Thursday, 26 May 2011

Restaurant Review: Tetsuya's

My desire to do a bit more fine dining in Sydney this year wouldn't have been complete without a trip to Tetsuya's, arguably Australia's only internationally famous restaurant.

Innocuously housed in a traditional style Japanese building located off Kent St, Tetsuya's is easy to walk past without even noticing it is there. Once inside you can't help but notice the plethora of artwork adorning the walls. However, I felt some of the interior fittings were a little bit dated. Could a refit be due?

I had to book back in February for a Saturday lunchtime slot, justifying it as a belated birthday and marathon celebration. I'm just pleased I did well in the marathon otherwise I would have been a grumpy old sod at lunch!

Watching too much Masterchef makes me want me to proclaim "dish of the day!" And like the show, to over hype everything horribly, I'll have to proclaim it twice as I really can't decide which my favourite dish of the day was. But first I have to start with a complaint. When we were seated the below was my view.

When you are paying $210 per person for the set menu I think you deserve more. Am I a naughty school child made to sit in the corner and face the wall? It was amazing how much it affected my mood and how happier I became when I swapped seats with Marlina for dessert and got to stare into the tranquil Japanese garden.

The service was impeccable. Tetsuya's certainly don't skimp on the staff, who were ever present. Topping up glasses with style, bringing out the food at perfect intervals and explaining the dishes placed in front of us. I honestly can't remember the last time I was treated so well.

And the food? It was good. There was a lot of technique displayed on every plate and I don't resent the price. However, I think there were only two truly outstanding courses which was a little bit disappointing. I was expecting more.

The unsalted butter with truffle and ricotta. Oh my. I just couldn't get enough of it and was smothering my bread like there was no tomorrow. It's wonderful when simple things surprise you.

My other favourite dish was the slow roast breast of duck with smoked eschallots and fois gras. When you tested every component together it was salty, rich, melt in your mouth tender and perfectly balanced by the smoked eschallots. Heaven!

Marlina is lucky enough to have eaten at Tetsuya's twice, the other time being eight years ago. It was interesting to hear her say how Mod Oz the restaurant has become. The food is now served on big white plates and honestly didn't feel that Asian. Apparently ten years ago it was served on interesting Japanese crockery.

Unsalted butter with truffle and ricotta

I just want to scream dish of the day! I've tasted some fabulous French butter before, but nothing blended like this. Wow.

Chilled cucumber soup with sheep yoghurt ice cream

Pacific oysters with rice vinegar and ginger

The oysters were an optional extra. I've never had such plump grade A oysters before. There wasn't enough rice vinegar and ginger for me.

Sashimi of yellow fin tuna with shishito and garlic chips

Marinated NZ scampi tail with curd and junsai

The only scampi I've previously had has been deep fried. I was surprised how soft the scampi was. It worked really well with the curd.

Confit Petuna ocean trout woth konbu, celery and apple

We were told several times that this was Tetsuya's "signature dish". I was expecting a surprise factor that wasn't there. To me there was nothing that differentiated the ocean trout from the other course we ate, so why hype it as the 'special' one?

Steamed mulloway with blackbean

Braised ox tail with sea cucumber and lotus root

It was the first time I'd eaten sea cucumber and a braised, instead of fried, lotus root. An interesting mix of ingredients that challenged the palate.

Slow roast breast of duck with smoked eschallots and fois gras

I could eat this all day! A great balance of flavours and I loved the saltiness too.

De-boned rack of lamb with eggplant and white miso

Musk melon sorbet with Sauternes jelly and tarte tartin

Genoa figs with leatherwood honey and fig leaf ice cream

Chocolate fondant with hazelnut and praline for the birthday boy

Having discretely discovered I was celebrating I had a different dessert from the menu. However, all I wanted was the glossy and luscious looking chocolate mousse that Marlina was served so I convinced her to share!

Chocolate pavé with cream cheese ice cream an cinnamon twigs

Chai Mochi balls

Tetsuya's on Urbanspoon


  1. ive always wanted to try testya.. maybe when i win the lottery :)

    or graduate from uni hehe.

  2. What a wonderful way to celebrate your birthday =)
    You really have chosen some wonderful places on the fine dining scene to try out.
    And funny that dish of the day was butter... ;)


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