My Zakaya – Surry Hills

A small little shop in Surry Hills. Like all other little shops in Surry Hill, this quiet little corner is busy on a Thursday night. 20140118-224606.jpg

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Best to make a reservation ahead. The interior can get quite warm without the AC on.

This is the kitchen, lined with bottles of sake.20140119-061043.jpg

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Quite an extensive list of Japanese alcoholic drinks. 20140119-061421.jpg

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You can request for help with drinks. So it says on the menu. 20140119-061818.jpg

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We ended up with Asahi, warm day warm interior. I’m guessing they kept the AC off to make people drink more. 20140119-061931.jpg

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The interior is rather dark as well, and I didn’t bring my spare torch! But I managed a shot of the specials wall. 20140119-062024.jpg

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Cute paper lights dot the interior. More ambience lighting than actual light. But you just can’t help but love these little features in a place. 20140119-062132.jpg

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Very basic settings. Service was great! I got in early, and iced water was served right up, immediately when I was seated. So that was good. Ice! There was ice in the water! And it melted away. So, no ice pictures.20140119-062309.jpg

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We ordered a scallop carpaccio. I like carpaccio. This one had great texture, juicy scallops, fresh and delicious. Few points though, it is made with fresh scallops, and with hot oil poured over.

I wish the scallops were colder, so with the hot oil, it would still be cold on the inside, but the dish was simply warm. And a little more zing was expected. I like my carpaccio zingy, tangy.

Nevertheless, still a decent carpaccio. Freshness is priority. Seasoning and flavouring is still pretty good. 20140119-062630.jpg

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Next up, Osaka kushi-age. It’s on the menu that Osaka’s kushi-age is fried. Fried!!! Interesting. I looked at the list and saw “lotus roots” (renkon) I HAD to order it. I LOVVEEEE lotus roots. It turned out well! Crunchy, good lotus roots, firm and has a good bite (not the powdery kind). It’s fried really well. Breading was golden and had a good crunch. Came with a dipping sauce on the side. Sweet and salty. Good stuff. 20140119-063143.jpg

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Ordered one of the specials. The squid (calamari? Cuttlefish? I’m horrible at telling the differences, but I love them all) The texture is not rubbery, and you can bite through it, which is amazing! No tug-of-war with little white pieces of ocean-rubber. Tender, with golden batter, perfectly crunchy.

A side of good tempura dipping sauce (not too salty, just right!) and their special, a green tea salt. Yes, green tea salt is salty, cause it’s salt. I like how it’s served separately so you get a choice. You can taste the green tea in the salt. That’s good.

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Japanese BBQ, Ei-hire. Dried fin of stingray or something. This is perfect for drinks + snack. Great ending to a meal.

I was expecting a plate of ready made, grilled Ei-hire, didn’t expect to be given a charcoal grill. I’ve never been to Japan, but from my extensive Japanese knowledge (from watching too much Anime) this is a traditional grill, where you see people sitting around, toasting rice cakes on.

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I really like Ei-hire. Reminds me of BBQ pork jerky I can get back in Singapore. Slightly sweet, hot and chewy. Perfect. Stringy too. We sat around BBQ-ing little pieces of dried fish fins, waited for them to turn golden, while sipping on cold Asahi. When it was done, I would put it aside to cool, but it takes AGES for it to cool down. So you just pull it apart with your fingers and eat. With mayo. I like mayo.

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