Monday, January 4, 2010

Review: Ju-Rin, Crows Nest

The birthday celebrations never seem to end. You have a big party and invite all your friends but sometimes you miss that intimacy so you organise another smaller dinner with your close friends. But what of the family? This evening, we my night out with my parents, to a restaurant I had only discovered earlier this year and happens to be a single hatted Japanese restaurant in Crows Nest.

When we drove past, trying to find street parking, there was evidently a steady flow of people coming in and out of the restaurant. Eventually, we settled for a council carpark round the back and made the short walk to Ju-Rin. At the point that I was making my way to our table, I got a phone call from an unknown number, and when I picked up, I realised I was actually talking to the waiter on the phone from Ju-Rin who was making sure I was still coming even though I was only 5 minutes late. Some people may take this as a sign of rushing the customer but I thought that this was definitely a sign that they have a really good turnover of business. Even as we were sitting there for the duration of our dinner, there must have been at least four groups of people who came in asking for table availability. If you're lucky, you might get ushered to the sushi counter but otherwise, I would advise that you make a booking in advance! All the tables that you can see which are empty are actually all reserved and only minutes before, had people sitting in them!

The first thing I do when I sit down, isn't to look at the menu they've put in front of me, but I make my way to the back near the sushi counter, where they have a huge glass display with all the specials. I found it a bit inconvenient having to go to the back and stand amongst all the other diners to actually see the display. Having said that, I think the selection of specials on the board more than compensate for that inconvenience. From that board, we ended up ordering the Wagyu Karubi Salad and the Grilled Premium Duck Breast. Upon my mother's request, we also got the Special Jumbo Roll.

The Wagyu Karubi Salad was quite tender and I really liked the flavour of the wagyu matched with the light dressing of the salad. I was a bit disappointed that they weren't a bit more generous with the salad itself so I wasn't quite satisfied with the amount of greens I ate.

Wagyu Karubi Salad $15.80

Duck. Mmmmm...Just thinking about it makes me salivate. The Grilled Premium Duck Breast arrived in a dainty little box, nicely presented with a variety of salt which was extremely salty! I'll make sure I ask what that is next time. The duck was extremely tender and I could tell it really was premium. I think I could have eaten another few boxes of that!

Grilled Premium Duck Breast $15.80

The Special Jumbo Roll on the other hand was generosity in all sense of the word! Due to the sheer size of the roll, it was extremely filling and I likened it to the Korean variety. I was a bit unsure of the value though, it was the most expensive out of all the dishes we ordered and I didn't think it quite lived up to the 'special' title.

Special Jumbo Roll $25.00

From the menu itself, we also ordered a Soft Shell Crab Roll and a Tempura Moriawase (Assorted Tempura) both of which are favourites of mine when I go out for Japanese cuisine. The Soft Shell Crab Roll was beautifully cooked but once again, I would have liked a bit more of the crab in the roll - they seemed a bit stingy on that front but admittedly, the price was cheap. Amongst all the dishes we ordered, I'd have to say the Tempura Moriawase was my favourite. It was fresh and not too oily either, and I loved the way they arranged it - presentation of a dish always gets bonus points from me!

 Soft Shell Crab Roll $11.80

Tempura Moriawase $18.90

Finally, since it was my birthday dinner, I decided to try some sake. I have next to no knowledge about sake, even when I was in Japan, my Japanese friends chose for me so I picked randomly. Having said that however, I would like to learn more about it, so keep watching this space and one day, we'll have a feature entry on sake! I chose a 180ml Nanbu Bijin Junmai Ginjyo Hiya-Oroshi which is a brand called Southern Beauty which uses Ginginga, a type of rice from the Iwate Prefecture. Origin aside, I was told that this was best served cold. My verdict? I think I like hot sake more but it'd take me a while to try a larger variety. For me, any sake is better than beer and wine!

Nanbu Bijin Junmai Ginjyo Hiya-Oroshi (180mL) $13

Since it was my birthday, I think I was being a lot more critical of what I was feeding myself but overall I'd have to say, I really loved the experience. Everyone who served us were friendly and helpful, and the food was really delicious. I will definitely be going back multiple times to try the rest of the specials up on their board!

316 Pacific Highway
Crows Nest NSW 2065
PH: (02) 9966 5811


  1. Good to see another endorsement for Ju-Rin. It's my brother's favourite Japanese and he's tried a few.

  2. Happy belated birthday. I think birthday celebrations are best when they seem to stretch on forever. lol. Shame about the spider roll but ooh the tempura looks good!

  3. joey: oh really? haha. what's his second favourite? i'm a huge fan of japanese - would love to try any japanese recommendation!

    helen: thanks helen! :) hahha yeah, i wish they would just keep stretching!

  4. I def shouldn't read this when I'm hungry. I want sushi now! I've heard so many rave reviews about this place... so I think it's time I stop procrastinating and head over there! Hope you had a fab birthday!

    And omg sake is better than beer and wine? Are you mad? LOL :P

  5. the duck serving looks.. tiny!

    (funny i just emailed u abt this place)

    i really wanna go here!

  6. I went here recently for the first time as well and was told we could either book the 6-8pm slot, or the 8pm-close slot. We took this to mean they had a high volume of business as well.

    I've heard that poorer quality sake is best served warm, whereas better quality sake gets served cold - but don't quote me, I have terrible alcohol knowledge!

  7. Hmm I had a great dinner at Jurin before as well. I love that they have a quite huge selection on the board!

    Have you been to Torisiya? If you like sake, they have a huge selection of rare sake labels!

  8. Karen: Haha, yes I find that the time to read food blogs should be after a meal - otherwise you tend to eat more during your meal! But yeah, make sure you make a booking before you visit otherwise you'll most likely get turned away! (I might be mad =) )

    Betty: Yes, it was quite a small serving, but for some reason I wasn't really complaining. It was just really nice and I guess for the price, it was good value for 'premium' duck which it did live up to.

    mademoiselle délicieuse: Yeah, they do that and I think it's also just an effective way of turning over their tables. And what you say is true actually, when I was in Japan I learnt that basically, lower quality/grade sake is served hot or warm to mask the lower quality which in turn increases the effect of the alcohol but also lessens the origin aroma - maybe that's why I like sake...oh dear I'm an alky now!

    Yas: Yeah they do! And the service there is always helpful and friendly! Haven't been to Torisiya, but will look it up. Sounds like you're my go-to man for Japanese restaurants! :)

  9. the people you see coming through the door asking for a table and getting turned away, that's more than likely me. I've done it a couple of times now. anyway, happy birthday!

  10. Ju-Rin is great for lunch too! I was there not too long ago. I like the look of your selection :)