So, where do I start?
For as long as I can remember, SK and I have spent many a days in the office and at uni simply compiling a list of all the places we would like to visit around Sydney. I believe the last time I checked, the list rather resembled an ad hoc extended version of the Good Food Guide than a "list". I believe we may be onto something...
Either way, Japaz has been one of those places which we had been dying to visit, but simply never got around to - and when the occasion finally arrived, I think we were so excited that Coca Cola could've bottled our excitement and used it as fizz in their soft drinks.
Mixed Plate: Coriander Crab Puff, Barcelona Salami, Chicken Yakitori
Japaz has an intriguing menu. The name of the place is pretty self explanatory - Japanese Tapas. Did I ever mention that there's nothing more I love than hanging out with friends over tapas? And beer? And more tapas?
Since AY was joining us for the evening, it meant that SK and I could happily order away at our favourite dishes without having to worry about wastage. (And AY says, "what wastage?") First up was a beautiful Mixed Plate. I absolutely fell in love with the deliciously crunchy crab cakes. Seriously, I have no idea what the bedding of the crab cakes were, but they were absolutely divine. I think they may be been egg baskets that were lightly fried. We also ordered the roasted eggplants which were soooooooooo melt-in-your mouth. I could've licked 2 plates clean happily.
Left: Pork Belly with Sauteed Rocket, Sweet & Sour Piquillo Capsicum; Right: Oven-roasted Snapper in Mustard Jus with Braised Fennel
The pork belly was also another melt-in-your mouth addition which was just so flavourful. Fat rendering is seriously man's second most awesome invention after sliced bread. I don't know what I would do in a world without flavournoids.
Fun fact: most flavour-molecules are hydrophobic and hence dissolve in fat. That's why fatty things tend to taste good. Yum!
The oven-roasted snapper with mustard jus was also a fingerlickin' delight to tuck into. The fish was a tad on the dry side, but it wasn't anything that a good slashing of the delicious jus couldn't fix.
Left: Wagyu Steak on a bed of Sauteed Chinese Cabbage and Red Wine Jus; Right: Wagyu Meatballs & Seasonal Vegetables in Tomato Salsa
And now as I am trawling through the photos and attempting to find the names of each individual dish on the menu, I've come to the epic realisation that we may have ordered every meat dish on offer minus the lamb (since JL doesn't like lamb). I blame SK for the lack of dietary fibre. I'll get on to that in a little more detail in the future.
Wagyu meatballs and wagyu steak. Seriously. I love meatballs. I scoff down Ikea meatballs at a pace that makes JL hand me a stack Jenny Craig brochures. I also drooled onto my table as I watched Tiffany make her smackalicious ballpark meatballs in this week's Top Chef.
I nearly faceplanted into the meatballs at Japaz.
Did I mention that I love meatballs?
Left: Wagyu Steak on a bed of Sauteed Chinese Cabbage and Red Wine Jus (served); Right: Braised Wagyu Beef Cheeks & White Almond Puree
Another special mention goes out to the braised wagyu beef cheeks. I think AY may have mentioned on the night that this was a recommended dish from all the other foodblogs out there. I must say I'm jumping on that bandwagon and furthering the recommendation because seriously, this is something I would come back to Japaz for. The meat was soooo beautifully tender and moist, and the sauce was rich and flavourful.
Left: Torrijus (Spanish Style French Toast) with Poached Apple & Brandy Ice Cream Pedro Ximinez Honey; Right: Raspberry Tart, Nut Semifreddo & Raspberry Coulis
Last but not least, dinner with SK just wouldn't be dinner with SK unless we desserted the night away. I wouldn't say that these were Japaz's strong points - especially after the incredible braised wagyu - but they were refreshing and satisfying as a way to tie up all the loose ends in the evening. Needless to say, the Raspberry Tart looks smashing as it arrived at the table, and the Torrijus was definitely something different to tuck into and explore. Lightly sweet with a lingering aroma...
"Please sir, may I have some more??"
165 Wycombe Street
Neutral Bay, NSW 2089
Tel: (02) 9904 0688