Things you've never dreamed of

August 28th, 2011 by Rose

Toriciya, Cammeray

Guys, I have to admit that I wasn’t at my best when I rocked up to Toriciya last Friday. On Thursday, I had a corporate trivia night where I had lots and lots of free wine. Afterwards a friend convinced me to go to La Cita for mojitos. She had one mojito and then danced with a dude. I had one mojito, watched her dance with a dude (I am now a respectable married woman after all and all the dudes there were manky) then had a another mojito. We stumbled home at 2.30am after the obligatory Maccas run. Next morning I woke up, realised I was STILL drunk AND have a sore throat, then proceeded to have a highly stressful day at work. I did have a bacon and egg sandwich in the morning, which helped some. The hangover and sore throat hit full force at around noon. Yes I know I did this to myself. I really should have been better behaved knowing that I’d be at a SAKE BAR the next day.

Still, I gave it a red hot go. This is another Daniel and Chika recommendation. Someone told me that if I go north of the bridge more than twice in a month, I’ll get my Inner West resident card revoked. But officer, I’d say, Daniel and Chika said the place is good. Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t know – the burly policeman says, as he puts away his notepad – we completely understand, you found some of your top 10 eating places through them after all.

OK, OK, we’ll go straight to the food.

Toriciya is another one of those tiny, cosy little tucked away places that’s earned a reputation as one of the best places to find boutique sake/shochu in Sydney. It gets a little bit noisy so maybe don’t bring a first date here if you plan on having one of those conversations where you pretend to be super intelligent. Although, the decor is amazing (Daniel tells us that the owner brought over all the decor from Japan – the table outside is a modified door from an ancient sake brewery) and the food even more so, so maybe DO bring your first date here to impress them with your knowledge of small, tucked away gems in Sydney.

Hi. This is Daniel’s sake cup for the night. I still don’t know that much about sake except that there is a shit version made from the wrong kind of rice/fermentation process, and Toriciya DOESN’T stock any shit sake. There is a sake menu with a handy dandy dryness scale (did I just make that up? I vaguely remember this from the menu) if you like your sake less or more sweet. The descriptions for the drinks are charming in a Google Translate kind of way. I mean I’m totally behind any drinks list that will describe a drink as something to go “berserk” over. Restauranteurs take note.

I couldn’t really hear which sakes were being ordered so I don’t really have any useful notes around which to try, but really, just ask your waiter for recommendations and you’re sure to find something that you’d like. I never realised how vast the varieties of sake are, and how different they taste when you have them cold or warm. What I do know is that the SO was right when he said you can totally kill a hangover with more alcohol (at least for a little while).

We got the slow cooked pork hock and sauerkraut, because the first thing that you’d want in a Japanese restaurant is German food. This was on the specials menu for the day and zomg this was delicious. The meat just fell off the bones and and was nice and tender and juicy. I’m not a huge fan of sauerkraut so you know. It tasted like sauerkraut. We fell upon this like a ravenous pack of wolves, except more polite and with chopstick skills. I would also like to mention that the pictures in this post is a bit more crap than usual because we were with a new group of people and I was a bit self conscious about taking food photos when everyone just want to eat.

Ox tongue #1 – slow cooked in soy sauce. This was very rich and melt in your mouth tender. The little yellow blob on the side is mustard.

Ox tongue #2, grilled with salt and pepper. If I was rude I’d take two slices for myself because you know that, that’s what I REALLY wanted to do. So did everyone else. I think this is probably the most popular dish that night. The texture might freak some people out – it’s pretty chewy and uh tongue-y – but I thought it was super juicy and packs a whole lot of flavour. This was served with a spicy sauce.

Yeah I know, picture fail. Deep fried crumbed prawns with tartare sauce. Fried things make everything better, even a killer hangover.

Braised mirror dory in miso (I think). The fish was sweet and perfectly cooked. People at the table dared me to eat the eyeball. Little did they know that I always go for the eyeball when I have fish head curry. Mmmm fish eyeballs.

I think this was the grilled mackerel with a miso glaze. I really should have taken a photo of the specials menu. This was OK, it was slightly overshadowed by the first few dishes.

Ohhhhh yeahhhh fried chicken, that’s what I’m talking about. Well seasoned, crispy and burn-your-face-off hot, just the way I like them.

Lightly seasoned fried fish. I don’t know what type of fish this is as this was ordered by someone else off the main menu. I did try a little bit of it and it was so good that I wish I knew what dish this is so I can order it next time.

It was around this time when everyone realised that we’ve ordered way too much. It’s OK though, we pushed on. Now this is the dish that wasn’t too sure about. This the grilled chicken cartilage. I can totally deal with weird textures but this was a bit too weird because I’m socially conditioned to spit out chicken cartilage when I bite into them. Someone helpfully described it as “like biting into your knuckle”. This tasted amazing though so I was a bit confused by the entire experience.

I think the only way to settle this is to go back, order more and make a decision. Yep.

Pork mince with a sweet soy sauce glaze. The combination of pork and sweet soy reminded me a bit of Bali.

GRILLED CHICKEN SKIN, ladies and gents. That noise you heard is your arteries slamming shut. You know what though? You’ll die happy.

This was one of the skewers I didn’t eat – a fish skewer – because I was too busy with this:

Green tea cheesecake with red beans and green tea ice cream. The dessert is only available on the specials menu and changes constantly. The cheesecake was light enough to round off the big meal nicely. I thought this was delicious but the SO was a bit 50-50 about it. More for me!

Service was really good, but food went out a bit slow because it was a busy night. All that food for 6 people (we also had two other types of chicken skewers that I didn’t have photos of) and 4 orders of sake came to $60/pp.

18 Cammeray Road, Cammeray
02 9904 2277

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