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Posted February 18, 2011 by Jennifer Lam (Jenius) in Occasion
 
 

Uchi Lounge tasting menu

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I have long been a fan of Uchi Lounge’s modern Japanese cuisine and knew a re-visit was a must after learning that chef and owner Takashi Ohuchi had strengthened his team; appointing his brother Wataru Ohuchi (who has trained at award winningTokyo restaurant Diamon), as head chef.

It’s been a little while since I’ve last been here, but I am relieved to see that even after 13 years in business, Uchi Lounge
still hasn’t lost its casual quirky charm. The bar downstairs is quietly buzzing and the restaurant upstairs remains cosy but fresh.

We decide to go for the 10 course set menu, which at just $49 per head is definitely one of the best value kaiseki degustations out there in Sydney. I don’t recall it being this cheap years ago but maybe I’ve just become more cost-conscious lately!

Uchi Lounge tasting menu - complimentary rice crackers

We start with the complimentary rice crackers. They’re lightly toasted and crunchy with a slight chew and a lusting aroma of soy sauce.

First course is a traditional miso soup – homely and comforting.

Uchi Lounge tasting menu - miso soup

Uchi Lounge tasting menu - top 'n roll sushi

Next we have refreshing bites of the top ‘n roll sushi, a strip of fresh salmon draped over an inside-out avocado sushi roll.

This is paired on the side with course number three, a tataki-style salmon sashimi with soy caper ponzu sauce. I love the bonding of such simple ingredients, the gentle bitterness of the watercress, the zing of the dressing and the charred flavours of the seared sashimi.
Uchi Lounge tasting menu - tataki-style salmon sashimi with soy caper ponzu sauce

pouring cocktail at the table

Strange timing but our drinks are served mid-meal. My Sweet Devil cocktail ($14) is a luscious concoction of lychee sake, chilli sake, vodka and lychee syrup, shaken and poured into a chilled martini glass at the table. A plump lychee stuffed with mint offers a sweet finish.

Sweet devil at Uchi Lounge - lychee sake, chilli sake, vodka and lychee syrup

The boy has the flavoured sake tasters, a choice of three types of sakes, 60ml each for $12. He went with my suggestions of the star anise which is served warm and has a dry taste, the chilled peach & lemongrass which is really fragrant and semi-sweet; and the green tea & coconut which is sweet but punchy and almost like a frappe. The hand-written notes and crane origami adds a cute personable touch.

Uchi Lounge - three flavoured sake

Then we have these amazing chargrilled seared scallops with enoki soy and crispy soba! The scallops are scrumptious, fat and juicy, bursting with flavour. It is so visually appealing as well.

I have a deep appreciation for pretty glazed Japanese dinnerware and I must admit, there are a few I want to take home from Uchi Lounge’s collection! ;)
Uchi Lounge tasting menu - chargrilled seared scallops with enoki soy and crispy soba

Fifth course is a kingfish sashimi. Thin slivers of kingfish are accentuated with a shallot, umeboshi and tamari dressing. Slightly sweet, slightly sour, the clean flavours work in perfect harmony.
Uchi Lounge tasting menu - kingfish sashimi with shallot, umeboshi and tamari dressing

Moving onto the hot courses, we have the agedashi tofu which is simply faultless.

On the same plate are isobe-fried chicken pieces with sesame mustard mayo. Isobe-age is a cooking method which uses roasted nori (seaweed) for flavour and this dish rocks on so many different levels.

Uchi Lounge tasting menu - agedashi tofu and isobe-fried chicken pieces with sesame mustard mayo

I’m also reunited with their signature grilled eggplant with miso and parmesan, a delectable fusion take on nasu dengaku (grilled eggplant with miso). The parmesan adds a lovely robustness to this dish.

Uchi Lounge tasting menu - grilled eggplant with miso and parmesan

The meatier course is a choice between the steak or tuna. We were going to opt for one of each but the waitress clarifies that it has to be shared between two so the steak it was.

The steak is a perfect medium-rare, conveniently sliced and served in a delicious dark miso sauce with ingen beans and crisp renkon chips. On the side is the last course, a green salad with wafu dressing and crispy gobo.

Uchi Lounge tasting menu - medium-rare beef steak with dark miso sauce, ingen beans and renkon chips and asian green salad with wafu dressing and crispy gobo

Dessert ($9.50 each) is not part of the tasting menu but who can say no to fusion Japanese sweets? From past experiences, I’ve learned the houji cha pannacotta is a must order, and tonight, it doesn’t disappoint.

Uchi Lounge - houji cha pannacotta

Intrigued by the unusual marriage of pumpkin with chocolate, I order the Japanese pumpkin and chocolate tart with vanilla ice cream. It is served like a piece of art on a plate; the pumpkin and chocolate are two very distinct flavours that don’t overpower one another. It’s a delightful dessert overall.

Uchi Lounge - Japanese pumpkin and chocolate tart with vanilla ice cream

So there you have it, yet another sensational meal at Uchi Lounge. I don’t know why I don’t come back here more often!


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Uchi Lounge
15 Brisbane St, Darlinghurst
Phone: (02) 9261 3524
Web: www.uchilounge.com.au

 

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JENIUS dined as guests of Wasamedia and Uchi Lounge.


Jennifer Lam (Jenius)

 
Jennifer is the founding blogger of I Ate My Way Through (originally, Jenius.com.au). Having grown up in a family where food was always at the centre of all celebrations, family events and milestones, Jen is obsessed with capturing irresistible flavours and stories from myriad cultures. A lover of the finer things in life, as well as cheap eats, her blogging ethos is all about empowering people to have good food and invigorating adventures - because life is too short for mediocre meals or dull travel. Her hobbies are breakfast, lunch and dinner. She's globally curious, passionate about female entrepreneurship, is a soy chai latte fanatic, and loves vintage, dressmaking and photography.