Jugemu’s Genki-dama okonomiyaki
It’s my dad’s birthday soon, so I wanted to take him out to dinner ^^ Sydney is absolutely full of Japanese restaurants (of varying degrees of quality and authenticity) but it’s a pretty well-known fact that most of Sydney’s Japanese community is concentrated around the North Sydney area. So if you’re looking for someplace that isn’t run by Koreans (don’t get me wrong, I have Korean-run Japanese restaurants that I love going to on a regular basis, it’s just nice to actually encounter Japanese staff sometimes!), I’d suggest you head to these kinds of suburbs.
After much deliberation and Urbanspoon trawling (does anybody else do this? ㅜㅜㅜ), we decided on Jugemu & Shimbashi in Cremorne.
Just like many establishments in Japan, Jugemu & Shimbashi prides itself on specialisation: Jugemu specialises in teppanyaki, and Shimbashi, noodles. The restaurant is vaguely divided into two, with a teppanyaki grill on one side, and a noodle-making room in the other. There is also a small tatami area if eating in the traditional manner (seated on the floor) takes your fancy. Despite the “division”, you can order from both “sides”, which I highly recommend! ^^
I unfortunately don’t have many pictures because I mostly just simply forgot to take any because the food was so yummy and no one has time to document their meals when they are just waiting to be eaten!!!! As well as the sashimi salad, we ordered the nasu dengaku (grilled miso-marinated eggplant) and soft shell crab tempura as entrees. The eggplant was so soft and not too oily at all, which I find to be an issue at some other places. I don’t eat crab, but the consensus from my family was that it was crispy and fresh, with the restaurant’s spicy mayo adding a nice touch.
Now onto our mains! I absolutely LOVE okonomiyaki: it’s comfort Japanese street food at its best, and since it’s Jugemu’s specialty, I could hardly just not order it. The genki-dama comes with wagyu slices and garlic, but there’s many many more choices on the menu, as well as a selection of extra toppings (cheese etc.). The staff also give you a box of condiments: bonito flakes and dried shallots. It was so delicious: creamy, soft, tasty and indulgent but not stodgy or greasy, the mere memory of it is just…:) I can’t wait to try their other okonomiyaki if I get a chance to go back >.<
We also ordered the wagyu steak (melted in my mouth!), special fried rice and the plain hot soba noodles. I would’ve liked the rice to have been a little bit crispier, but it was still very good – they’d mixed in mushrooms, pork belly and noodle bits, and there was a pleasant smokiness from the teppanyaki grill. It was only when we finished the bowl of noodles that I realised I hadn’t taken a photo (!!!!!!!) but they definitely lived up to expectations. The noodles are made at the restaurant with new season buckwheat (they grind the flour themselves too) everyday, and you could definitely tell: the slight chewiness was spot on, and there was a slightly rough texture from the buckwheat (unlike your average, pre-packaged soba made with processed flour, which is a lot smoother/softer). The broth was simple but flavoursome, with a lot more depth than the usual soups cheaper restaurants make with just dashi powder (not too salty either ^^).
It was quite busy, so please do book a table! Service was a little slow, but the waitress told us that more people than usual had come at once. If you’re sharing food, portions are a little on the small side, but it’s all very good quality. Of course, I’d highly recommend any of their okonomiyaki and noodle dishes – if you’re based in Sydney, please share your experience with me ^^
Jugemu & Shimbashi
246 Military Rd, Cremorne