Address: 241 Parramatta Rd, Annandale NSW 2038
Tel: (02) 9560 3007
Opening Hours: Dinner 5:30pm to 10:30pm, 7 days
Driving past this restaurant frequently through Sydney's bridal district on Parramatta Rd one often wonders how many people take them up on their offer of "if you don't enjoy your meal, simply don't pay".
On this occasion we rocked up at approximately 6pm - I expected the parking situation to be nightmarish but there are plenty of side streets off Parramatta Rd to rat race for a parking spot into. Alternatively, the clearway ends at 7pm so cars are parked along the side of the road, which probably explains the dinner opening hours only.
We were greeted by the friendly manager, Kazu (who is also incidently a sushi chef) who seated us and promised to bring out a few dishes (not big on the sushimi so he held off on that) that would personify the experience at Rashai.
Ebi Katsu (Pictured below) - "Deep fried minced prawns in breadcrumbs". This is quite a lovely dish, the prawn filling was a fluffy texture, the katsu crumb was fried to just the right shade - showing off the chef's skills and the cleanliness of the oil (releases a very pure flavour). This dish was served with a tartare sauce (which reminded me of fillet-o-fish) and a plum-undertone katsu sauce.
Above: Nasu Miso Steak - "Grilled eggplant with miso sauce". I was in disbelief that this was grilled because I would have sworn it was lightly battered and then fried. But no, I was assured that it was grilled (no grill marks or burning or shrivelling which is what usually happens if you have ever tried it at home) to perfection so that it melts in your mouth. The miso sauce is excellent, a medium thickness with sweet plum undertones.
Below: Agedashi Tofu - "deep fried beancurd with special sauce, topped with bonite flakes". What Japanese meal would be complete without agedashi tofu! This was a pleasant rendition with a light sauce.
Above: Chasoba Salad - "Green tea noodle salad with homemade soy dressing". Love this salad! I've never been a fan of soba (cold) noodles however the combination of the "secret" miso sauce and green tea removed that slimy feeling usually associated with soba. The miso sauce can only be described as slightly tangy & vinegary but does wonders for a salad with simple ingredients.
Above: Tempura Udon - This dish consisted of a mixed vege & prawn tempura which was once again, battered & fried to perfection. The vegies consisted of a green bean, pumpkin, carrot and eggplant. The udon noodles were presented in a thin broth and cooked 'al dente'. A classic dish done well.
Below: Chicken Teriyaki Don - I was most impressed with this dish and it fulfilled its role as a crowd-pleaser. The chicken was very tender, a slight crispness in the skin with a very light teriyaki sauce. The rice was a special chubby grain of rice which absorbed most of flavour without it being soggy.
All in all, a most delightful surprise is Sushi Bar Rashai - a little gem in the Camperdown/Annandale region. They are commited to accomodating families (free toy for good children under the age of 10 years), frequent diners cards and a free meal on your birthday (with the chance to win prizes). Very unconventional in this day and age but nevertheless enticing for the next visit!
They also had an intriguing dessert menu which we didn't get a chance to try including tempura banana, wasabi icecream just to name a few.
Give Sushi Bar Rashai a go - a fantastic variety of Japanese dishes at very resonable prices!