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Izakaya Fujiyama

August 9, 2011

So many new places have opened lately that I want to try! And so many of them in Surry Hills! After tweeting my dismay at so many places to go to, and no one to go with – Messrs invertmethod (a Surry Hills local), adamphosho (a Surry Hills-phobe) and jasechow came to my rescue, joining me for dinner at Izakaya Fujiyama – the new restaurant opened by Kenji Maenaka (ex-Bodega).

The bar is a stunner – lined with rows and rows of sake bottles. We know what we’ll be drinking later, that’s for sure! To start off with, invertmethod and I order a few dishes before our companions arrive. Being an izakaya, the idea is to order many small dishes to share – to accompany your drinks.

Izakaya Fujiyama menus

Specials menu – chef’s recommendations are in orange highlighter!

As we peruse the menus – I notice a familiar person walk through the door. I’D KNOW THAT PONYTAIL ANYWHERE. It’s Neil Perry!

a) I feel quite chuffed with my restaurant choice
b) Try to do the cool thing and not overplay it: “Oh….” (I say quietly and casually, getting invertmethod’s attention) “I think that guy’s…like…. Neil Perry. Or something.”

The cool thing fails quite utterly when I suddenly feel a sense of doubt and decide to google image search “Neil Perry” to make sure I’m not completely wrong (<- nerd alert). Nope, it's him!

So I take this extremely stalkery photo of him over invertmethod's shoulder:

…But yeah, like… whatever.

Edamame – $5.5

Just in time, our edamame arrives – now I will happily eat edamame in any way, shape or form. But when it’s so fresh like this, sprinkled lightly with flakes of sea salt – it makes an already delicious thing even more pleasurable. The bean pods are crisp, and the beans themselves are so sweet.

Luckily before I get carried away, adamphosho and jasechow arrive – and we order a few more dishes… and some sake!!

Hokkaido sake

Our food starts to arrive:

Potato salad ($8.5) is more like mashed potato – tangy with mayonnaise and slivers of vegetable. Pretty similar to the small dishes of potato salad served as side dishes at tonkatsu restaurants.

Our Tuna Jaw arrives!!

Tuna Jaw – $32

Though listed as Tuna Jaw on the menu – our piece is more like Tuna Fin. It’s an amazingly huge, hulking piece of fish. “Wow. That used to be alive” says an incredulous adamphosho. For a minute we stare at it, unsure where to begin. invertmethod gallantly starts to break the pieces down, before we attack it with our chopsticks.

Go invertmethod!

The fish is DELICIOUS. Seriously. The flesh is savoury and unctuous. Though it seems more bone and fin than meat at first – there’s an amazing amount of fish in there. We use our chopsticks and fingers to coax out the soft pieces of dark meat, dipping it in this amazing tangy ponzu sauce. Honestly, if you only order one thing here – order this (orders are limited each night. Salmon head and Kingfish head are also on the menu – subject to availability). In a short time, our platter is scavenged clean.

Next up is pork belly ($18.50) – steamed with hoba miso and baked eggplant.


I’m so used to eating rich and fatty roast pork belly with crackling that the taste of this is surprisingly restrained to me. The pork belly is cooked so that the fat is soft and melting. I love the presentation of this dish, but the knockout tuna jaw is a hard dish to follow.

Sashimi platter is wonderfully fresh. I love the way the sashimi is carefully folded. A lot of care is taken with the presentation.

Teriyaki Beef Kalbi ($28.5) – is super tasty – sticky and sweet, the beef rib is cut into tender slices of perfectly medium rare meat.

Last of all is a tuna tasting plate of 3 nigiri –

The dish contains 3 grades of tuna – from toro (in the back of the photo – fattier, more expensive and more prized) to “not toro” (according to our waitress). Quite pricey at $15 – but the toro is incredibly delicious. Melt-in-your-mouth dreamy. Worth it if you’ve never had toro before and want to see what all the fuss is about!

Even after all that, we are coaxed by the dessert menu. invertmethod and I order the “Tea Ceremony” – homemade icecream sitting atop red beans, and drowned in matcha. Yum!


The others order a desert on the specials menu – sake icecream with almond cake! All reports say it is “very good”


Not a cheap night out – but definitely a delicious one. Not content to just roll out the usual izakaya staples – Izakaya Fujiyama has a sense of freshness and originality that’s strongly grounded in traditional techniques and flavours. It’ll be interesting to see where they go with it!

I wonder if Neil Perry had as great a meal as we did. Somehow I think so.

Izakaya Fujiyama
54-56 Waterloo St
Surry Hills 2010

Open Mon-Wed 5-10pm; Thu-Sat 5-11.30pm
(no bookings)

Izakaya Fujiyama on Urbanspoon

9 Comments leave one →
  1. August 10, 2011 3:59 pm

    OMG – you are too funny with your Neil Perry spotting! I would’ve gotten excited too. I turned into a total weirdo stalker when I saw Kylie Kwong at The Eveleigh Markets (and also spied Luke Nyguen at a bookshop too – kept my cool infront of him though)!

    • August 17, 2011 11:46 pm

      Hahahaaaaa I must have stared at him for so long… trying to work out if it was him. I’d be unsurprised if he felt pricklings at the back of his neck….

  2. August 10, 2011 4:01 pm

    Oh…I think I spelt Lukes last name wrong in my comment above. Whoopsie!

  3. August 12, 2011 4:46 pm

    lol at you stalker shot…! Great pics – reminds me I need to get back there to check out the pork belly and sashimi

    • August 17, 2011 11:47 pm

      I would definitely try the toro tunaaaaa….. sooo good.

  4. November 16, 2011 11:18 pm

    Wow you guys pretty much ordered everything. How good were the ribs? :9 Would like to go back when my wallet permits for some tuna tasting plate action.

  5. August 18, 2012 10:01 pm

    I will immediately snatch your rss feed as I can’t find your email subscription link or newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Kindly let me recognize so that I may subscribe. Thanks.

  6. October 21, 2014 3:03 pm

    What’s up, just wanted to say, I enjoyed this post. It was helpful.
    Keep on posting!


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