Nestled in the back of the old Stock Exchange Building on Bond Street is Sushia Izakaya - a modern sushi restaurant offering a sushi train plus restaurant section and bar seating that overlooks the sushi masters at work. It's the triple threat of sushi!
I don't make it up to the "big end of town" very often and I'm surprised at how much this little strip in the financial district has changed. The office tower has been totally refurbished since my 1995 job interview in this very same building (yes, I'm THAT old). There's a cluster of good looking restaurants nestled around the side near the tiny (and no longer scary looking) Abercrombie Lane (aka the home of Establishment). It makes me miss working in the city - especially when there are such good eating options these days.
Because I'm dining by myself I grab a seat at the sushi train and wait for the chefs to send out some of their most popular dishes for me to try (yes, it's a tough life I know). I know I shouldn't as I'm sure I have quite the feast heading my way but my hand just reached out and grabbed a plate of sushi from the train. It had been tempting me for a few laps so I was helpless to its lure. I'm a sucker for anything with cooked tuna so the salmon + tuna roll ($4.50) is perfect. Compared to a recent sushi train lunch out west that nearly bankrupted me I have to say the sushi train prices here are fairly cheap.
With my single plate from the sushi train inhaled I sip on my green tea that I think has been steeped with toasted brown rice - I love the nutty flavour this gives to the tea. Whilst enjoying my green tea it's hard not to be struck by the decor here. The walls are shaped like large, wooden fins, and the wave shaped embedded into the walls make me feel like I'm dining "in" the ocean.
The first dish sent out for me to try is one of my all time favourites - agedashi tofu ($8.50 for 4 pieces). After recently trying to cook tofu at home for the first time ever I have a new found respect for people that can cook tofu well, without it falling apart at the slightest glance in its direction. I loved the sweet dashi broth that was studded with crispy almond flakes that offered a great textural counterbalance to the silky smooth tofu.
Next up was the seafood kushiyaki ($12.90 for two skewers). The slightly charred, tender pieces of salmon, calamari and prawns were topped with a sweet and spicy chilli balsamic sauce that reminded me of a sticky chilli jam in flavour.
The sushi and sashimi platter ($34.90) is the stuff that sushi lovers dream off (well, I do anyway). This beautiful looking platter is as vibrant + colourful as a piece of art (and in a way I guess it is art). The platter is piled with tender pieces of delicately cut fresh sashimi (15 pieces of sashimi in all!!!!), piles of nigiri sushi (raw sushi on rice) + aburi sushi (that's nigiri sushi that's had a bit of a go around with the old blowtorch = charred, smoky and delicious)! I could quite happily eat a platter like this for lunch everyday (along with some agedashi tofu of course).
I don't usually order anything other than seafood or veggies when I'm at a Japanese restaurant so I was interested to try the 9+ Wagyu beef steak ($29.50) with a sesame demi sauce. Wagyu beef isn't something I'd normally eat as I generally stick to grass fed beef and I'm surprised at how cheap this dish is given how expensive some Wagyu dishes can be. It's definitely a bargain dish for wagyu lovers - though I still do prefer the flavour of grass fed beef. What I really enjoyed on this dish (apart from the lotus root chip) was the sweet potato mash - it's the sweetest sweet potato that I've ever tasted (which I think may be partially due to the sesame demi sauce).
The food at Sushia Izakaya is beautiful and wonderfully fresh. I think this restaurant is a great addition to the dining options at the "big end of town" especially now that Sushi Choo has cleared out of The Ivy just down the road. Even better is that Sushia Izakaya has a focus on using fresh and ethically sourced produce which I think is just fantastic. The restaurant also supports the work of Compassion (a child advocacy organization) in Burayou, Ethiopia. Nicely done Sushia Izakaya - dining with a conscious. I like it.
Sushia Izakaya can be found at Shop 4 (ground floor), 20 Bond Street, Sydney. Phone them on 9247 9911.