Tag Archives: Japanese

Jugemu & Shimbashi Japanese Restaurant Review: Slurppin’ good Soba and ‘Oh! Oh! Oh!’ ~ Okonomiyaki!

I love Tuesdays.

Not only do I love these second days of the week  for it’s ‘Thriftiness’ ie) ‘Super Tuesdays, Tight Bum Tuesdays at the movies….etc’ but on this particular Tuesday our usual ‘Connect Group’ meetings had been moved to Monday and we had a Tuesday night free for the first time in ages.

Originally, wanting to make the most of the Super Tuesday savings, we decided to go and see a movie with Mrs. P and her hubby, Mr. D. However, after much emailing back and forth, our choice of ‘Young Victoria’ did not appeal much to both our Hubbies and the plans was scrapped and instead I suggested that we just go and enjoy a good meal together and just ‘chillax’ :)

Pretty Japanese plates and an 'upgrade' from the usual disposable chopsticks in a deeper chocolate wood ;)

I must say, writing this entry after eating at ‘Shimbashi Soba’ in Mosman is that I am so glad we had ditched the movie and slurped on some Soba instead!

Super tasty entree ~ Kingfish Carpaccio with avocado, daikon salad and the yummiest wasabi tangy mayo.... We wanted more of this and besides the price, the only thing I can complain about this is...portion was too small and leaves you craving for more!

Super tasty entree ~ Kingfish Carpaccio with avocado, daikon salad and the yummiest wasabi tangy mayo.... We wanted more of this and besides the price, the only thing I can complain about this is...portion was too small and leaves you craving for more!

Soba noodles in warm duck broth.... Mmmmm ~ Shame the duck was just a bit on the chewy side... perhaps undercooked or double cooked. Still, its tasty and easily looked over with the soba :)

Soba noodles in warm duck broth.... Mmmmm ~ Shame the duck was just a bit on the chewy side... perhaps undercooked or double cooked. Still, its tasty and easily looked over with the soba :)

Pouring the water that the soba was cooked with to dilute the broth ...apparently it is filled with buckwheat goodness. Well it sure tasted comforting and was a perfect ending to the slurrpy soba :)

Pouring the water that the soba was cooked with to dilute the broth ...apparently it is filled with buckwheat goodness. Well it sure tasted comforting and was a perfect ending to the slurrpy soba :)

'Slurp! Slurp! Ssssssslurp!' This is Mr. D... you cannot see his face because he is an Architect who loves his soba...' :) Kinda looks like an ad for a ramen place....starting with 'W' ;)
shimbashi 7

Tasty and crispy fresh tempura of vegetables and prawns. Mmmm!

shimbashi 10

Yummy Yakisoba noodles as the last dish of our meal ~ full of al dente noodles tangled up in pork and cabbage with just the right amont of pickled ginger on the side to cut through the greasiness....Delicious! Only thing was there wasn't enough to go around!

Overall, this was a pretty enjoyable dining experience, considering it was a very ‘last minute’ decision to book here, first impression was welcomed with a restaurant that was happily filled ( considering some nearby restaurants was cold empty which my heart went out to…) The warm ambiance of the Japanese decor – I particularly loved the ‘traditional Japanese’ in-ground seating where you have to take off your shoes… (then again, you need to be wearing your best socks for these occasions! )

As I called to make a booking, I was asked ‘Which side would you like to sit in?’ Being confused about this question, I now understood as the restaurant is split into two different sides – one side for  teppanyaki and okonomiyaki (Jugemu) and the other which we sat was for Soba and sushi. ( Shimbashi)

The decor was simple and inviting and very welcoming. The service was attentive and we had the pleasure of being hosted by a lovely Japanese waitress whom had this interesting ‘English’ accent as she recommended what to eat from the menu. She was very helpful and suggested we try the Soba with the warm chicken broth as well as the green tea soba with the warm broth with smoked duck breast. She was so considerate for us who was two couples sharing – she suggested she would split up our soba into four separate portion so we could savour the different sobas. Sweet!

Would highly recommend this place for a feast of truely authentic Japanese fare on the North of Sydney.

Parking is available either on the main road ( Military Road) or I suggest the side streets for more parking.

Jugemu & Shimbashi Japanese Restaurant

246 Military Rd
Neutral Bay NSW 2089

(02) 9904 3011

(02) 9908 3820


Gumshara Ramen – Voted Top 5 Noodles 2009 in Sydney by Time Out Magazine.

Gumshara Ramen at Eating World Food Court, Harbour Plaza, Chinatown.

Gumshara Ramen at Eating World Food Court, Harbour Plaza, Chinatown.

