Thursday, 23 January 2014

Izakaya Sakura Japanese Restaurant

Tonight's dinner was a welcome back catch up for FH who had just returned from her trip to Hong Kong and Japan, lucky! We had actually wanted to utilise the Entertainment Book but there weren't any restaurants located centrally that we wanted to try so I suggested Izakaya Sakura Japanese Restaurant which I had been once before with hubby and was pretty impressed with the authentic and tasty Japanese fare.

I had been wanting to go back to Izakaya Sakura but I had not had much luck as it was either closed or full the last couple of times I wanted to go, so I made sure I booked a table for us all this Wednesday night at 6:30pm. They were already pretty busy when we arrived but we were seated quickly. The menus were already on the table as place mats but was different to the menu offered when I last dined there.

A waitress brought us water and took our drinks order shortly after we were seated. As usual, each of us picked a dish and we just added a couple more so that we had enough to share.

Our order

Eggplant Dengaku with Miso Paste $8
Grilled Squid $10
Karaage Chicken $10
Kaki Fry Oyster $12
Spider Roll $15
Sashimi Sakura $33
Usuzukuri Hiramasa Chilli Ponzu $16
Whole Eel Don $18
Cold Zaru Soba $8
Taiyaki x 5 $40 ($8 each)

We were served a complimentary dish not long after our food order was taken and as we could not quite make out what it was exactly we asked the waitress who informed us that it was chicken skin...interesting. We all took a bit each and let's just say cold, marinated chicken skin is not our thing.

Chicken Skin - Complimentary
Food and presentation - 4/5
Apart from the chicken skin, We were all very happy with the food at Izakaya Sakura. Everything was fresh and tasty and beautifully presented but of course I do have some complaints, although very minor. The eggplant arrived first and it was infused with miso flavour but unfortunately it was saturated with oil, so much oil that it squirted out when you bit into the eggplant. I make miso eggplant at home and I know it doesn't have to be saturated with oil for it to be tasty and cooked through.
Eggplant Dengaku $8
The grilled squid was a favourite, it was grilled perfectly to a nice texture and had the smokey flavour of the grill. The chicken karaage and fried oyster was also perfectly fried and nicely seasoned.
Grilled Squid $10
Karaage Chicken $10
Kaki Fry Oyster $12
The spider roll was nicely presented but nothing special in terms of flavour but it was still nice, although it could've done with a bit more soft shell crab in the roll.
Spider Roll $15
The sashimi was fresh and they had sea urchin! I love sea urchin and was very excited but the rest of the gang was not excited or fond of it, oh well, more for me. The sea urchin wasn't the freshest I've had but it was still good.
Sashimi Sakura $33
We all enjoyed the usuzukuri hiramasa with chilli and ponzu which is essentially thinly sliced kingfish with chilli and ponzu. It was another favourite for the evening. The hiramasa was fresh and the chilli (which was really hot) and ponzu just went perfectly together.
Usuzukuri Hiramasa Chilli Ponzu $16
The eel over rice was slightly on the salty side but otherwise the eel was cooked nicely and the sauce was actually quite nice. On the other spectrum was the cold soba, I felt the soba dipping sauce needed a bit more a punch.
Whole Eel Don $18
Cold Zaru Soba $8
We all decided on taiyaki (fish shaped cake filled with azuki bean paste) for dessert, they gave us two scoops of ice cream with the taiyaki which I thought was generous. Unfortunately, the taiyaki was not fresh so the cake was a bit tough to bite through but it tasted good.
Taiyaki $8
Service - 3.5/5
The waitresses were all very friendly, polite and always had a lovely smile on their faces. They checked up on us now and again but was a little forgetful, like when they forgot my plum wine which I so desperately needed that night and I had to ask for it after they brought out everyone else's drinks. They also didn't clear the table as often as I would've liked and did not top up our water automatically.

Atmosphere and decor - 4.5/5

I like the way that the restaurant is set up and the decor has enough Japanese influence for me to take them seriously. There was a nice buzz to the place. I loved the lighting because it was so easy to get good photos of the food.

Value for money - 5/5
Definitely worth the money and is cheaper than similar restaurants. The food is authentic and fresh, service isn't too shabby and it had a nice atmosphere and decor. Big thumbs up.

Will definitely be back for more tasty and authentic Japanese food. 

Taste Test Total Score 17/20

Address: 2/182 James St, Northbridge WA 6003
Telephone: (08) 9328 2525
Reservations: Yes

Opening times
Monday: 6pm - 10pm
Tuesday: CLOSED
Wednesday and Thursday: 6pm - 10pm
Friday and Saturday: 6pm - 10:30pm
Sunday: 6pm - 10pm

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