A yakitori bar in Haberfield almost seemed like an oxymoron. This sleepy Inner West suburb is better known for Italian, with famous Sydney pizzeria, La Disfida joined by Italian pastry giant, Pasticceria Papa, and a host of other Italian restaurant neighbours. Well I can confirm it’s no apparition - Yakitori Jin is a brand new, tastefully appointed dark wood kushiyaki restaurant, situated right on Ramsay Street, Haberfield’s main drag.
The wood-heavy fit-out is aesthetically pleasing, with one side of the restaurant taken up with counter seats along the long, glassed-in yakitori grill.
At one end, Japanese whisky, sake bottles and jars of their house-made umeshu clue you in that the drinks list is going to be a highlight of your visit. Closer investigation reveals the Sydney sake drinker's unicorn: Dassai 23 ($45/150ml) among their list of junmai daiginjo sakes.
By visiting at lunchtime, I sadly eliminated myself from being able to eat the kushiyaki I was craving – while their website doesn’t indicate it, they have a different lunch menu of bento boxes and donburi (rice bowls). Curbing my disappointment with a pretty Agadashi Tofu Bento ($19), I tucked into six plump squares of deep-fried tofu, presented with a little flask of tentsuyu broth to pour over them at the table.
It’s a complete meal with rice, salad, salmon sashimi and a side of tempura, with a bowl of miso soup passed separately.
My dining companions tucked into donburi – rice bowls – in two different flavours. Chicken Katsu Donburi ($14) presents panko-crumbed chicken, fried egg and Japanese accompaniments (nori, pickles, shallots and sesame seeds) on rice.
The Oyako Donburi ($14), which literally means parent and child donburi, presents the chicken and the egg together on rice. Here the egg is gleaming white and gelatinous from being poached, allowing you to crack it and mix it through your chicken and rice. Both rice bowls are flavoursome, and accompanied by steaming bowls of miso.
What I liked about Yakitori Jin were the traditional touches, like being greeted with an oshibori (wet towel) upon arrival to clean my hands. I will definitely be returning by night to get my clean hands on their yakitori…
101 Ramsay Street, Haberfield
Ph: (02) 8057 2780