Monday, May 21, 2012

Ichibandori: One crunchy bit of chicken

I think one thing Sydney can be thankful for (not traffic, house prices or weather lately) is the abundance of decent casual Japanese eateries. Many suburbs can now boast a little restaurant or two that turns out katsudon or teriyaki without hassle. Meanwhile, Neutral Bay almost has an overabundance.

Faced with a row of Japanese restaurants on the main road not far from the sprawling Oaks Hotel one evening, it was a little like choosing from clones. There was no particular reason that Ichibandori got our pick, but we were glad for the efficient and orderly delivery of dishes to the table.

Spicy fish salad from Ichibandori, Military Road, Neutral Bay
The spicy sashimi salad was a decent serving size of fresh mixed leaves, undressed, with a pile of spicily dressed salmon and tuna pieces topped with strands of nori seaweed.

I'm pretty sure the dressing was Korean gochujang chilli bean paste or similar, and it worked for the most part although it bordered on too spicy for my tastes.

Pan fried pork gyoza
I'm weak to the powers of temptation of dumplings quite generally, and these pork gyoza with crispy pan-fried bottoms were fairly excellent examples.

Most likely home made and not the frozen variety, these had deliciously juicy fillings of pork and cabbage and were only improved with the ponzu dipping sauce.

Salmon and avocado roll
I'm not sure if it was due to hunger, pre drinks or just not having had standard sushi types of late, but this was about the best salmon and avocado uramaki inside-out sushi roll I've had in ages.

The tobiko flying fish roe on top certainly helped the cause, but I think it was also the perfectly seasoned and not overly tightly packed rice that starred, as well as a squeeze of mayonnaise with the salmon and creamy, ripe avocado inside the roll.

Kushi-katsu
The choice of Ichibandori was taking an unexpectedly positive turn when I discovered perhaps the crunchiest kushikatsu (fried things on a stick) in Sydney. Even left for a few minutes beneath tonkatsu sauce, the audible crunch of the panko crumbed chicken on a stick was incredible.

Yakitori
The fantastic kushikatsu left the chicken yakitori wanting. Served with a teriyaki pepper sauce, the yakitori did taste like they were properly grilled but just showed no signs of caramelisation, let alone the naughtily pleasing black grilled bits, on the surface of the chicken.

With big ticks for the gyoza, sushi and kushikatsu, Ichibandori was a great pick out of the many, many Military Road options.

Ichibandori Japanese Bistro on Urbanspoon

12 comments:

chocolatesuze said...

mmm i do so very much love fried food on sticks

john@heneedsfood said...

You've gotta love a bit crunch when it comes to deep-fried chicken. I just wish there was at least one decent Japanese down on Newtown's King St south.

joey@FoodiePop said...

I just saw the words "crunchy" and "chicken" and I was hooked! Kushikatsu here I come! LOL

Vivian - vxdollface said...

haha i was about the write the same thing as suze! love fried things on a stick :3

Jacq said...

ooh for a second I thought they were corn dogs but fried chicken on a stick is even better!

Julie said...

how good does this look! really want that chicken on a stick >_< looks so good!

gaby @ lateraleating said...

I haven't had yakitori in a long time. A shame it wasn't that good.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

That's one thing I miss about living north side-the plethora of Japanese restaurants!

Tina said...

Hi suze - Fried foods generally? ;)

Hi John - I'm sure the time will come when the south shows the north what it's all about :)

Hi joey - Yup, fried chicken tends to have that effect, doesn't it?

Hi Vivian - I like marshmallows on sticks too, preferably on fire :D

Hi Jacq - Oooh, Japanese corn dogs! Bet you they would be awesome!

Hi Julie - Yeah, for a totally random impromptu dinner, we did well :)

Hi gaby - It seems to be one of those things that is oft copied but rarely what it should be...

Hi Lorraine - That is true... the east/southeast is a little lacking in casual Japanese.

Food is our religion said...

I always have a soft spot for meat on a skewer - can never say no!

Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said...

I have never understood the abudnace of casual Japanese eateries in Neutral Bay. Trust me, I've lived not too far from the area for the past 5 years and have still not managed to try them all!

Tina said...

Hi Food is our religion - Yeah, there is something about meat on a stick; perhaps convenience and yumminess!

Hi Rita - Lucky you!

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