14.6 C
Byron Shire
April 18, 2021

Stop the train, I want to get on…

Latest News

Midwife quits

Deb Walsh, Fernleigh It’s become untenable for me to continue working in hospitals. I have quit. I will be deregistered soon...

Other News

SCU named as partner in two national drought hubs

Southern Cross University has been announced as playing a crucial partnership role in two new Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs.

Inspector condemns prisoner health services

In the forward to the Inspector of Custodial Services Report published last month, Fiona Rafter Inspector of Custodial Services says that the provision of health services to inmates in New South Wales custodial facilities is a complex and challenging responsibility.

Byron Shire celebrates seniors during festival week

An action-packed program has been planned for the 2021 Byron Shire Seniors Festival with drumming, dancing, walking, yoga and laughing on the program.

Common courtesy

Anonymous, Byron Bay First of all, thank you to those customers who did the right thing and wore their masks in...

Dead rats in the Byron bubble?

Poppa Veet Mayo, Main Arm Am I the only one who can smell a dead rat in this bubble called...

Red Cross offers additional bushfire grants

Australian Red Cross is opening a final round of support grants for people affected by the bushfires who are suffering extreme financial hardship.

Sushi2-stockimage

Matthew Michaelis

I make it no secret that Japanese cuisine is one of my favourites. It’s a food that’s mostly light, it’s generally made with energy, veneration and a respect that’s inherent in the Japanese culture.

When I came to this area, I started an eating affair with the local Japanese food outlets; Sushi Wave was the first, the ‘mother’, the original if you like, then O-Sushi restaurant came to Byron Bay.

These eateries held my attention with a consistency and quality that I appreciated (and missed) after leaving the big smoke.

Now years on, I consider the fact that many of the new Japanese restaurants have been spawned from these sushi stops.

Chefs from O-Sushi have set up their own places, while other familiar faces pop up all over the place: some working, some operating and others planning to.

The Japanese community is rapidly growing in the Byron Shire along with our taste for their cuisine and I suppose after working many years to produce successful outlets for others, you’d want to stop the train and get off into your own obsession.

This is a tip of the hat to the folks that thought it a good idea all those years ago, and a nod to the new Japanese eateries.

Here’s a selection to try if you haven’t already.

 

o-sushi-ownersO-Sushi: making waves with big changes

For those who aren’t yet in the know, this Japanese tour de force is one of three restaurants owned by two very smart local women. Karni Shai and Chaya Regev are those two.

Karni opened the doors of O-Sushi in July 2004 with Chaya’s late husband, Danny, as the original partner.

After enjoying the Japanese food served in the first and original sushi in Byron Bay, ‘Sushi Wave’, Karni saw an opportunity to provide more of a good thing to us all. The rest is history.

On Danny’s early passing last year, his wife Chaya continued the partnership with Karni in the businesses. Sushi Wave later moved and became Kinoko Sushi Bar and Restaurant, now operating on Jonson St in Byron Bay near the first roundabout.

o-sushi-1‘O-Sushi came together in 2004 and was blessed with four amazing chefs.

Takayuki and Takashi, now of Doma Cafe in Federal, and also Taka Fumi and Kane now of Izakaya Yu in Mullumbimby, all worked for seven and a half years with us’, Karni told me. ‘They then went on their own way, firstly doing the markets and Bluesfest, then their own restaurants.’

 

The recent renovations here were completed from start to finish in an amazing 2.5 weeks. ‘It was challenging and intense’, Karni says. The project was designed by Mariko Miyagishima from Sydney: ‘Shestarted drawing and the plans were laid’, Karni told me, ‘Chaya and I, with Zuika Aloni as project manager, worked non-stop to complete the renovations in the shortest time possible’.

It may have been fast, but the subtle and clean atmosphere they’ve created here is a credit to all involved. A fitting Japanese fitting.

The menu hasn’t changed. Teriyaki with the optional base of bio-dynamic, organic local brown rice.

The train pulls out plated with all the nigiri and nori you could want. O-Sushi supports local businesses where possible – Bay Seafood supplies the fish and they themselves try to get as much local fish as possible, so occasionally you may find tuna missing from the train.

o-sushi-2Sarah Wheeler from Pure Melt Chocolate does custom-made organic sugar-free chocolates. Max Brenner chocolates are coming too. There’s a good wine selection and some serious graded sake. O-Sushi definitely looks to be on track with their latest changes.

O-Sushi. Eat-in/takeaway. Fully licensed. Open 7 days 11am–9pm (Winter), 11am–10pm (Summer).

Byron Bay: Shop 15, Woolworths Plaza, Jonson St,

6685 7103.

Coolangatta: 32/ 72–80 Marine Pde (07) 5536 5455.

