outside of them of late so I decided to give this a try.
The chicken itself was good flavour wise but it was a bit dry, nothing a squeeze of the tzatziki went quite well with it, giving it a bit of refresh from the slightly dry chicken flesh.

Chocolate hazelnut baklava- honey syrup, sour cherry ice cream 

Talking about struggling stomach space, we still managed to order a dessert. Yeah because blogging purposes right? Oh the things Ido for you guys!

A quick browse of the menu (before the food coma hit) lead to us ordering the chocolate hazelnut baklava with sour cherry ice cream.

I am not a big fan of baklava to begin with as I find it too sweet and sticky. Alpha’s version has added chocolate within the nuts and a vanilla ice cream with sour cherry compote. Although the sour cherry does help a little with cutting through the richness ( or perhaps we were already stuffed to bursting point!) we struggled to finish this nutty dessert.

So tell me, do you always leave room for dessert? Do you always over order too? Let me know in the comments below!

Till next time,


Click to add a blog post for Alpha Restaurant on Zomato

                   Say hi on social media, I only bite food! I can be found on Instagramfacebook, twitter and Google+