Japanese food has been one of my favourite cuisines from ever since I could remember - there are just so many different tastes, techniques and beautiful forms of presentation that always make for a vivid dining experience. Everything from my mother's homemade sushi to the traditional dining options I've had spit spotted around Tokyo city, I've always found comfort in Japanese food and am constantly on the look out for Perth's best!
1. Kanta Japanese Kitchen and Sushi Bar
For me, the most memorable, consistent and authentic Japanese experience in 2012 was those that I enjoyed at Kanta. Having been to Japan before, I would say that this is probably the most accurate depiction of an underground Japanese sushi bar - tight real estate and an open kitchen where you can watch food being prepared right before your very eyes.
Aside from a vast selection of entrees, Kanta also offers a variety of sashimi and sushi types. A good Japanese restaurant is determined by the quality and preparation of it's fresh produce - there is no falling short here, I'm yet to have a bad experience when ordering Sashimi. Their sushi; whether it be in nigiri or maki form have amazing texture and are freshly prepared to order; this is not your pedestrian takeaway haut style sushi.
Not only are the dishes at Kanta delicious; they are extremely unique. Aside from usual suspects such as Chicken Karaage or Agedashi Tofu, I've also come across Ox Tail Karaage, Kamo (Grilled Duck) and Gyu Steak (Beef Tongue). Kanta not only services the adventurous eater; but does it so well that even more timid patrons are sure to enjoy the selection on offer.
Ha-Lu is the ideal restaurant for a small group to enjoy a wide variety of Modern Japanese cuisine; as the menu boasts a wide array of entrees, main meals and desserts. Each dish is a unique creation, delectable, and prepared to order.
My recommendations include: Crumbed Camembert Cheese ($10.50) with Honey Tomato and Blueberry Sauce, Char Grilled Slow Cooked Duck ($24.00) with Aubergine, Madeira Sauce and Whole Grained Mustard and Grilled Fremantle Octopus ($19.00) with Garlic Panko Crumbs, Shallots, Ume Plum and Sesame Oil. The desserts at Ha-Lu are prepared to order as well, and are the epitome of well executed fuision cooking styles, such as White Chocolate, Roast Tea and Berry Pannacotta or Black Sesame Tiramsu. The above pictured is a must try; Cotton-Soft Cheesecake with Azuki ($9.50).
Opening Hours: Wednesday to Sunday from 6:00pm, for Dinner Only. Closed Monday and Tuesday .
Another drop of heaven, right out of the Tokyo eating scene - along a dark alleyway on Hay Street, and down a wooden staircase lies one of Perth's best kept dining secrets. Small tables are lined up along the right side of the table, whilst the left hand side consists of tatami mat covered dining areas for a more traditional experience. The restaurant is small, but the ambience is wonderful and very authentic.
The dishes that I've tried thus far have been extremely delicious and fairly priced, other perks of dining at Jun include friendly service and a great location. This is a wonderful place for two people to gather; over a round of beers and a series of traditional Japanese foods.
Opening Hours: Monday - Friday from 12pm - 2pm for Lunch, and open from 6pm - 10pm for Dinner, including Saturday. Closed Sunday.
4. Aisuru Sushi
William Street has evolved immensely in the last few years, and Aisuru Sushi can be found in the heart of Northbridge, across from the iconic Brass Monkey Hotel. The flare for Modern Japanese continues; with this establishment specialising in sushi rolls that boasts an array of textures and extravagant flavour combinations. I went numerous times throughout 2012; some experiences were below par, but upon my last two visits they began making their sushi to order again, reinstating the high standards it upheld when they first opened.
What makes Aisuru special, is their ability to marry familiar, robust flavours from the Western Cuisine, into the widely popular and delicate technique of sushi making. Each variety can be ordered in a Large or Small size, consisting of 8 or 4 pieces respectively. It is a little on the pricey side, the bill between 2 could easily run into the $60-$75 mark easily; despite this, it's a worthy experience. Even more so when dining with a bigger group!
Opening Hours: Tuesday - Saturday: 12:00pm - 2:30pm, for Lunch. 6:00pm - 9:30 for Dinner, except for Friday and Saturday (Open till 10pm). Closed on Monday & Sunday.
5. Ohnamiya Japanese Takeaway & Dine In
Whether it be for weeknight comfort food or when I'm in the need of a group reunion venue; chances are, I'll always suggest Ohnamiya. Since opening their second branch in Myaree, now good, honest and authentic Japanese food can be enjoyed in their original Kearns Crescent diner, or on the new Hulme Court venue which caters to bigger groups.
Despite it's fair prices; one thing Ohnamiya doesn't compromise on is generosity or variety. I particularly enjoy their Teriyaki Salmon/Fish Donburi; which is served well seasoned with pan grilled onions over rice - very satisfying! I'm also very fond of their Chicken Karaage, which comes served in various Bento Boxes. Don't skip out on desserts at Ohnamiya; the Green Tea Panna cotta is going to be the highlight of any meal. The panna cotta has a full matcha flavour; which is complimented with a green tea sauce and white cream sauce.
Another plus is how they are always happy to alter your meal according to your preferences e.g. choice of sushi, extra sauce or extra rice seasoning. However, there has been some discrepancies about the service of the Ohnamiya staff - I've not experienced this personally, but it's definitely been talked about a lot before. All in all, the food still speaks for itself, particularly the dessert.
Opening Hours in Ardross: 5:30pm - 9:00pm, for Dinner on Tuesday - Saturday. 12:00pm - 2:00pm, for Lunch on Wednesday - Saturday.
Opening Hours in Myaree: 5:00pm - 9:00pm, for Dinner on Tuesday - Sunday. 12:00pm - 2:00pm, for Lunch on Thursday - Sunday.