July 4, 2011

Chopsticks, Toreadors & A Luminescent Pudding

On Saturday night, my husband and  I dined with two friends of ours, a couple I’ll call Simon and Lilian (because that’s not actually their names). We went to the very latest cool restaurant in Sydney (or perhaps the fifth or sixth last latest cool restaurant – we’re just not that up-to-the-minute in terms of restaurant trends).

It was a Japanese Tapas restaurant (‘Japas’, you might call it), which makes perfect sense. Clearly there is a need for Japanese-Spanish fusion food in Australia; after all, where else could the Aussie-Japanese Toreadors and Aussie-Spanish Geisha Girls head for dinner after a hard day at work?
The experience was fascinating. We  learned a great deal about the Japanese-Spanish culture; primarily, that Japanese-Spaniards are not interested in feeding people. We were completely ignored for the first hour of our stay, until we yelled for help and banged on our glasses, and staged a mock bullfight with serviettes, chopsticks and a bottle of soy.

Happily, after the mock bullfight, we did manage to grab a waitress’s attention. We ordered some Japanese Sangria, which was described on the menu as ‘Japanese Sangria’.
“Sangria? “ the waitress asked, and laughed heartily. “No no no – is Sakura. SAKURA! Ha ha!” I saw her walk back to the kitchen and where she laughed heartily again with the cooks. “Stupid lady at other table, she order Sangria! Ha! Is Sakura! Ha ha!” (Of course, I’m guessing that’s what she said as she was speaking in Japanese, but it certainly sounded like it.)

We ate our meal, which tasted exactly like Japanese food, except for the dishes that tasted Spanish. Oh, and the rice was served after the meal, which I presumed was a Japanese-Spanish cultural thing, but turned out to be because the waitress forgot.
After begging to pay the bill (because the waitress ignored us again) we headed to a beautiful chocolate specialty restaurant for dessert. Sadly, it was closed, using ‘closed’ in the sense of ‘no longer there’ (which proves just how not up-to-the-minute we really are). So we had to move to the restaurant next door, which had flags in the window, photos of boxers on the wall (that’s the punching kind of boxers, not the underwear kind of boxers that my husband throws on the floor) and pictures of all the different meals on the menu.

Now I usually make a point of never dining in an establishment in which reading is not a pre-requisite, but I was desperate for something sweet, and so I sat down with the others. I looked at all the pictures and chose the dish that looked most like ‘sticky date pudding’, which coincidentally was labeled as ‘sticky date pudding’. It was delicious, and looked almost as good as the photo, only not quite as luminescent.

All in all it was a most satisfying evening. I sampled food from three different cultures – Japanese, Spanish, and Cake –and enjoyed the company of my husband and two people whose names weren’t Simon or Lilian.

And I learned that I feel a great affinity with the Japanese-Spanish community. For one thing, I really enjoy a glass of Sangria Sakura weird potion in a bottle.
And for another thing, I don’t much like feeding people either.


  1. The Cake culture is my particular favourite. Everyone is so light and fluffy, full of sugar and always sweet.

    Mmmmmm cake . . .

  2. Ooh where was it?? I've been to a few Japas places lately but have only read had good experiences. DM (@flydrunkmonkey) if you don't want to post the restaurant name on here :)

  3. I must be in a metaphysical mood. I originally read that you had died out with your friends.
     I wasn't quite sure how you were going to mount that obstacle.

  4. Years ago, when I lived in England, a colleague breathlessly told me: 'You must go to (restaurant name withheld). They don't take reservations so you have to queue for ages, and the waiters treat you like shit!' Never did end up checking that place out ....

  5. Hah! Love the bullfight. And at least you didn't have to eat dessert there. They probably would have tried to serve you ricecake.

  6. Fine dining, hey?.
    As in 'they'll be fine" dining.
    Any meal that ends in something resembling sticky date pudding is a-ok though.
    Mum on the Run

  7. Well it sounds just lovely much like our Indian round the corner called Sakura! It was named after the old owners wife, (Sakura/cherry blossom).  Apparently lots of Japanese people go there by mistake for a Japanese meal and have to have Chicken Tikka instead!  It must be the name.   I didn't know it was also a drink.

  8. We had a tiler doing our bathroom once who worked in a restaurant where he was paid to insult people, for real!  That's England for you.  

  9. That was actually what I read too.  I thought it was going to be a lot more interesting than it turned out to be.  Only kidding.  Shakes head, nods, shakes head.  

  10. I think I meant surmount, but the more I think about it, the less sure I am.

  11. As a gourmet of vast experience, I would never mix and match my food. I mean, why would you eat Maccas chips, in a Red Rooster shop ?


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