It's extraordinary what can done in one hour. You can:
Fly to Canberra.
Watch a television show.
Travel a short distance in Sydney's peak hour traffic.
Have a degustation lunch.
Okay the last one is ambitious I will admit. In fact it wasn't what we had intended when I met up with Jaqi in Kingsford. However the menu at Niji Sushi was so long and the degustation was so well priced at $39 per person that we felt that if the kitchen could do it (they could) then we could.
Niji Sushi sits on the corner of Anzac Parade and Borrodale Rd where the former Gourmet Pizza Kitchen was located for many years. It's very busy this Friday lunch time with most of the action at the sushi train. None of the floor staff are Japanese but there are Japanese chefs in the kitchen.
The first courses come out quickly and to start there are edamame beans with a light sprinkling of sea salt.
The miso is a mild miso soup with small cubes of tofu, thin shavings of spring onion and slippery wakame seaweed.
The kingfish carpaccio is made up of fresh thinly sliced kingfish, ponzu sauce, baby herbs, sea salt and lemon oil. The citrusy ponzu sauce and lemon oil give the fish a double dose of citrus which is refreshing although strong.
*Sushi & sashimi combination *
The sushi and sashimi combination features raw tuna, raw salmon, kingfish, scallop and prawn nigiri as well as tuna and salmon sashimi. I try the salmon and scallop nigiris and they are wonderfully luscious in texture, particularly the scallop sashimi. The salmon tartare is a flavoursome mix with finely diced salmon sashimi.
By now the courses are coming out quickly and our table is getting full but of course it's all self inflicted! The spider roll has tempura soft shell crab, cucumber, tobiko, chives, lettuce & wasabi mayonnaise. The best pieces are the ends with more soft shell crab as there isn't much with the inside pieces. The generous amount of tobiko is very appealing both visually and for flavour and texture.
I wasn't quite as smitten with the wafu scallops topped with apple, onion & pear puree as I found them a bit overcooked. Otherwise, the flavours were good together.
I do love a crispy edged gyoza and instead of your typical pork and cabbage gyoza this is a richer wagyu gyoza served with a delicious soy chilli vinaigrette.
The wagyu beef is 180g of grain-fed wagyu beef 9+ cooked medium and sliced up. It is served with an absolutely delicious amayaki sauce & herb salt which gave the beef a slightly different flavour profile. This is one of my favourite courses even towards the end when I was getting very full.
Our very last course is one that I had completely forgotten about. It is a pacific oyster covered in potato mash and then wrapped in crispy seasoned julienne potato. The oyster is somewhat lost in the middle of the potato wrapping but it's pleasant enough.
Chef's selection of dessert
Dessert is a two parter with a creme brulee hiding a red bean filling at the bottom. The creme brulee isn't quite silky smooth and it is firmer than expected. The red bean cake has a brown sugar exterior which is crispy and tastes like it has been deep fried. The inside is soft and has a sweet red bean filling.
We check the time and we've managed to eat all of our food, talk a mile a minute and still leave within an hour!
So tell me Dear Reader, if you had an hour completely free, what would you do with it?
333 Anzac Parade, Kingsford NSW 2032
Phone:(02) 8068 4849
Open 7 days 12pm-9:30pm