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Seven of the Best Japanese restaurants in the Shire

27 June, 2022

Shire foodies have spoken. And we listened. Here are seven of the best Japanese restaurants in the Sutherland Shire, as voted by you...

Wayama Japanese Restaurant 

A few doors up from Paul's Famous Hamburgers is where you will find this humble Japanese restaurant with traditional noren curtains fluttering in the doorway. There are only enough tables to seat 22 but this place is always heaving with locals, many of whom have Japanese heritage. Chef Noboru Takayama worked in Tokyo for 10 years, as head chef at the highly regarded Azuma, in Sydney, and for the Japanese consul general in Sydney. The chef's specialty is kaiseki cuisine, which Japanophiles know is a traditional Japanese way of cooking a dainty degustation feast dedicated to freshness, aesthetics, seasonality and provenance (note: it must be ordered a day in advance). If ordering a la carte, opt for the miso eggplant, agedashi tofu, and sashimi, all of which are sensational. Facebook.com/wayamasylvania

Kanji Fresh Sushi 

'Irasshaimase' is the chorus you will hear yelled in unison the moment you enter Kanji Fresh Sushi in Caringbah. It means, 'Welcome, please come in'. But it's not always possible to stroll straight in as it's standing-room only at this cupboard-sized eatery, located on a corner of the busy Kingsway. When you do take your spot at the counter, you will see that everything is made fresh to order: we recommend the mandu soup, a nourishing bowl of broth bobbing with fresh vegetables and plump pork dumplings. And you can't go wrong with sushi topped with pink curls of ginger. Say kekkou desu (no thank you) to the fish-shaped single-use plastic containers of soy and douse your sushi using the more eco-friendly bottle on the benchtop. Follow @KanjiFreshSushi on Instagram.

Okami Cronulla

Begin the day with a surf or a walk along the Esplanade so you can work up an appetite for the all-you-can-eat option on offer at Okami which includes a total of about 30 traditional Japanese dishes. Pace yourself: as the portions are generous, which is why you will find lots of hungry surfers and locals queuing up for a table here ahead of each and every service. For entrée, the options include chicken karaage, prawn gyoza, and a sushi roll platter; for mains the signature seafood tempura and teriyaki chicken are highlights. Do not walk out before trying the black sesame ice cream. Although this gem of a restaurant is a chain, with 44 stores dotted around Australia, the company founded in Melbourne in 2013 is known for its consistently great food. okamirestaurant.com.au

Kuroneko Ramen 

Kuroneko Ramen is renowned for being the place to get your fix of a comforting bowl of ramen. The version here is layered with complexity and rooted in fresh ingredients. There are multiple ramen dishes to choose from: my personal favourite version of the Japanese noodle soup is the tonkotsu pork ramen, a popular choice for its broth, which is boiled for 14 hours to create a lovely depth of flavour. The spicy rich pork ramen is also the perfect antidote to winter. Despite being known as a Japanese noodle joint, the team at Kuroneko Ramen makes a wonderful a wonderful wagyu beef salad that is highly recommended for those looking for something a little lighter. facebook.com/KuronekoRamen

Seven Lanterns 

Korean food melds Spanish, Japanese, Chinese and Korean influences. But in the case of Seven Lanterns, the fusion is a mix of Korean, Japanese and Mediterranean influences. With a heavy emphasis on vegetables and a blend of savoury, sweet and spicy. Head chef David describes his food as MediterrAsian with dishes such as miso kingfish ceviche, beef tataki, salmon sashimi with jalapeno basil pesto great examples of why this place has become a dining destination. The dish dubbed Angry Bird is also well worth the drive to Sylvania, comprised as it is of chicken and potato in honey with a punch of gochujang chilli sauce. One might say it's a Japanese dish that serves up a lot of Seoul. sevenlanterns.com.au

Green Shiso

Although Green Shiso has a conveyer belt of dishes to choose from, it's the dine-in set menu featuring a selection of the chef's best: ramen, bao and bento that is one of the main draws here. Again, the chefs here are mavericks, drawing influence from China with the steamed bao buns crammed with karaage chicken for a bit of heft and crunch and to Korea for the kim chi pork bento. There's also an omakase menu of dishes selected by the chef according to the seasons that, over winter, includes such delights as truffle salt edamame, wagyu and truffle teriyaki and top-tier sashimi. greenshiso.com.au

Umaya

Umaya is located in South Village in Kirrawee and it's a great suggestion for a quick bite of lunch and more unconventional Japanese-influenced tapas offerings such as tuna lettuce wraps doused in sriracha and tempura pork nuggets with passionfruit sweet and sour sauce and seaweed salt fries. The rainbow sushi roll and volcano sushi are two of the most popular items on sushi and sashimi platters that can be ordered from Umaya next time you need to impress your guests. A must try at the dinky restaurant is the crispy chicken roll steeped in soy sauce and dredged through wasabi. facebook.com/Umaya.Kirrawee/


Carla Grossetti is an award-winning local journalist who writes for Australiantraveller.com and Internationaltraveller.com. Follow her food and travel adventures at @food.travel.stories or at @austtraveller.

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