Friday, 5 August 2011


Shop 20 World Square Shopping Centre
644 George Street

Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9283 9686

Category: Cheapo ($0 - $50)

Welcome to Masuya’s 4th installment of its Japanese assault on Sydney. Needless to say it has already built an already enviable empire with its 'holy trinity' of Masuya, Musashi and Makoto. With simple diverse style Japanese, Sushi Bar, and up-market Japanese cuisine covered, owner Ken Sadamatsu enters the world of Teishoku style dining. Basically, this type of cuisine involves a main, rice, miso soup and some additional side dishes all rolled into one order.

Personally, I am not that big a fan of this particular style food. It is a little minimalistic for me, the main dish is never really a main dish (I think it is a little small), your side dishes are tiny and unlike Korean restaurants, there are no free top ups. Your dessert can also be finished in about one mouthful. Not exactly my idea of a 'meal'.

However, it seems to be popular enough so we decide to give it a wiz. The philosophy behind the restaurant is about organic produce, along with healthy and nutritious eating; which I find slightly ironic considering its number one best seller is the deep fried Tonkatsu pork.

None the less, the décor is simple and easy on the eyes. Light greens, pine-coloured woods and white give the place a sense of lightness, which is what I assume they are going for given they are pushing the whole 'healthy image'. The drinks menu further reflects their pursuit of striving towards healthy drinking, with some more ‘greener’ options… literally. I won’t spoil the surprises so be sure to check it out.

On to the main menu… well, there are really not that many options. When you order one thing, you generally order your meal. It is not like a fine dining restaurant where there are only 12 options all up, however this is not the classic large scale menu that we expect to see from Ken's previous endeavours. There is not much sharing either, given each dish is really tailored for one, again a stark contrast to the other three establishments.  

To the actual food however, the highly recommended pork tonkatsu is actually not too bad. I personally would have liked mine a little crispier, lighter and with a little more colour (it was more a light brown as oppose to golden) but they cut generous chunky pieces that make you feel like you are really getting a good bit of meat each time you chomp into the juicy, and well cooked succulent pork.

The support acts however lack effort, punch and real taste. One of mine were three pieces of steamed pumpkin, it wasn't even seasoned! The minature coleslaw was ok however it all seemed a little dull and boring to me. The miso soup is fine, clean, refined and thankfully does not taste of MSG, and surprisingly the little dessert provided was actually quite special. Looking more like yoghurt, you get a nice surprise when the smooth, creamy texture hits the tongue. It’s like an ice-cream but not as cold, think a thick soy yoghurt but creamier and smoother.  

Overall I think this type of cuisine has its appeal. You get everything in one order; rice, main dish, soup, some side dishes and a dessert... who could ask for more? If you are feeling peckish, or do not want anyone picking at your food, this is not a bad place to go.

For me, I would go to a Korean restaurant, order a main, rice and get unlimited side dishes instead, and I personally see this type of cuisine more as an up-market version of your standard Korean restaurant. The servings are smaller, the side dishes are not as good but the quality in the main dish is definitely there. On top of this, it is very clean, the service is good not great, and like all of the Masuya groups creations, is already a success.

I thoroughly believe Musashi is still bar far its best dining experience and restaurant, however considering Sydney has little in the way of Teishoku style eating this is not a bad attempt. Would I return… actually… yes, I would.  
Bottom line:
$25 per head should cover most things on the menu, and unless you are really hungry you won’t need to order additional side.  

Food                                       6/10
Cleanliness                           2/2
Value                                      2/3
BONUS                                   1.5/2 (The drinks, dessert and overall concept of Teishoku style food is good)

NB. I have taken out service & décor as a score for the 'Cheapo' category as the 2 are not relevant, nor to me dramatically important as it is all about value(hence it has been added), and quality and less about the overall dining experience. So effectively it scores 12/17, however for consistency I have re - calculated to reflect a score out of 20
Total                                       13.5/20

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