October 09, 2017

Toshiya, owned by Japanese chef Toshiya Kai is his successful self-titled restaurant in Cremorne which was established in July 2010. Specialising in fusion Japanese the restaurant has an extensive menu that ambitiously caters for everyone as the diner is seriously spoiled for choice. There is even two banquet options if you’re overwhelmed with the menu. The restaurant was brimming with people when we dined there on a chilly Thursday night in late August and the restaurant appeared very inviting with its warm cosy ambience and timber fixtures and fittings. 

Outside of the restaurant
We were seated at a table for two and were informed that the chef would be doing essentially an omakase (allowing the chef to choose the dishes for us). This was rather exciting and it was a great opportunity to try different things.

Sake display
The vibrant sake display at the front of the counter will immediately grab your attention as you walk in.

Yuzu umeshu plum wine cocktail $8.50
If you enjoy citrus beverages then this yuzu cocktail is a great choice. It had quite a refreshing sweet, sour and bitter flavour.

A bowl of edamame came out as part of the entree plate and was an excellent snack to start off the meal.

Special assorted entree $39
Then came an exquisite selection of entrees and this plate was pretty big as it almost occupied the entire table. Everything was delicious and whet our appetite. I don't even know where to begin but let us start with the sashimi tacos as they were the standout for me. 

Sashimi taco
Deep-fried crispy gyoza wrappers posed as taco shells which held a filling consisting of diced kingfish and salmon sashimi. The marinated sashimi tasted very fresh and I welcomed the added flavours from the chilli mayonnaise which tantalised the taste buds. This Mexican and Japanese fusion was ingenious and so addicting to eat, beware that some of the filling may start dribbling onto your hands.

Tempura soft shell crab
Deep-fried foods will never disappoint me and that was exactly the case for these delicious morsels. The tempura batter could have been a tad lighter as it did seem a bit thick in texture, nonetheless it was deep-fried to achieve an appreciable crunchiness while retaining the juiciness of the soft shell crab housed inside. Topped with spicy leek, shallots, flying fish roe, chilli mayo and shiso soy it made for a flavourful and crunchy mouthful.

Grilled scallops
To be completely honest I'm neutral towards scallops, I neither like or dislike them. However, these grilled scallops were swimming in a mouthwatering pool of garlic butter sauce and topped with aromatic fried scallion which made them more appealing. They were quite tender and were complemented perfectly by the sauce which we slurped from the shell afterwards.

Duck dumplings
The dumplings were pan-fried so the bottoms were crispy and golden in colour and came with side of dipping sauce which I presume was a mixture of soy sauce and vinegar. The warm duck meat filling was lightly seasoned and could have been juicier however duck is quite lean so it would be difficult to accomplish. I also found that there was excess oil clinging on to the gyoza wrappers. This was my least favourite of the entrees but in no way was it bad as it was simply overshadowed by everything else on the plate.

Salmon carpaccio
The glistening plate of salmon carpaccio looked very enticing, consisting of sliced salmon sitting in a generous amount of yuzu dressing and of course it did not disappoint in taste. The sashimi was extremely fresh and was well matched with the yuzu which added a good amount of zing to the fish.

Hamachi carpaccio $15.50
I was impressed by the salmon carpaccio from the entree plate and this kingfish variant I was equally impressed by. The kingfish was very delicately sliced to an almost paper thin thickness while the spicy and sour pesto dressing matched the fish superbly. I can definitely enjoy raw fish in this carpaccio style as the raw factor is subdued by all the flavours of the condiments.

I have to again commend Toshiya-san's presentation which was very colourful and eye catching and we can clearly see the Western influences in the plating.

Miso wagyu beef on a Japanese Houba Leaf $19.50
The next dish peaked our interest as a charcoal brazier was brought out by the waiter with a large houba leaf and on top were thinly sliced pieces of beef and mushroom garnished with chopped spring onion. I would have to declare it as my favourite dish of the night. I believe the the beef was marinated in some miso, soy sauce and sugar as I detected some sweetness to the beef. The wagyu beef was extremely tender, juicy and super flavourful. A bowl of freshly steamed white rice would have gone so well with this dish.

Seared salmon roll $16.50
The inside-out avocado roll was beautifully presented. I love seared fish so I was happy to see this on the table. The salmon was fresh along with the avocado which was perfectly ripe. The presence of the sweet miso sauce with the mayonnaise meant there was no need to dip the sushi into soy sauce (which there was none) and we found ourselves cleaning up the mayo and miso sauce with the sushi as it was so good. I'm assuming Toshiya-san's use of spicy leek is a hallmark for his dishes and I don't think I have ever encountered it before. It really stood out to me as it gave a very unique spicy kick to the dish but at times I felt it overpowered the food slightly.

Lobster volcano roll $29
The photos don't do this humongous roll justice as you can't fathom just how huge this dish was, we were actually in awe when this arrived and DT couldn't help but whip out his phone to snap some photos of it. By this point our stomachs were quite satisfied but we managed to demolish this monster. There was an adequate amount of lobster meat spread throughout the roll.

Top view of lobster volcano roll
The battered and deep fried lobster meat was quite succulent and the unagi sauce and spicy mayo really upped the dish as it was an explosion of flavours on the palate.

40 degree slow cooked salmon with six sauces $18.50
This last dish was completely unexpected and the epitome of fusion cuisine. Being slow-cooked the salmon was so tender that it literally melted in the mouth with the salmon roe adding bursts of refreshing saltiness. The plating of the sauces were very decorative and accented the salmon well. 

Assorted dessert plate $14.50
We were presented with three desserts consisting of chocolate spring rolls, sweet red bean ice cream and green tea creme brûlée, a perfect way to end the food-filled night. The green tea creme brûlée gave a satisfying crack when softly tapped with the spoon to reveal a warm and creamy green tea custard. It wasn't overly sweet and had an ample amount of green tea flavour. DT and I also enjoyed the red bean ice cream which was quite creamy and had a muted sweetness about it which came naturally from the red beans. The chocolate spring rolls could have been executed better as the rolled pastry was a bit dense for my taste but it was crunchy nonetheless. I was expecting a light and flaky spring roll however it was still quite enjoyable as the chocolate filling was melted and still warm which contrasted well with the crunchiness of the pastry.

Now this dessert plate would normally set you back $14.50 however if you're a Washoku Lovers member it is discounted to $8.50 which is a significant saving! If you are not a member yet then you can easily sign up here and it is free.

Toshiya-san has over 20 years of culinary experience and he takes washoku and modernises it by incorporating elements of different culinary traditions to create unique dishes and most importantly he does it well. I’m sure this has been the key to his success as his menu is innovative while staying true to his Japanese roots.

Shop 1, 283 Military Road
Cremorne NSW 2090

Opening Hours
Friday & Saturday
Lunch: 12:00pm - 2:30pm
Tuesday - Sunday
Dinner: 6:00pm - 10:00pm

Toshiya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

DT and I dined as guests of Toshiya and Yuri from SDMG Marketing

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