Directory

ENOPIZZERIA

Cuisine: Italian

An enoteca is a wine shop in Italy and Enopizzeria translates into a pizzeria with a serious wine list, divided into styles (for example, full-bodied and full-flavoured whites or aromatic with more weight). And, in case you didn’t get the message, the dark and cosy dining room is lined with bottles. The menu is divided into inizi (starters), salumi e formaggi (cured meats and cheese), continui (mains) and per finire (to finish). And, of course, pizza $20–$25 numbers 24 varieties on the list plus a special. Our Gustosa was a heady combination of fennel-laced sausage, mushrooms and truffle oil $24. With stuffed zucchini flowers ($7 each) and fried whitebait $13 this would have been sufficient for most — except gluttons like us; we couldn’t resist a carpaccio of pineapple with pistachio icecream $13.

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GINGER & SPICE

Cuisine: Italian,Singaporean,Malaysian

Nope, the name has nothing to do with everyone’s least favourite Spice Girl — chef Alex Lee is committed to serving up a mix of authentic Singaporean and Malaysian dishes to his customers with not a trace of Brit-pop influence. The decor is a bit dated and it’s surprisingly peaceful inside despite the Military Road madness happening just a few metres away. Squid kecap manis $21.80 is hard to pass up with tender deep-fried squid tossed in a homestyle sweet soy and chilli sauce. Beef rendang $19.80 and Singapore chilli prawns $22.80 are a couple of crowd pleasers but ngoh hiang, with its deep-fried five-spice rolls of minced pork, prawns and water chestnut $18.80, is well executed and serves three. Better than your average suburban eatery.

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JU GE MU SHIMBASHI

Cuisine: Italian,Singaporean,Malaysian,Japanese

There’s a split personality to this Japanese gem. On one side is Ju Ge Mu, a teppanyaki (barbecue with theatre) and okonomiyaki (pancake) restaurant. On the other is Shimbashi, which specialises in handmade soba (buckwheat) noodles. It doesn’t matter which side you sit on, as you can order across the menu, which includes the expected sushi and sashimi, edamame (steamed whole soybeans) $6 and soba chips $5. Waygu beef okonomiyaki with garlic chips $18 is tangy with barbecue sauce feathered through with mayonnaise. Chicken and mushroom soba $20 comes with hot broth loaded with shiitake, shimeji and enoki mushrooms. If the name Shimbashi sounds familiar, that’s because there are a few of them around the world; it’s the name passed as a compliment from soba master to apprentice.

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KINTARO

Cuisine: Italian,Singaporean,Malaysian,Japanese,Japanese

Named after a hero from Japanese folklore, this no-frills, tightly packed Neutral Bay establishment may not have the same upmarket feel of many other north shore Japanese eateries but the authentic Japanese cuisine with fresh-that-day sashimi makes it worth knocking elbows (and sometimes chopsticks) with strangers. Sashimi cuts come in all sizes, from $16.80, and the mixed sushi platters, from $17.80, are good value. For mains, sukiyaki hotpot  $18 — a cauldron full of colours and noodles — will serve at least two and the tempura offerings $18.80 are a pleasure. If you’d like
to sink your teeth into something a bit meatier, try a scotch fillet wafu steak with soy dressing $19.80. With friendly service and a large local following, tables fill quickly, so book ahead.

 

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KOH-YA BBQ

Cuisine: Italian,Singaporean,Malaysian,Japanese,Japanese,Japanese

Sometimes, you just have to choose “all you can eat”. The buffet barbecue option at this yakiniku (Japanese barbecue) restaurant is, as they attest, “mega value” at $39.90 per person, with unlimited choice of 60 meat, seafood and vegetable dishes. The rules are order as much as makes you full in the first 60 minutes, then you have half an hour to finish up. You might choose ox tongue, beef rib, calamari and prawns to grill and meantime furnish your table with sides, salads and noodles. If stuffing yourself silly — fast — is not your idea of a nice night out, take your time with the a la carte menu. The “special” negi-shio ox tongue topped with salty shallots is one of the more flavoursome grill dishes. Or you might start with salmon sashimi $9.90, then grill some wagyu premium beef rib $23.90. Whichever, it’s a build-your-own-menu adventure.

 

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KYUSHU

Cuisine: Italian,Singaporean,Malaysian,Japanese,Japanese,Japanese,Japanese

It’s pretty straightforward, authentic Japanese but Kyushu is a reliably tasty and fresh cheap eat with quick service. And for want of a better adage, the simple things in life ... you know the rest. Named after one of Japan’s main islands, Kyushu is excellent for its variety of tempura dishes, from $7, served with white radish, ginger and a special sauce. Beef tataki $10.90 is sweet and tangy and urajiro shiitake of deep-fried mushrooms stuffed with minced chicken and vegetables $10.50 is as delicious as it sounds. Sushi and sashimi, from $18.50, don’t disappoint, while the Japanese schnitzel-style dishes of crumbed chicken and pork give you pub-grub satisfaction but with better flavour. You might also try the generous sukinabe hotpot $34 (serves two) for a hearty meal.

 

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MOFU (MODERN ORIENTAL FOR U)

Cuisine: Italian,Singaporean,Malaysian,Japanese,Japanese,Japanese,Japanese,modern oriental

The name sums up what MOFU offers: fusion dishes that draw their inspiration from Thailand, Malaysia, China and other parts of South-east Asia — perfect for a group who can’t agree on a cuisine for dinner. The mood is intimate, with burnt-orange walls decorated with Asian prints and paintings and dark wooden furnishings complemented by soft mood lighting. The menu’s variety should excite rather than confuse the palate, starting perhaps with both curry puffs $6 and gyoza $8 and a coconutty Thai chicken salad $14.90. We’re not sure massaman lamb curry $16.90 and butter chicken $15.90 were designed to hold hands but both are delicious on their own. Signature dishes up the ante: grilled eggplant and kangaroo fillet $24.90 is tender and aromatic, while the MOFU “roasty” duck $24.90 is worth every penny. Some of the north’s best oriental.

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SUSHI SAMURAI

Cuisine: Italian,Singaporean,Malaysian,Japanese,Japanese,Japanese,Japanese,modern oriental,Japanese,Sushi

It’s official: sushi has replaced Monday night meatloaf. Sushi Samurai teems with families even on the quietest dining night of the week. Familiar and convivial, it’s the Cheers of restaurants. Regulars come and go, ordering with nary a glance at the menu. Armed with electronic gadgets and exhibiting samurai-like watchfulness — twitch and your order will be taken — waitresses work to a swift staccato. The journey through traditional and modern Japanese cuisine starts with a complimentary amuse bouche of noodles in Japanese mayo. Delightfully silky, the agedashi eggplant $8.80 balances gravy-like dashi with a hint of chilli. The sushi main deluxe $25.80 reaches a crescendo with fat scampi and pearl-sized roe. Try fusion at its kitschest with a brekkie-inspired dessert, sesame pudding with cornflakes $5.80.

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