Late last year, I received a Facebook message from my good friend Jenny, who resides in Manchester, UK. “BB, I am going to Bali on Thursday. Around Jan-Feb, I am thinking of MAYBE going to Sydney. If so, is it possible you could host me for a few nights?”
Well, she didn’t have to ask twice! Even though we ‘met’ each other online well over ten years ago, we’ve only been able to be in the same city together twice in those ten years – once when I went to the UK, and last year when we just happened to be in Hong Kong at the same time.
We had a blast on the few days that she was in Sydney, with a day trip to the Blue Mountains and out for dinner for a few nights as well. I tried to look for restaurants that offered something a little bit special, that would be a bit harder to find in Manchester. One night we went to Sultan’s Table in Enmore, finishing with the world’s best gelato at Cow & The Moon for dessert. And one night, we went to Gyuzou in the city with our friend Tracey for Japanese yakiniku (with their special touchscreen ordering system), finishing at NQ Extreme Gelato for liquid nitrogen gelato.
We started with a cold latte each – Black Sesame Latte for me (strong and nutty, very creamy) and Green Tea Latte for Jenny. It’s quite a reasonable price for the tall drink – even though there was a lot of ice in the drink, the scoop of ice-cream on top makes it worthwhile.
Knowing that we would be ordering a lot of seafood and meat for the barbecue, we decided that we should try to maintain some semblance of a balanced diet by ordering a vegetable side. The Spinach with Sesame Dressing was liberally drenched in a tangy sesame sauce. While I love wilted spinach, I would have preferred a less generous serve of dressing as it detracted from the spinach itself.
This was the reason we came to Gyuzou though – an elaborate Wagyu and Seafood Platter for our barbecue. The wagyu was absolutely incredible – beautifully marbled tender beef that needed no accompaniments for it to be perfectly tasty. The range of seafood on the platter was fantastic as well – mussels, prawns, scallops and baby octopus all made an appearance.
We also ordered a plate of Assorted Vegetables for the barbecue which came with a good range of mushrooms, and probably a bit too much cabbage. I would have liked to see some sweet potato or capsicum included on the plate, but other than that small personal preference, there’s not much to fault with this dish!
My friend Tracey who’s a big scallop fan wanted some additional Scallops – an extra serving of five scallops will set you back $7.50.
The DIY aspect of Japanese barbecue is one that I’ve always enjoyed as it means that when you have three people dining who all have different ideas about how they like their meat cooked, you can really ensure that everyone gets what they like. For me, that meant my wagyu was cooked “well done”…which probably horrifies most people, but hey, that’s the way I like it.
The baby octopus was entirely new to Jenny, and I think she struggled with the texture! I always forget how intimidating the concept of eating octopus can be to many people who aren’t familiar with it…I guess when it’s something that you grow up, you simply don’t think twice about it.
Realising halfway through our meal that the Wagyu and Seafood Platter wouldn’t be quite enough to satiate three ravenous appetites, we ordered the Pork Hot Pot with White Tonkotsu Broth from the touchscreen (yay, constant ordering!). The white tonkotsu broth is clear but full of meaty flavour, and it’s a simple mix of pork, Chinese cabbage and mushrooms in the pot. It’s a simple dish that’s actually probably big enough for two people, with a serve of rice and a few sides.
I really enjoyed our visit to Gyuzou, and I’m not surprised that they’ve already achieved a 95% rating on Urbanspoon in their first few months of trading. It was a little disappointing to see that a number of tables remained empty on the Monday night that we were there – the half-empty restaurant is certainly not representative of the quality of the food! Next time you’re in the mood for Japanese barbecue, consider Gyuzou for your meal.
Note: Gourmanda won a $50 voucher for Gyuzou in a competition at Washoku Lovers which went towards the cost of this meal. The remaining amount of the bill was paid for independently.