Broadbeach: 2/12 Charles Ave (07) 5570 2166.

www.osushi.com.au

[email protected]

 

Doma_SushiArigato Doma

This quirky renovated Federation building is surrounded by ground, grass and dirt. A doma, in Japan, connects all the parts of an area or household together, so you can leave your shoes on in these places.

All nations can come as they are and enjoy the casual concept, hence the name Doma. I can’t see a fireplace anywhere (common in a doma) but this place is connecting the community in a nice way.

Pop into this unique east-meets-west eat-in takeaway and you’ll be confused as to whether it’s going to be a hamburger day, a chook katsudon day, or perhaps the right time for some freshly sliced sashimi.

This is a truly free-ranging menu.

Takashi Yaguchi and Takayuki Kuramoto are the owners, originally both from O-Sushi and both still held in high regard by the owners of that restaurant.

This early relationship inadvertently created a Japanese Eden for the local community. What exceptional choice we now enjoy in the northern rivers. Gorgeous landscapes minutes from the beaches and some of the world’s best are cooking lunches and dinners right under our noses. Gosh, if you can’t get excited about these sorts of places up in the hills, then you’re simply a sourpuss and nothing’s going to float your boat.

Doma_The_TeamNow, reality denotes that if something is popular and without an overly big staffing, then service may be a little slow at times. At these times, just remember that good old saying ‘good things come to those who wait’. This is not to say that you’ll die of old age waiting for your tucker either.

A coffee from Moonshine Roasters along with good and reasonable cafe fare has the West covered. The East is well represented with temaki (nori cones) their speciality, and Japanese staples like nigiri, sashimi, and the family dish of katsudon. This dish is made normally with a schnitzel of pork atop rice.

Doma has anglicised it and turned it upside down with a schnitzel of chicken on the bottom and rice on top with egg. Weekends bring with them local musicians that match nicely with the lively dining crowd.

I’m constantly hearing the ‘Takas’ and their team receiving warm accolades from locals. I’m sure they’d be embarrassed by such positive appraisals. I’ve met unassuming Japanese folk like Tetsuya Wakuda of Tetsuya’s restaurant fame.

He started his career washing dirty dishes in Surry Hills for another restaurateur, then opened his own place – now he’s one of the world’s top chefs.

Doma

Eat in/Take Out/Catering

BYO

7.30am–2.30pm Mon–Fri 7.30am–3pm Sat, Sun

3–6 Albert St, Federal.

6688 4711

 

sabi-train-2Wabi-Sabi

‘It is difficult to study the universe if you only study one planet’ – Miyamoto Musashi. These words are written above the drinks fridge as you walk into the Sabi restaurant in Ocean Shores.

When it comes to its people, traditions and way of life, Japan is a small ‘planet’ that can seem a universe away from the Aussie culture. Many Japanese are now making Australia their home though, and cleverly some have chosen this neck of the woods.

This small Japanese diner is the best thing that could have come to this otherwise typical Aussie shopping centre.

Japanese people have an aesthetic eye; beauty and grace sit in their culture in about the same measure as the meat pie and footy sit in ours. This sushi diner has been built and designed as its name suggests, with an uncomplicated and tasteful style in mind.

They’re not trying to be fancy, it’s practical and accessible dining.

Apart from its philosophical billboarding, Sabi has an unusual speciality and it’s not a Japanese creation. Here they house an espresso machine and serve a coffee that’s surprisingly good. Allpress comes complete with coffee art and a proud barista to make it for you – go figure! I’ve been known to wait at the door for a cup in the morning.

sabi-agedashi-high-resSabi, like O-Sushi, has plenty of parking. It’s not a bad thing to exist on the edge of a carpark after all and, like O-Sushi in Byron Bay, they flank a major grocer too. So, you can go shopping for dinner and end up taking dinner home instead.

I’ve snacked here too, instead of the alternatives for an afternoon lull, healthy Japanese sushi and a miso soup will get you going again (it’s a blessing for my toddler when his blood sugars are running low).

Skilled staff and recognisable faces, some former O-Sushi stalwarts, hand make the fare. All forms of good Japanese food are available here, from the standards on the train – salmon, scallops, prawn nigiri, nori rolls and seared salmon (fresh fish daily comes in from Bay Seafood)  to the popular salmon nori roll, deep-fried with a tempura batter.

Here you’ll find an unusual version of agedashi tofu with shredded daikon radish and ginger flavours hidden under the tofu, sitting with other popular choices from the kitchen: teriyaki, seared salmon and tempura all a la carte and available throughout the day and night.

Wabi-Sabi refers to an ancient Japanese aesthetic – an appreciation of beauty that’s imperfect and comes with age. And, like I have, this nondescript shopfront has waited years for the right people to come and create a simple, elegant restaurant… now it’s a beauty.

Sabi

Eat in/Take out

Fully Licensed.