As a result of an incorrectly scheduled event in my diary, my Thursday evening was free and my Hubby and I had a spontaneous date night in ‘downtown Chinatown’ for dinner.  What a treat!

After ‘studying’  my latest copy of  ‘Time Out Sydney’ Magazine all day and reading up on the features of  the ‘Food Awards 2009′ – I was armed  and informed with enough food recommendations to try out for tonight, and being around Chinatown – I suggested we try out ‘Gumshara Ramen’ for a ‘thrifty’ and easy meal as we were both pretty tired from our day.

I gave my Hubby the challenge of parking – considering it was on a Thursday evening, that if we fail to find a parking spot in Chinatown, we will have to go home and eat the left overs that he made the other night… ( He did this Moroccan Lentil Soup from a ‘Food Safari’ receipe on the SBS website! heheh and we still had PLENTY left over. The Hubby didn’t know how much lentils can ‘expand’ whilst cooking! heheh)

So as we both shuddered at the idea of eating more lentils… we hoped and prayed for a parking spot.

And THANK GOD that after only circling once around Liverpool St, we found a spot nearby on Dixon St. (Yay! No Lentils!)

Eating World at Harbour Plaza, Dixon Court... opposite from the Sydney Entertainment Center.

Eating World at Harbour Plaza, Dixon Court... opposite from the Sydney Entertainment Center.

We walk towards ‘Eating World’ Food court ( a place which I have not been to since high school…days long ago when catching a bus from the North to the City was the thing to do!) On our way, we walk pass ‘Mamak’ and the queue outside was starting to grow all the way around the newly renovated restaurant front and near to the dumpling place on the corner. (Note to self: Must come back and try Mamak again soon.)

Walking into Eating World, we immediately spot the raved-on-about place of ‘Gumshara Ramen’. It is the first thing you see as you walk through the electronic slide doors. A modest little counter with a huge cardboard sign of pictures showing the various ramen in ’100% Real Australian Pork’ stock.

( I am also informed that ‘Gumshara’ means ‘ The Chronic or ‘The Strong one’ in Japanese and the soup takes about seven days to make with 120kg of pork bones, water and miso…….Nice!)

'Essential to maintain smooth skin' I'm sold! Gimme a bowl please! :)

'Essential to maintain smooth skin' I'm sold! Gimme a bowl please! :)

Most, if not all reviews I have read about this place has been saying how ‘thick and gluttonous’ the stock is. I read a sign at the counter that saids: ‘If you prefer less salty or thick soup, please inform staff’ ‘ Okay! ….but we didn’t :)

Chef Dan Hong in action

Chef Dan Hong in action

So my mouth and lips were prepared to be ‘collagen’ and inside of my mouth ready to be ‘glued’ together…..sounds great already. Hmm.

Seasoned Egg with slighty gooey yolk - $1.50, Rice $1.50, Chilli Pickled Cabbage $1.50....however we thought this was classified as our 'Order Fail of the evening' :) Priceless.

After ordering – Hubby ordered the No.#1 and I the No.#2 – he had more pork slices in his plus a ‘seasoned egg’ for $1.50 which we would share, thinking the golden yolk looked so rich in the picture. He also orders some ‘pickled cabbage’ for $1.50 – as he is a sensible eater and likes his veggies. ( Although I think this barely counts, but was the only thing available that looked green or resembled to vegetables…) We later discover this cabbage was a an ‘order fail’  The taste wasn’t what we were expecting and was some what disappointing. Not to worry – for a $1.50 we can except the strangely pickled cabbage with chilli flakes. :) Gumshara kitchen

An array of condiments: pickled ginger, salt(?), chilli powder, seasoning sprinkles, soya etc

An array of condiments: pickled ginger, salt(?), chilli powder, seasoning sprinkles, soya etc

While waiting – I take a sneak peek behind the red curtain and see the ‘Ramen Chef – Dan Hong’  was stirring away over his huge pot of stock with a large ‘stick’. He would stir and then with a small hand held ‘shovel’ – gather more pork bones from a nearby cardboard box into his stock and stir. I gather this was a separate pot of stock, as apparently each stock takes about seven days to make to ensure it’s heartiness and flavour. I am pleased to know that no MSG is added to this stock – so I will not be needing to down liters of water tonight before bed, as I would have to at another Ramen establishment over in the north …

I watch with much interest as Chef Dan Hong cooks his noodles in the individual noodle ‘hand held strainers’ – and  gathers a handful of ramen into the strainer, then quickly hand flick the water straight onto the floor… (mind you, he is  wearing wellies and the floor is quiet wet from the water….) My husband and I both watch in amusement – although the kitchen is small and appears clean and tidy, the floor is wet – and we now see why, as with each bowl of noodle made, the water is strained onto the floor……interesting.

