I first met Yukako Ichikawa when she was managing the floor of Matsuri (with near military precision). These days, her former husband’s restaurant has closed down, but around the corner her own home-style Japanese venue has a dedicated following. One of her devotees was kind enough to vouch for my commitment to her strict focus on environmental awareness and sustainability. Once inside, I left myself (and my three fellow diners) in her hands, so the dishes you see are sharing creations...
Your “guilty-free” meal will proceed smoothly if you imagine you’ve stepped into your kindly Japanese grandmother’s home.
She’ll chide you gently (but emphatically) toward reducing food waste. So expect to find only sustainable amounts of seafood in your inside-out brown rice Salmon Rolls ($9.30/8 pieces), and Sashimi Salad ($20).
Tasty organic Chicken Misozuke ($25.70) arrives grilled with white miso sauce; the Wakame Avocado Salad ($12.15) is compelling; and the crisp onion and scallop Kakiage ($5.90/serve) is also a winner. I tried hard to like the raw Jerusalem Artichoke Sushi Rolls, but couldn't quite get beyond finding them surprising!
Prices are reasonable, and it’s thirty percent cheaper if you finish your meal. (Don’t consider any shortcuts, Grandmother Yukako’s already onto them if her sign in the toilet is anything to go by!)
Her restaurant is licensed, and the certified organic Temple Bruer Chenin Blanc ($30/bottle) suits the cuisine. To dine here on dishes like this Salmon Hotpot, you currently need to be introduced by a member, or stroll past in the hope that her ‘Members Only’ sign is not on display…
To enjoy this restaurant, it's best if you agree that food wastage is a serious issue. If you don't think so, you'd probably be best to dine somewhere else. It's also good for vegans (menu is clearly marked), vegetarians and organic food fans.
460 Cleveland Street, Surry Hills