Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Kushiyaki Bar and Grill - Sugar Hit Preview 2011

There are two kinds of people in the world, people who favour sweets and people who prefer savoury dishes. I have an entire set of 'sweet teeth' and fall firmly into the first category. I was delighted to be invited for a sneak peek of Kushiyaki Bar and Grill’s 2011 Sugar Hit menu.

This year the desserts (which are produced at the tiny Azuma patisserie two doors away), have a stronger Japanese influence in terms of flavours and ingredients. As people are exposed to a wider array of cuisines from the plethora of cooking shows in the media, they are also becoming more adventurous with their tastes and are demanding more authenticity. I think this is a good thing.

Greeted with a glass of bubbly, we then sat down to some tasty ‘stomach liners’ to prepare us for the desserts that lay ahead.

First off was a spider roll and crab roll liberally drizzled with creamy Japanese mayonnaise. A welcome treat for
an increasingly noisy stomach that had been awaiting additional sustenance since lunch time.

Next, we were served juicy yakitori sticks which were seasoned with a combination of what I suspect was soy, mirin, sake and sugar for a nice caramelised finish.

Even though I’m a sweets person, I love my lamb chops. The next dish was barbequed lamb chops (which will soon be added to the menu of Azuma at Chifley). Seasoned in a Japanese style, it walked a sweet/savoury line with soy and honey flavours and was grilled with rosemary for some added aroma. It was succulent and I had to use all my will power to offer the last piece to the other food bloggers at the table (btw- nice to meet you Helen, Suze and Richard!).

At this point my pancreas was alerting me that it had not yet released a surge of insulin into my blood stream. We were here for desserts right?

Then came the beautifully presented stacked bento boxes with two accompanying sakes. On top was a green tea/matcha tiramisu, sake sponge bites, a hand crafted chocolate and glass of nigori sake.
The sponge fingers in this tiramisu were soaked in shochu (a distilled Japanese alcoholic beverage) instead of sake (which is brewed). This was done, as pastry chef Miya Matsumura explained because the flavour of sake was deemed too overpowering for this dish. Cream/mascarpone was layered with dustings of green tea or matcha powder. The result was delicious. The earthy flavour of the green tea added a nice contrast to the richness of the cream and shochu soaked sponge.
The sake sponge bites consisted of butter cake cubes soaked in fine sake and skewered on a fancy tooth pick. Maybe my taste buds had been won over by the tiramisu, but the sponge bites tasted a bit plain. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and what I should have done is used them to soak up the cream/mascarpone.
The chocolate with blue circles was a bit of an odd ball in this bunch. It was made up of dark/milk chocolate praline with caramel ganache, covered with dark chocolate and an‘explosive finish’. The ‘explosive’ finish was in fact the popping/crackling ingredient used in pop rocks or magic gum. Although tasty, it seemed a bit out of place with this combination of flavours.
We were also served an additional tiramisu with kinako powder. Kinako is comprised of roasted soybeans, ground to a fine powder. It has a fragrant nutty flavour.
I personally preferred the green tea version but there were still plenty that put their hands up for the kinako.

Our second bento box contained Anmitus which is a combination of assorted fruits, tapioca pearls, shiramata rice dumplings (made from glutinous rice flour) covered in kinako powder with Japanese brown sugar syrup. Served along side was a scoop of home made white sesame ice cream. The anmitsu was an interesting textural dish. The strawberry, blueberry and pineapple added a juicy freshness. I’m a glutton for gluten and the shiratama

dumplings/tapioca pearls were nice and chewy which may surprise (and hopefully delight) the uninitiated. The sweetness of the red bean and sugar syrup tied this combination together.
I’ve had black sesame ice cream many times before but never white sesame.
The result was very tasty treat. The flavour was subtle at first as my taste buds processed the sweetness and creaminess of the ice cream. The nuttiness of the sesame flavour of the ice cream flowed through later.
This was served with a yuzu sake which is a Japanese citrus fruit which falls somewhere between the flavour of a lemon and lime. Like an ultra mellow limoncello. A refreshing digestif after all that sugar!

So here is a preview of what to expect during October. The Sugar Hit is available after 9pm throughout October. Places are limited, so book early!
Kushiyaki Bar and Grill is located at 501 George Street, Sydney (tucked in behind the KFC on George and Bathurst Streets).
Ph: (02) 9267 7775

Chef Azuma even popped in to answer questions about the menu!


  1. hehe lovely to meet you too! i did prefer the kinako tiramisu and how awesome was the yuzu sake!

  2. Oooo, I defo have a set of sweet teeth too! LOL. Looks like a great choice for a Sugar Hit!

  3. My favourite would definitely be the white sesame icecream, gotta go just to try that. Great post MSG!

  4. Wow, if I'd known they were going to serve all those savouries first up I might have put my hand up earlier! I definitely want to go there for dinner now! Thanks! :D

  5. omg lucky! going to azuma sugarhit this friday!

  6. That looks delicious and great to see what the Sugar Hit here is like! :)

  7. I definitely lucked out! Enjoy and have a yuzu sake for me!

  8. i am a savoury girl...salty salty salty with just a little sweet at the end heheh

  9. I love Japanese food so much. Delicious food.