We also observe the busy waitress helping both to take orders, collect money and then go and help the chef ‘measure’ the right amount of thick hot broth into the black lacquer bowls with a chopstick. She stands a chopstick vertically inside the bowl to make sure the same amount of soup is poured in… ( I think to myself ‘ the writer in Time Out was not kidding when they said they can ‘stand a chopstick in the thick soup..!)

Waiting no longer than 7 minutes or so, our bowls of ramen is ready and we eagerly take our order, smile politely to the Chef as he caught my eye looking at him and give him a Japanese ‘nod’ of appreciation. I like that. I respect a chef who can cook honestly with his heart ( especially when he announces that 100% pork is used and no MSG on his sign) and that he would also take the time to smile at his customers from inside the kitchen.

Eating World Food Court on a Thursday evening.

Eating World Food Court on a Thursday evening.

My Hubby and I find a seat in the crowded food court – funny how much this place has changed and gone into renovations since the ‘dark 90′s’ when the place was slightly dodgy and had food counters that was not as pleasing as the ones on offer today. ( Note to self: Must come back and try all the other stalls as well, especially the Asian/Cantonese food stand next to Gumshara where it was lined with people who looked mostly like uni students… great prices and long queues is a sign of only good food right? Also the other Japanese place looked pretty good too for Katsu Don with rice and miso for $7.50, Indonesian food and Thai food… oh so much to sample!)

Now …. back to the ramen.

From the looks – I could already sense how THICK this soup was going to taste. I could barely see through to the noodles as the ramen looked all tangled in this deep ‘blanket’ of saucy, brown, soup/sauce! I made sure that I was prepared with some complimentary salted pickled ginger in the condiments area – as I think I will need it to break up the ‘gluggyness’ of this broth!

Hubby's bowl of ramen....

Hubby's bowl of ramen....

....With the seasoned egg.

....With the seasoned egg.

So we dig in…. and the first slurp with the steam rushing up to our faces was just delightful! Just as expected for a cold night from a big bowl of comforting noodles, broth that soothes the tummy and makes our lips stick together from the collagen. ( I am thinking how my Mum needs to have a few bowls of this to strengthen her joints instead of taking her boring Glutamate tablets!) Also for a while as we happily pull up strands of the ramen goodness – I was reminded of our ramen hunting days while in Japan, especially in Kyoto after our 2 hour bullet train ride. It was very rich and flavoursome and not as ‘manufacturered’ as some other ‘franchised’ stores.

My bowl of Pork Ramen.

My bowl of Pork Ramen.

Gumshara ramen close up 3Gumshara Ramen close up

The sign reads: ‘ Our food is made by traditional Japanese way to cook which uses fresh pork bone and water, NO MSG is used.  The richness of the soup comes from the marrow of the bone and soft bone. It contains alot of collagen which is essential to maintain a good skin’ ‘Mmmm ~ good skin I thought…. I am totally up for that!’ :)

The ramen is quite ‘al dente’ and slippery as we slurp up more ramen + soup. The soup is also scattered with freshly chopped green spring onions which is nice to break up the richness of the soup. I would recommend to eat this quick and fast – as I was starting to see the soup ‘setting’ and a ‘skin’ of it was developing on the surface already from the air. *Slurp!Slurp!*  The few slices of the ‘cha siu’ ( pork) floats on top and the taste is pretty pleasant, not too salty or tasteless but just right. It was quite ‘fatty’ in the pieces and the first piece was welcomed however the pieces to follow with the heavy soup, soon became a little too much for my palatte and I needed more ‘pickled ginger’ and ‘pickled cabbage’ to break up the fattiness. Overall, the pork slices are well balanced in their flavour and is one of the better ones I have tried. The nori that comes stuck on the inside of the bowl was soggy – and not crispy or large as the one at Ryo’s ramen – yet I did not mind it too much, as it was all about the soup here anyways and the soup definitely delivered as one of the thickest, richest and unique of its kind here in Sydney. I can see how they would have secured their place as No#1 for Noodles as voted for in ‘Time Out’ Magazine (Issue No# 60 August – $3.95 at newsagency)

Order fail: Chilli Pickled Cabbage. $1.50 You be the judge and give it a go :)

Order fail: Chilli Pickled Cabbage. $1.50 You be the judge and give it a go :)

About the end of our bowls ( well, mine half way finished) where our lips were ‘sticky’ from the gluttony soup and our mouths heavily lined with collagen and our lips had to be wiped not once or twice but with much force to clean the remains off …. we were waving our ‘invisible white flag’ as to give up and leave our bloated bellies be. We were FULL and honestly, could not bare another spoon of the thick soup that have us both grasping our tummies and craving for a cold fizzy drink to wash it all down!

