Saturday, May 31, 2008

Review: Tansawa Tei

Wander into this sprawling, moodily lit restaurant with a pleasing modern decor and you could be forgiven for thinking you were in for a proper night of Japanese feasting. As they say, however, it ain't necessarily so. Firstly, it was virtually empty, and if a restaurant in a popular inner city suburb on a Saturday night is empty, then it's generally a red flag.

Secondly, of course, is the food. After enquiring if the chef had a signature dish he would perhaps like to share with us (he didn't), we opted for the on-the-menu chef recommended eight course banquet. First-up we had the assorted sunomono, which came in a good and not overly piquant rice vinegar. The accompanying vegetables were tender, as was the moist squid, but the prawn, unfortunately, had been dead for a long time. Next was the fried scallop lightly drizzled with Yakitori sauce, which was beautifully fried in a light oil and only very slightly on the chewy side. The salad was big, colourful and fresh with a good dollop of wafu dressing flavoured with sesame seeds (the chef's secret recipe, apparently). We were very pleased with the assorted tempura, which had been doused with a lovely light batter and dunked in a fresh pan of oil. The tempura beans had a good crunch to them although the last piece, the white fish, was rather bland and soggy. We were bolstered with the arrival of the Teppan chicken teriyaki in all its moistness before crashing back down again with the assorted sushi, where the rice fell apart on impact and the salmon and cod were limp and fishily fishy. Next was a standard white miso soup, and finally a single ball of vanilla ice-cream topped with a blueberry sauce fresh out of the jar, with a red bean accompaniment.

Thirdly, is the drinks. The wine list was extremely select, and not in a good way. There were around twelve choices in all. My husband went with a crisp glass of Andrew Garrett Sauvignon Blanc while I elected to stick with the theme and ordered a Japanese Slipper cocktail. I'd never quite tasted a Japanese Slipper prepared in under a minute, warm, with a lone ice cube swimming in it.. but maybe it was traditional? Oh well. At least they included the cherry.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Whiff of France

Dinner tonight consisted of entrecรดte a la Borderlaise – thick juicy sirloin steak (which was alas slightly charred) happily drowning itself in a strong sauce of Bordeaux red wine and garlic that had been reduced with a very heavy hand. Accompanying it were several pinwheels of flaky cheese pastry that mopped up the salty sauce beautifully, some sweet buttery Vichy carrots and a handful of freshly washed spinach.

Thanks husband.