Located a short bus ride away from Wynyard or Central station, Toshiya is the Japanese experience that you absolutely need. We sampled many dishes below specially prepared by the head chef Toshiya Kai. Toshiya-san did this intentionally to give us a greater experience, and ensure that we were able to sample Toshiya's signature dishes.
We decided to start the night off with some drinks. Christie had the Yuzu mocktail and Matt enjoyed his Aged Pale Ale from the Ishikawa Brewery in Fussa City, Japan. The ale was surprisingly smooth to drink, and didn't leave an aftertaste as many do. It went down like water, which is both a good and a bad thing I guess.
Salmon carpaccio with truffle oil
Yuri from Washoku Lovers would not let us leave the place without trying the Salmon carpaccio with truffle oil. You can choose to have your salmon with truffle oil or yuzu dressing, however the sound of truffle oil rings bells to my ears, so we agreed. This is not a dish to take lightly, the thinly sliced salmon simply melted in my mouth. The flavours worked really well together and Christie so selfishly finished this whole plate by herself.
The scallops were delicate, and cooked until golden brown, they broke apart with ease. However the real hero of the dish is the sauce that is drizzled on top of the scallop. That is because it takes 4 hours to create this sauce, reducing it from a mixture of balsamic vinegar, soy and red wine. It was an absolute honour to taste this sauce appreciating the effort involved. When no one was looking, we quickly licked the plate clean. This dish astounded us and we would highly recommend it!
What an interesting dish this was! Your mind automatically resets to Mexican food when thinking of tacos, so before it was delivered to the table, it was a dish that could not be comprehended. The taco shells were made from gyoza skin and the assorted sashimi was carefully packed inside. We would also like to note that the sashimi was fresh, really fresh. The flavours of the sashimi contributed the the satisfaction of this dish.
Special Beef Tataki
Normally we would stay far away from raw beef, the thought of eating it doesn't provide any satisfaction to us whatsoever. However we were being adventurous tonight and gave it a try. To our surprise it was quite enjoyable. The chilli coriander sauce had lemon drizzled over the top which helped semi-cook the beef and gave it a strong flavour hit to get our minds off the fact that it was raw beef. If you don't think about it, the dish itself was great. If you love raw beef then we highly recommend tasting this dish.
Miso Wagyu Beef Japanese houba leaf
When this dish arrived at our table, all eyes were on us. I think it even started a trend as we saw another table order it straight after us. Not only does it look aesthetically pleasing to the eye, it almost looks like it should remain on the houba leaf untouched, but the Wagyu Beef was a quality cut of beef. and tasted amazing. It was marinated in a miso dressing and served with mushrooms to give it a combination of textures.
Tempura sushi with scallops
We have tried tempura sushi before, but not like this. Not only were the filling ingredients lightly battered, but the whole sushi itself was engulfed in a tempura batter and fried to crunchy expectations. This set a new standard for tempura sushi for us. The scallop inside was just as enjoyable as the scallops previously mentioned, and the shallot tartare sauce with flying fish roe and shiso-soy provided that extra flavour to the sushi.
Seared Salmon Roll
The presentation was beautiful, each sushi had a designated place on the plate. The mayonnaise and sweet-miso sauce was evenly piped out onto the plate to give both a sound foundation of flavour, but also a neat little pattern to add to the appeal of the sushi. Matt normally doesn't enjoy salmon, but this was different. We ended up fighting for the last piece!
Grilled Salmon Wrapped Prosciutto
Honestly, Japanese food never disappoints with presentation. This dish was as pretty as a picture. The salmon was grilled to perfection where the inside of the salmon was still pink. The interesting thing about this dish was the miso hollandaise sauce. Matt and I were scratching our heads trying to work out what the sauce was. It worked nicely with the salmon and proscuitto by introducing the creamy texture.
Spicy Volcano Roll
Don't fall into the trap thinking "how spicy can it be". The wasabi is there to fool you into a false reality and misleading you to further burn your mouth as we did. But wow it was worth it! If you haven't already clued on, this sushi roll is VERY SPICY. The sauce is the trouble maker, so make sure to soak it all up haha!! The giant prawn you see showing it's tail amongst the top of the mountain of sushi was fried in tempura batter. It made a loud crunch every time you bit into the sushi roll. While it wasn't any different to the volcano rolls you might try at your local Japanese restaurant, the difference was the sauce. It was the winner by K.O.
Wagyu Beef Steak
The words "Wagyu Beef" for Matt is like hearing "Christmas Day" for little children. Matt thrives off Wagyu and savours every chance he can get to experience a great cut of Wagyu steak. Then the chef brought out a Rare Beef Steak with ponzu sauce and Toshiya’s special steak sauce. Once again, we don't enjoy rare beef much at all, our preference would have been slightly more cooked to a medium. That said, Matt did not let that stand in his way of Wagyu Beef and annihilated the whole dish. The special Toshiya sauce really helped, it was AMAZING. Each piece of steak was completely soaked with this sauce prior to eating it, we wish we had the recipe!
Assorted Dessert Plate
This dessert plate has a mixture of all the desserts on offer at Toshiya. We were given the opportunity to taste the chocolate spring rolls, black sesame ice cream and green tea creme brulee. The chocolate spring rolls contained dark chocolate and strawberries, wrapped inside spring roll sheets and deep fried. It was SUPER sweet and yet the oily pastry made it one of our favourite desserts. This followed with the green tea creme brulee. The caramel surface was perfectly hardened and cracked so easily with the spoon. It had a strong taste of green tea, so if you don't like the flavour then it is best not to order this dessert. Lastly the black sesame ice cream. Black sesame can be an acquired taste but for Christie, it brings back childhood memories (black sesame candy for new year), so she licked the bowl clean! The dessert plate was the perfect way to end the night.
You also receive a discount with the assorted dessert plate when you join Washoku Lovers.
We are going to have to make the journey back to Cremorne some time soon. There are still many other choices on the menu which we are dying to taste! A very big thank you to Chef Toshiya-san for taking care of us tonight. We feel so privileged to have tasted your amazing food, see your passion for Japanese food and cannot wait to visit again.