Fujiya is one of the first places The BFF and I frequented when we started going out to dinner together on a weekly basis. I'd just moved back to Sydney from Broken Hill and I was desperate to eat as much Japanese as my stomach would allow. We'd go here for weeks in a row and I'd never get sick of the place. Fujiya was the first place where I tried Soft Shell Crab - it was love at first bite and I've been addicted ever since. It's also located right above Baskin and Robins...doesn't hurt to finish things off with some Peanut Butter Chocolate ice-cream. Does it? No.
It's been YEARS since The BFF visited Fujiya however. I guess we just got
caught up in visiting all the new places...but if you don't revisit the
old ones occasionally you'll turn around one day and they'll be gone.
Each time I've visited Fujiya I've been seated on one of the tiny little booths that surround the edge of the restaurant...the booths are great for two or three people, but boy those wooden benches are hard, even for a well-padded bottom like mine. The view over bustling George Street takes my mind of my derriere however, and some Green Tea ($3.80) warms us both up quite nicely.
We kick things off with one of our old-time favourites Eel Rice ($12.80) - fried rice studded with meaty pieces of flaked eel. At first it's not as good as we remembered...it tasted kinda grassy (weird I know). We left it for awhile and moved onto the Miso Eggplant ($9.80) and when we revisited the Eel Rice later on it was great - just as I remember it. Very odd indeed. I ended dropping my brand new camera into the Miso Eggplant, smooshing some of it beyond recognition (the eggplant, not the camera), but it still tasted OK - so no harm done (to the eggplant anyway). I've tried making Miso Eggplant at home a few times but it's nowhere as good as this - charged eggplant that is melt-in-the mouth soft with just the right amount of Miso giving it a slight saltiness.
The BFF orders a Gyuniku Maki ($6.90) - grilled beef wrapped around pieces of green shallot. I've had this before and it's GOOD, the seared beef partners really well with the shallot. I decided on the Grilled Shitake Mushrooms with Shallots ($4.80). WOW - this was FANTASTIC, so fantastic I ordered another serve all to myself. The mushrooms were so meaty, yet tender at the same time and the shallots were cooked through but still firm to the bite. I think the seasoning really set this dish apart - I think it was white pepper with salt, but The BFF swears it's MSG (such a cynic)!
Being a chip fiend I find it hard to go past Renkon Chips at a Japanese restaurant these days. We decided to make it healthy by adding it to a salad ($9.80). That works right? All of a sudden junk food becomes health food. I love the dressing that they put on Japanese salads - it's tangy, and just a bit sweet. We also order a Spinach Salad with Sesame Dressing ($5.30) - more healthy food.
Ah, hello Soft Shell Crab Roll ($9.80), my old friend. Our Soft Shell Crab roll was perfect, wrapped tightly so the rice didn't fall apart as I wrangled it with my non-existent chopstick skills. When you can't use chopsticks a tightly wrapped roll makes all the difference - as does perfectly crispy pieces of Soft Shell Crab.
Fujiya is at 609 George Street, Sydney. Phone them on 9283 2268.