52 Waterloo Street is quickly becoming one of the hottest eating and drinking destinations in Sydney. In the same complex as Orto Trading Co and El Capo, Kenji Maeneka (ex-Bodega) has created Izakaya Fujiyama, a fabulous spot for any night out – there’s Japanese beers, plum wines and sake, and lots of great share plates.

We chose to dine here on our very first night as Surry Hills locals 🙂

I love the handwritten specials menu!

Izakaya Fujiyama, Surry Hills - handwritten menu

We start with Kingfish nuta with tortilla ($15). It’s a small mountain of lime and miso marinated diced kingfish, served with fried tortilla chips. Earthy, salty, sweet and crunchy – love!

Izakaya Fujiyama, Surry Hills - kingfish nuta with tortilla

We also try the bonito salad ($13.50) which was on the specials menu. The bonito is beautifully seared, and paired so well with crisp shreds of carrot, daikon and onion, and a zesty garlic and soy dressing.

Izakaya Fujiyama, Surry Hills - salad

You can’t go wrong with the chef’s selection sashimi plate ($24), there’s salmon, tuna, mackerel and the most decoratively sliced cuttlefish. The plate looks so dainty with its gorgeously arranged condiments – the chopped spring onion, thin ribbons of daikon, the confetti of cucumber and red onion, and slices of lemon and lime and radish. It’s simple dishes like this where you can really taste the freshness.

Izakaya Fujiyama, Surry Hills - sashimi plate

Unfortunately, while the tempura prawns (3 pieces for $9.50) looks the part, the batter is a bit limp and lacks any substance.

Izakaya Fujiyama, Surry Hills - tempura prawns

However, it is all uphill from there.

I adore my agedashi tofu ($13.50) and the one here is brilliant! Uniquely served with braised shiitake mushrooms and okra, there’s a satisfy savoury oomph in the dish. The outside of the tofu is sticky with a nice bite and the inside is utmost silky. The light soy dressing leaves a lingering comforting note.

Izakaya Fujiyama, Surry Hills - agedashi tofu

Kenji’s Fried Chicken ($13.50), may coincidentally have the same acronym as Kentucky Fried Chicken but the execution is anything but fast food. The garlic and ginger flavours are clean and crisp and the chicken is just so juicy and tender!

Izakaya Fujiyama, Surry Hills - karaage chicken

For dessert, we share the Fujiyama Jaffa ($13.50) which consists of a frozen chocolate cake with kumquat sauce, and a Yogo-textured mousse with I think rosemary flavoured popcorn. It’s a bizarre combination of flavours but it’s so tasty.

Izakaya Fujiyama, Surry Hills - kumquat chocolate dessert

Izakaya Fujiyama, Surry Hills - outdoor street dining

What a fabulous gem to have in the neighbourhood!

I’m looking forward to many more meals here!

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Izakaya Fujiyama
Shop G09, 52 Waterloo Street Surry Hills NSW
Phone: (02) 9698 2797
Web: www.izakayafujiyama.com

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Jennifer is the founding blogger of I Ate My Way Through (originally, Jenius.com.au). Growing up in the multicultural melting pot of Sydney’s Inner West as a second generation Australian (of Vietnamese refugee parents of Teochew Chinese ancestry), Jen has always had a deep curiosity about global cuisines, culinary heritage and the cultural assimilation of immigrants. For Jen and her family, food is always at the centre of all celebrations, life events and milestones. A lover of the finer things in life, as well as cheap eats, her blogging ethos is all about empowering and inspiring people to expand their culinary repertoire. When not running her two companies (she is also the Managing Director of The Bamboo Garden online marketing agency), Jen can be found exploring old-world charms at vintage markets and delving into local eats around the world. She has a weakness for fried chicken.