Overall, the ramen was satisfying – yet this may not be something I can find myself eating more than once a month as the actual meal itself is too rich for my liking and I would have been better off sharing a bowl between the two. I see this as a treat to have once in a while – kind of  like the comfort of ‘butter’ – it is tasty and rich and delicious in small portions, as well as the ‘naughty’ larger portions…. this Gumshara broth will be best appreciated in small doses.

Feeling very ‘pregnant’ with food and with soup – we were still determined to go check out the asian desert house that I also read up about on a few food blogs sites ( sorry ~ memory slips from me at this time of night…note to self: blog earlier) and on SMH about ‘LNC’ Desert House on Dixon St.

This was the place we ‘piked’ out on last week after our dinner at ‘Chat Thai’ and Japanese photo booths…. we were all too full last time from Thai and Passionflower, that we said we would reserve LNC for another Food Safari Day/Night… and so tonight…. was the night!

I was so happy that The Hubby agreed even though we were about to explode with ramen. ( Sorry for the gross imagery! Would share with you how we REALLY felt with the soup caught in our throats… but I better not! Oh I think I just did… opps!  heheh)

LNC Desert house is at Dixon Street in Chinatown – so our short stroll over was very welcomed as anything to walk off our bulge was a good thing.

To read about our post dinner desert at LNC Desert House ~ please visit again soon, I promise the pictures will be up and looking beautiful …. and I will also throw in a special ‘Japanese boyband MTV’ Hubby and I watched while scooping at our Red Bean Slushie with Coconut gelato and Green Macha Pearl Tea. It was pretty entertaining! So come back and visit soon!

Thanks for dropping by and reading!

Love

Eve x

Ps) We strolled past ‘Sushi Rio’ on the way to LNC – which is another place my friend has told me about and loves! It is actually one of their favourite sushi places and we can see why, with the long queues also parked outside waiting for seats. ( Note to self: Must bring the family here for a night out. Curtis would love it!)

Tokyo Mart at Northbridge Plaza – Going Japanese in Northbridge.

Tokyo Mart

I love Japanese confectionery packaging. I love their colours, typography, graphics and random non-sensical 'Engrish' descriptions. Also...Pocky rules over Tim Tams anyday!

I love Mochi ~ a chewy glutionuous sweet 'dumpling' with sweet fillings. These were available in many flavours such as green tea and some others which I couldn't read. $3.50 a pop. Import directly from Japan.

I love Mochi ~ a chewy glutionuous sweet 'dumpling' with sweet fillings. These were available in many flavours such as green tea and some others which I couldn't read. $3.50 a pop. Import directly from Japan.

Pocari Sweat in powder form - for the thrifty Pocari Sweat drinker of course! Mmm....Sweaty! :)

Pocari Sweat in powder form - for the thrifty Pocari Sweat drinker of course! Mmm....Sweaty! :)

More mochi and Japanese jelly deserts.....All in Japanese and I could not understand what they are...

More mochi and Japanese jelly deserts.....All in Japanese and I could not understand what they are...

The Turning Slicer - now that is now they get all that daikon and carrots so finely stringy!!! I so want one of these for Christmas! :)
A sushi ship ~ No kitchen is not complete without a Sushi boat and a Turning Slicer!

A sushi ship ~ No kitchen is not complete without a Sushi boat and a Turning Slicer!

Japanese ice creams! Mmmm.

Japanese ice creams! Mmmm.

More Mochi pics.... sneaky :)
My favourite Japanese mayo - QP Brand! Great on everything ~ fried chicken, salads, sandwiches, sushi! Mix in a bit of wasabi and its in an new dimension!

My favourite Japanese mayo - QP Brand! Great on everything ~ fried chicken, salads, sandwiches, sushi! Mix in a bit of wasabi and its in an new dimension!

Sliced Wagyu beef slices - ready for shabu - shabu-ing and searing on a hot pan and eating! Yum!

Sliced Wagyu beef slices - ready for shabu - shabu-ing and searing on a hot pan and eating! Yum!

Japanese pickles!

Japanese pickles!

I love Japanese pickled ginger!

I love Japanese pickled ginger!

Plenty of miso paste to choose from.

Plenty of miso paste to choose from.

A Handai.......... to add with The Turning Slicer and the Sushi Boat.

A Handai.......... to add with The Turning Slicer and the Sushi Boat.

An assortment of Japanese cooking equipment and bits. Fun!

An assortment of Japanese cooking equipment and bits. Fun!

A little bit of Japan in the middle of Northbridge - I heart Tokyo Mart!

A little bit of Japan in the middle of Northbridge - I heart Tokyo Mart!

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