8am–5pm Mon, Tues

8am–7pm Wed, Thurs

8am–7.30pm Fri, Sat

8am–3pm Sun

Ocean Village Shopping Centre, Ocean Shores

6680 1478

[email protected]

 

Izakaya-yu-1‘Yu’ may be pleased

Tapas is not an uncommon concept. Practically every culture has a version of it. Izakaya is the Japanese equivalent and as a style it seems to work for this petite Mullumbimby restaurant.

Izakaya Yu is the polar opposite of the newly sized-up O-Sushi, yet the atmosphere remains comfortable and makes a diner feel as though it’s roomier than it actually is.

You get the sense that the two owner-chefs Takafumi and Kane decided on the name and concept for this little diner as a standard to pursue, and a statement to all who entered, rather than just tagging it.

The Yu in Izakaya Yu is Japanese for pleasure and I’m sure these founding chefs from O-Sushi restaurant take pleasure in the fact that they now own a well-patronised and loved local eatery.

The restaurant’s location itself is strangely magnetic. Not the kind of attraction you’d have to a beachfront or mountain retreat; rather this goes to the primordial in us all – it’s mostly out of sight, and a cosy cave.

Izakaya-yu-5People love tripping down side streets to reveal to their friends a hidden gem. It’s a buzz for the new diner to suddenly stumble upon it, though during lunches and dinners it’s a packed cavern.

Don’t try to walk in here without booking between 6 and 8 any night it’s open; you’ll be waiting a while if you do. Again, this is not sizable dining and only sits a modest amount of diners.

The Japanese are a consistent people. The menu here is as good as any I’ve tried in the neighbourhood and has all the goodies that we’ve come to expect. Seared salmon and the well-liked agedashi tofu come perfectly plated. Nigiri, nori and glistening sashimi are less than a metre from your mouth.

Of course when in an Izakaya diner try some sake. Super premium sakes are available or try a Yu cocktail: Sake Mojito with sake and fresh mint. Hai!

Izakaya Yu has two Japanese chefs at the helm committed to pleasing through their food. They too joined O-Sushi in 2004 and contributed to the popularity of that restaurant for years.

This is now their culinary expression and one that has easily won the approval of the Shire folk since it opened two years ago.

Izakaya Yu

1/53 Stuart Street

Eat in/Take Out

Fully Licensed

Lunch: 11.30am–2pm

Mon–Sat.

Dinner: 5–8.30pm

Tue–Sat.

6684 4545

www.izakayayu.com.au


Recent stories tagged Food & Wine:

Basiloco, from Italy with love

Photos and story: Caz Parker On the Italian island of Sardinia villagers are ten times more likely to reach the age of 100 than are people born elsewhere in the world. Longevity experts believe Sardinians’ longer lives are owed to...

0

Au revoir La Table

After six-and-a-half years of fabulous menus and a steady and generous culinary contribution to our region, La Table Cafe and Restaurant is coming to the end in its present form – the Mullumbimby premises.

0

Educating the palate; feeding the imagination

Eating a nicely prepared, cooked and served meal out, these days, is as easy as filling your car with petrol.

0

Rising to market

What’s in a name? In some cases people sit for hours stabbing in the dark, grabbing at suggestions and generally trying to inject some meaning into a business name. Other times, you just hear the name, you see the product and you say to yourself Yes!

0

Making a crust

I can attest to the almost inhuman hours bakers keep while toiling for this very basic human dietary need – bread.

0

A northerly aspect

You’d need a couple of lifetimes to get to the end of the good things happening on the north coast.

0

Cafe culture by night

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote up the Aquarius cafe, bar and restaurant in Lawson Street in Byron Bay.

0

Managing to feed the soul

We humans are sentient beings and when it comes to sitting in someone else’s space, I know I get the jitters if the overall atmosphere is unfriendly, stiff or uncomfortable.

0

Bonne Santé

Santé is now open at 10am, seven days per week, for a brunch with a twist. Here, they have a rep’ for a delicate pizza crust (among other culinary choices), and using that reputation, they’ve created a brekkie hybrid that’s being introduced on the brunch menu.

0

Phở (‘fahr’) the love of food

Vietnamese people move in very small circles. It’s a cliquey community where ex-pats are concerned no matter where they’ve settled.

0

 


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Common courtesy

Anonymous, Byron Bay First of all, thank you to those customers who did the right thing and wore their masks in hospitality venues on the weekend. However,...

Poor Council drains

Kate Anderson, Mullumbimby In response to and support of Kerry Gray’s and Robin Gracie’s letters Echo 31 March). The McGoughans Lane blocked drains are the tip...

Electricity ‘fun facts’

Anonymous, Ballina I’m surprised that a part of David Lowe’s online article of March 15 slipped under the fact-check radar (‘Tamara Smith Calls for More Fairness’) in...

Coalition ‘hellbent’

Mat Morris, Bangalow The NSW coalition seems to be hellbent on outdoing their federal counterparts when it comes to the denigration of women and protection of...