There are several Japanese restaurants situated in Eastwood, but there's only one my boyfriend and his family regularly go to. We went to that restaurant on a Saturday night without calling, only to find that it was closed, so we unfortunately had to rethink our dining options.
Street-view of Sakae on Rowe Street in Eastwood
His sister had suggested that we go to Sakae instead, so off we went. Sakae is a Japanese restaurant chain with several locations throughout Sydney. In addition to the Eastwood restaurant, they also have restaurants in Marrickville and the city. Sakae at Eastwood is a small restaurant with a mostly wooden interior. They usually have outdoor seating, but as it was particularly cold and windy on this night, they had removed the option of outdoor seating.
The four of us were rather hungry, therefore we didn't take long to order. My boyfriend's family have a number of staple dishes that they always order at Japanese restaurants including yakisoba, sashimi, and hwe dup bup, which is what they also ordered that night, in addition to some other dishes. Straight after we'd ordered, the waitress brought four small plates of complimentary edamame to our table.
Entree of Beef Tataki ($10.80)
The first dish of the evening was the Beef Tataki ($10.80). It included several thinly sliced pieces of very rare beef that had a slightly crisp edge. The thinly sliced beef tataki was garnished with a generous heaping of onions and shallots, and drenched with ponzu sauce. We used the wedge of lemon that had been provided to heighten the acidic flavour of the ponzu sauce. The beef tataki was served cool, and was a refreshing starter.
The Sashimi Main ($17.80) was the next dish to be served. It contained an array of raw fish ranging from salmon, tuna, kingfish, scallop, mackerel and ark-shell. The quality of the sashimi was acceptable, but wasn't the freshest.
The Seafood Yakisoba was easily my favourite dish of the evening. Although I've never been a fan of the fried udon dish; Sakae's version was delicious and packed with flavour. The katsuobushi topping was also a really nice addition. The udon noodles were thick and chewy, and the sauce they had used to cook them was quite tasty.
Aburi Salmon Avo Roll
The Salmon Aburi Roll was one of the various sushi offerings at Sakae. The salmon on the top of the roll was lightly seared and drizzled with a sweet sauce and mayonnaise, and topped with fish roe. Salmon and avocado is a winning combination every time. This was also one of the better dishes of the evening.
Spicy Sashimi Don
The Spicy Sashimi Don at Sakae is pretty much their version of a classic Korean dish known as hwe dup bap. Hwe dup bap is presented in an identical style to the Spicy Sashimi Don, but it generally doesn't include the bright yellow pieces of pickled ginger. Hwe dup bap also usually includes the addition of sesame oil, which the Spicy Sashimi Don lacked. I felt that the addition of sesame oil could have added some much needed moisture to the slightly dry rice. Other than that, the serving of sashimi was also rather sparing given the amount of rice in the bowl.
Sakae is a restaurant that I've been to a few times when the craving for Japanese cuisine strikes me, but I probably wouldn't go out of my way to eat at this place again. The prices are quite cheap, but I find the food very average and think that there are several Japanese restaurants of better quality in and around this area.
Where: 138 Rowe Street Eastwood NSW
Why: Affordable Japanese food
Cost: Under $20 for mains
When: Lunch and dinner seven days a week