Located in the heart of Sydney’s Chinatown, Yebisu Bar & Grill is an authentic Japanese Restaurant specialising in Izakaya dining, serving a mixture of small plates or tapas-like dishes to be shared. If you’re game, Izakaya is best enjoyed with accompanying drinks like sake or beer which are very popular, otherwise you can always have a non-alcoholic drink to go with your food.
As you step inside at the main entrance on the ground floor you’ll be captivated by the impressive deco that flows throughout the restaurant. It’s like a mystery awaits you as you enter the lift with an image of beaming deity of good fortune Ebisu above giving you his blessing for a fun and bountiful meal.
Some of the walls have been graffitied with vibrant colours including images of famous Japanese pop culture icons like Astro Boy and Godzilla along with the majestic Fuji-san and even Bruce Lee makes an appearance. Its modern take echoes with exposed bricks accented by an effective balance of lighting including colourful displays of flowers and traditional paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling providing an intimate Japanese touch for diners.
We sat by the Sushi Bar where we could see the Sushi Chef as he shows off some precision knife skills and the art of sushi and sashimi making. Next to the sushi bar is the grilling station which provides endless aromatic whiffs, and behind us on the left is the Bar serving a wide selection of cocktails, mocktails, whisky and other spirits, beer, sake, umeshu and wine.
Every table is fitted with a tablet for touch screen ordering. Scroll the menu and when you find the food or drink you want to try, just press the photo to order. There are three main menus on the screen; drinks, lunch, dinner and special offers depending on the time you’re dining.
Since it’s Izakaya style, we want to savour the dining by melding food and drinks together. We kick off with our favourite Japanese beers, Kirin and Sapporo to raise the celebratory ‘Kampai’ (Cheers). The first food to arrive was the 9 piece Kingfish Sashimi – $16.80, it was fresh with a hint of oily flesh and works just as well compared to the more popular tuna or salmon. Nothing beats a bowl of crispy Lotus Root Chips – $7.80 as accompaniment to an ice cold beer, a perfect finger food whilst waiting for the next order to arrive.
Grilled meat aromas will make anyone hungry and our next dish was a plate of skewers delight; Unagi (Eel)- $8.80, Wagyu Beef -$6.50 and Pork Belly $3.50. The unagi was melt in the mouth, I could honestly have 6 of these easy whilst the tender grilled wagyu was glazed with sweet and savoury teriyaki sauce and the grilled pork belly was seasoned only with salt. When you order grilled dishes, it will highlight on the menu your choice of sauces to go with the dish.
Excitement arose on the restaurant floor when the sake trolley started to circulate. Knowing our luck, we were the first stop. ‘Taste first before you order’, the waitress said. I tasted a few varieties and I really liked the crisp and smooth hit on the palate of cold Hakkaisan Sake – $13.40 100 ml served with 2 ‘ochoco’ (cups). After the sake was poured and served, the waitress shouted a traditional Japanese saying, rang the bell and all the staff cheerfully responded back in a chorus, what a showstopper!
If you like something savoury served on a sizzling hot plate, try the Radish Steak – $11.80 with chicken mince and savoury sauce garnished with shallots and nori. The radish was thick, juicy and the sauce was flavoursome.
Yebisu offers a wide range of Nigiri/Sushi and Maki Rolls. Izakaya night is not complete with out Sushi and you can order the ‘moriawase’ (set), or like us we prefer the a la carte way of ordering. We order the following all served in pairs; Tuna, Aburi Salmon, Sea Urchin and Salmon Roe (was served separately) – total $30.20. The sushi platter was made fresh in front of us, the cuts of the fish were consistent with the size of the rice along with the right balance of sweetness and acidity.
King Prawn Tempura with Truffle Salt 2 pieces – $13.80 was quiet enticing. Served cut into two pieces, the head part was crispy and succulent oozing with juice and the flesh was crispy on the outside, steamy and soft on the inside.
We finished off our Yebisu Izakaya night with a sweet note of Green Tea Tiramisu $8.80.
In summary, service is second to none, you’ll be looked after the moment you arrive and the staff are happy to show you how to navigate the touch screen ordering, which is fast and very efficient, and explain the elements of the dishes that they serve. So why not pop in today and experience an unforgettable and fun Izakaya dining. Kampai!
YEBISU BAR & GRILL
Level 1, 55 Dixon St Haymarket NSW 2000
Tel 02 9211 3038
Sunday to Wednesday : 12PM～11PM
Thursday to Saturday : 12PM～12AM
Yebisu Bar Grill is a partner restaurant of Washoku Lovers, a community where you can experience, share and learn about Washoku (Japanese Food Culture). Why Washoku? Members can get rewards at their partnered restaurants, discounts for Washoku Lover’s Kitchen and for up-coming events and more. For details visit their website at washokulovers.com Joining is absolutely FREE!
E_deliciou_S dined as guests