For some people comfort food is in the form of an indulgent chocolate dessert, fried chicken or slurping up the noodles from a hot bowl of ramen. But for me, it’s all about the japanese style skewered Yakitori meat. I’ve probably lost all the vegetarian readers at this point, but there’s just something so appealing about hot smokey juicy pieces of tender yakitori meat still glistening from the heat and dressing.
Toriciya is a small Japanese izakaya nestled away on a quiet street in the suburb of Cammeray. The restaurant prides itself in being Sydney’s first authentic yakitori bar that also offers a variety of izakaya small eats to accompany their extensive list of sake. I’ve been here previously years ago and i dont know why it’s taken me so long to come back.
Aside from yakitori, I also came here for their fresh Tasmanian Sea Urchin ($28). A few of my friends have been raving on about this recently and it reminded me to come back.
You can have with rice as sushi for $8 a piece but i was happy to eat it as it is, served with a bit of seaweed. Toriciya’s sea urchin was one of the freshest i’ve had in Sydney. It was wonderfully creamy and i was itching for another round of this.
Tsukune meat balls have always been a favourite. Skewered pieces of minced chicken meat comes served with a sauce mixture consisting of egg yolk and soy sauce. Toriciya’s version arrives piping hot off the grill but instead of the usual egg soy mix on the side, it was brushed lightly with a tare (soy based) dressing. It was a lovely combination of savoury and slightly sweet.
After the chicken comes the egg, or is it the other way around? We ordered the Shiratama quail eggs which were tasty but also fun to eat!
More chicken arrives in the form of cartilege. The dish is crunchy in texture, charred and well seasoned. It’s an addictive kind of dish that makes you come back for more.
The Baked Savoy Cabbage (13) is an unsuspecting menu item that could’ve been easily missed. But like everyone says, dont judge a book by its cover, or in this case, dont judge a dish by its name! I only know how good this is as i’ve had it before in a previous visit years ago. The Baked Savoy Cabbage is baked, lightly dressed in an addictive citrusy soy dressing and smells strongly of truffle. Yes, it had me at truffle.
In terms of seafood i always like it simple and the Grilled King Fish head (13) caught my eye on the menu. While it might not appeal to some people this is one of my favourite parts to eat apart from the wing, a lot of the fattier meats are hidden here.
…and yes, everything is edible including the eye!
More fish arrives in the form of another favourite, the Gindara Black Miso Cod (16). There were worrying looks exchanged as this first arrived as it looked a bit paler than expected. The last thing we wanted was a bland piece of fish however, this turned out to be one of the best miso cods i’ve had despite the appearance. The fish was cooked perfectly with the meat easily flaking apart and it was packed full of miso flavour.
The nasu dengaku (14) is always a safe option and the flesh of eggplant was very soft, simply grilled with a sweet miso paste.
Miso is followed by more miso with the Simmered Ox tongue in Nagoya red miso (16). Chunky pieces of tender soft ox tongue is cooked in a simmering hot stone pot topped with fresh shallots. This is a hearty dish that pair perfectly well with a bowl of rice.
I’ve always loved things that came in a stone pot because i love the crispy edges that forms and this was a good homey comforting dish. Becareful not to be impatient because it could cause some serious tongue burning from the heat.
We finished the last of the hot mains with a Nabeyaki Hot Pot Udon, something simple but tasty.
After so much hot food we were craving for something cold and we ended up with a simple scoop of roasted tea icecream served with a wafer. Theres no fancy plating or dry ice theatrics, but this is the place to go if you’re looking for authentic Japanese home style cooking. Service is also efficient here and I left again with a good impression, happy to have discovered a couple of dishes to return for in the future.
E i l e e n.