Every year around Christmas my girlfriends Gina, Teena and I get together for a dinner and present exchange. It's usually around mid December for Teena's birthday but this year it's a little closer to Christmas. So the slobbery drunken Santa count and sexy, trampy Mrs Claus outfit count tonight in Potts Point is high and somewhat relentless as people in red and white felt outfits parade past us in very, very jolly moods as they celebrate finishing work for the year.
We enter Busshari in Potts Point near the famous fountain and the first thing I'm struck with is how very, very dark things are here. "Eeek!" I say to Gina "This is not going to make for good photos" and she agrees. Teena arrives a little later and we make our selections. There are curiously two menus, one a double sided sheet in a plastic sleeve and the book version which looks prettier but the double sided sheet is easier to read. There is an impressive looking sake list for the sake aficionado. I look around - apparently Nicole Kidman has been spotted eating here but there's no sign of her tonight.
Gina doesn't eat oysters so Teena and I enjoy the fat and creamy oysters with the salty dashi jelly. They're the perfect item to get the taste buds excited.
One thing that Teena is curious about is why restaurants don't offer to upp the quantity in dishes like this where there are obviously 3 people but 4 items per serve. It's true, we can hardly split up the leftover gyoza and I personally would be loved to be asked this-is it a matter that the kitchen can't handle it or the staff don't think to ask it? I'm admittedly curious too. The gyoza here are freshly fried and crunchy on the outside and the filling is flavoursome and well balanced and not too strong in cabbage as some inexpensive ones can be.
The Pork Belly Kakuni again has that issue of Teena's where there are 4 pieces and only 3 of us. And they're delectable pieces at that with a slightly sweet soy sauce. Taking a bite into the rectangle of wobbly goodness, it falls apart layer by quivering fatty layer. We ask for some rice to accompany it and a spoon to scoop up the sauce.
The Spider roll is filled with crunchy soft shell crab and the best piece has to be one of the two with the spiky crunchy legs protruding.
The sashimi selection features Tobiko, Ocean trout, tuna, kingfish, raw prawn, snapper and scallops. They're all fabulously fresh but my favourite is undoubtedly the raw prawn which has an utterly decadent creamy texture to it.
The Nigiri platter features tamago (egg), eel, sea eel, raw prawn, cooked prawn, raw scallop, tuna, kingfish, ocean trout and snapper. Teena and I are curious about the sea eel which is an entirely different texture to the sweet, glazed, grilled eel. It's delicious although the texture is very fine, if I were to compare the fineness of the flakes to anything it would be as fine as sawdust (although the comparison ends there, it's still moist). As I love the raw prawn I try this and the scallop which are both so fabulously creamy in texture.
The last dish to arrive is the Wagyu beef sizzling tobanyaki which comes in a pot with hot charcoal inside and a flame. It's sizzling and the Wagyu is still cooking when it hits the table so we give it a few more minutes before diving in. It comes with a wasabi edged sweet soy and a vinegar. I take a piece and it's bland by itself and not that exciting unless you dip it in both sauces. A few pieces are a bit too chewy whilst others are lovely and tender.
The Mont Blanc dessert was one that caught my eye and Teena's immediately and the Pumpkin Mousse Brulee caught Gina's eye. We order the dessert platter as that allows you to select 3-4 desserts that you like the sound of (albeit in smaller portions) and we choose these two along with the coffee jelly. The coffee jelly comes with coconut ice cream which is good with little pieces of shredded coconut although the coffee jelly is a little too strong for Teena and Gina. The Pumpkin Mousse Brulee is interesting, it's a pumpkin pudding with a slightly raw pumpkin flavour and a crunchy sugar top. The favourite for all of us is undoubtedly the chestnut Mont Blanc which comes on a crunchy meringuey biscuit, a mountain of whipped cream and soft strings of sweetened chestnut puree. It's heaven and we could easily each have another.
We're loaded up with fantastic Christmas presents (some fluffy towels and Astronaut ice cream from Teena and a box of American candy from Gina) and we exit to much raucous joviality from all of the tables around us.
Drunken Santa Count: 7, Mrs Claus in trampy outfit count: 6. Dinner with girlfriends: priceless.
Pssst! Don't forget you only have until the 25th of December to bid for one of the fantastic items on offer with the Menu for Hope!
Now I know I usually announce competition winners on the actual competition page but I thought that this was a particularly Christmassy gesture. The nice people from Lap Rap originally were to give away 7 Lap Raps to NQN readers but when they were judging the responses, there were so many that they decided to give away 10 Lap Raps plus 1 for good luck. 11 lucky winners have now won a Lap Rap of their choice as well and they will also have their Lap Rap featured on their "Exhibition" page!
Not only that but from now on for any pet rap order, lap-rap will donate $2.00 to Guide Dogs Australia. They also thought that reader Vickis Lap-Rap idea of pink cupcakes baked for a breast cancer fund raiser was brilliant so every time Lap-Rap receives an orders for a rap with anything pink they will donate $2.00 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation!
So Dear Reader, I hope you and your family and friends have a wonderful Christmas May it be full of laughter, love and fun and of course wonderful food. I treasure each and every one of you and I love the fact that you check in with me every day. I got a preview of one of my gifts from Mr NQN, a floral headband from you guessed it, Alannah Hill. Sure Mr NQN doesn't quite get it (he looked at it and said "Errrm okay. Are you sure?") and my father calls all my hats and headbands "head gear" which conjures up visions of twisted metal and old fashioned dental braces but I absolutely love it.
Lots of love and Christmas wishes,
119 Macleay Street, Potts Point, NSW
Tel: +61 (02) 9357 4555