Having not been to one of my favourite Japanese places in a while, I walked in expecting the usual layout and menu to be exactly the same as it always was. This explains how I was a bit taken back when I was confronted with a new modern décor, the first of signs that Musashi was under new management. Lining the walls were booths which were also set up in the middle, looking a lot more comforting and inviting. In contrast, hanging from the ceilings and embellishing the walls were Japaneses styled decorations and paintings, showing the new style of a blend between Japanese and Western cuisine, illustrated further through the menu.
A fusion between Japanese and Western culture
Upon being presented with the menu, I was fairly disappointed with what was offered. In comparison to the old menu, the menu was very limited with, as a few people noticed, not even one sushi dish available; something almost unheard of in a Japanese cuisine restaurant.
Crunch salad. While it was a nice and delicate entrée, it was nothing special.
We ordered the endaname beans ($5) to share among our party. Between the choice of salted and spicy (we chose salted), it was a light appetiser that didn’t fill you up too much, and we chose to order another.
My next dish was the vegetable croquette ($6) which was listed under the chef’s special menu. It contained three pieces and plum sauce. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Cutting thrugh the outer layer that was deep fried to the soft inside that contained potato and vegetables; it was a great juxtaposition between the two textures that combined to make a delicious and tasty treat. The sauce, if applied lightly as too much would be too overpowering, enriched the flavours and was a great addition. Despite the fact that this dish, as well as the entrees, was filling me up; I had to resist the temptation to order another one as it was a delight to eat.
Agedashi tofu, silky smooth and delicate.
The Agedashi Tofu ($16) was soft and silky smooth. It just slid down your throat. Accompanying it was vegetable tempura, which had a beautiful light batter and crispy exterior that was a great contrast to the tofu.
Popcorn Prawn. Beautiful. Prawns were succulent with a crispy outing, and the mayo was creamy.
Blacked Beef Tataki Carpaccio
The Blacked Beef Tataki Carpaccio ($14) contained wagyu beef and a salad. The Wagyu just melted in your mouth, and was lean cut while the beautiful, crunchy pear salad helped balanced the dish. In one dish, there was a variety of different textures that worked well together, and the dressing wasn’t overpowering but rather enhanced the dish.
Not like your usual Chicken Teriyaki
The Crispy Chicken Teriyaki Set ($14) was our next dish. It was different from the typical teriyaki dishes you'll find in most japanese restaurants, as the chicken was extremely moist and succulent. The skin was beautiful and crispy while the teriyaki sauce balanced the dish well.
Squid tempura was very tender. The mayo was creamy and tangy.
Wagyu Inside Skirt
The Wagyu just melted in your mouth, and was thinly sliced on a bed of creamy mashed potato. While the sauce was sweet, it was maybe a little bit too sweet, but overall, it was tasty and satisfying.
The Grilled Octopus ($14) was very good and delicious. Both the octopus and the salad was fresh, but the dressing was the highlight of the dish which enriched the already tasty flavours of the meal, and resulted in a succulent, flavoursome dish.
One word to describe the Sashimi of the day ($16) would be fresh. All 12 pieces were cut thickly, with great portions, and the Oysters were quite large. Musashi provided us with great, moist seafood that we would definitely try again.
12 pieces of fish
While my initial reaction upon entering Musashi, a once all time favourite of mine was disappointment; this feeling was quickly rectified. Through their attempt in reinventing themselves, I found the service friendlier, and the manager was joyous as he interacted with the customers throughout the night; something that you don't see very often in restaurants nowadays. The new menu which offered a fusion of Japanese and Western dishes was different and exciting, and deviated from the abundance of traditional Japanese restaurants. While the menu was limited, their decision to specialise in the small amount that they had to offer enabled them to perfect their dishes; especially as the quality of our meals was consistently high throughout the night. In future, if they added a few more sushi dishes that I think the majority of people would crave, Musashi will continue to thrive under this new management, which is already off to great start.
Where: 5/447 Pitt Street Sydney NSW
Why: A blend of Japanese and Westernised dishes
Cost: Our meal equated to $149 (excluding drinks)
When: Open 7 days, however bookings on weekends is advised.