Hi guys, your Style Editor accompanied the effervescent Deb Carr (the famous Dry Julyer with the great hair and the recovered waistline - yes thats her) to an amazing bloggers lunch event last Sunday in Double Bay to preview and taste the new menu at Niji!
It was a cold wintery afternoon in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs but the action and the crowd inside this stylish little Japanese fine diner was anything but cool! The who's who of Sydney's lifestyle and food bloggers were in attendance and were treated to an 8 course sample degustation of some of the exciting new dishes and flavours on the Niji menu…
Niji means ‘rainbow’ in Japanese and refers to the venue’s colourful approach, combining inspiration from Izakaya cuisine with eclectic street sake shops in Japan. And this colour and flair is delivered in true style with every plate offering something innovative, with a distinct modern skew on traditional orient flavours.
It's no surprise to learn that the restaurant boasts a chefing team hand picked from some of Sydney's best establishments including Toko and Flying Fish. What we experienced was certainly gastronomically an exciting array of flavours and dishes but what really got my attention is the style and the presentation of the food in this place!
They're certainly warding off the winter chills when they arrived at our table with a flaming maki roll, a signature dish on its new menu that is literally set on fire. The showstopper is ignited at the table and dies down to a warm caramelisation on the surface of the salmon encasing the filling.
The rest of the menu features Niji’s signature innovative style with dishes like the ‘Hokkaido Scallops’ with caramelised miso butter, white truffle oil and avocado puree and the ‘Wagyu Beef Cheeks’ with soy dashi glaze, fermented vegetable and fried okra.
The menu to me is ideal for sharing which is exactly what Deb and I did. Whilst we didn't both love every single dish, we had our favourites and by dining in this way it was a wonderful opportunity to sample things we'd never tried before or at least prepared in a way we hadn't seen which was challenging and exciting. The food was light, clean and fresh! Every garnish and every piece of food on the plate had its place and was delicately combined with the other elements to create something unique and indeed something stylish.
The presentation of the food was outstanding! This is a restaurant the clearly values the importance of "style on a plate". The serving ware was beautiful and as exciting as the flavours presented, which created what was to me a very special and exclusive dining experience. See photos here including a divine blue plate that I (unsuccessfully) tried to convince Deb to pop under her trench when we were leaving.
Niji is open Tuesday to Sunday for lunch and dinner in Bay Street, Double Bay just around the corner from my Franck Provost hair salon on New South Head Rd. Whilst the prices may mean that it won't be my once a week Japenese go-to restaurant, its certainly a venue I'll visit again soon and its an ideal place to take someone when you really want to impress them with sheer style food!