Saturday, 26 February 2011
Sushi, Sashimi, Sake and Cheese at Mamasan's Bondi
There’s something so wrong about ordering a cheese platter at an Asian Tapas restaurant that I go ahead and do it. To be fair, the platter has an Asian twist – along with the Jersey Brie there’s a generous slice of Taiwan Blue, a side of Wagu Beef and my favourite, the Wasabi Cheddar.
We're at Mamasan’s in Beach Road for a lazy Saturday lunch while reading the papers. It’s the ‘naughty little sister’ of Li Zai, which was upstairs on the Campbell Parade restaurant strip for six years, and enjoyed fabulous views of the beach to go along with Gemma’s deceitfully lethal cocktails, Asian Tapas and Yum-Cha.
The views are now of the Beach Road Hotel, which is across the road, and a few of the artifacts from Li Zai adorn the walls at Mamasan’s and some of the more popular dishes are still on the menu but the new place has a cozier vibe, which brings a winter crowd as well as a summer one.
The tables are made from recycled wooden railway sleepers and the quirky toys that help give the restaurant its charm – the lucky cats, Astro Boy, toy soldiers, bonsai in Oyster Sauce tins, and Godzilla who guards the Asahi beer tap – are collected by former advertising executive Adam Hunt, who runs/owns the bar with Gemma.
Bondi Curmudgeon scoffs at me for ordering cheese, but is happy to try them all, along with his oysters that come with flying fish roe drizzled in fresh grapefruit and lemon juice, and his sashimi platter of kingfish, tuna and salmon. We also order spicy edamame beans steamed with garlic and pepper and king prawn and mint spring rolls to start.
I wanted to go for a swim at the Icebergs after lunch (twist my arm and I'm at the Sydney Cellar Door Event in Hyde Park sampling wines instead) so I stick to water, letting Bondi Curmudgeon sample the extensive drinks menu for me.
As well as Sapporo, which is on tap along with Asahi, he had a small serving of cold sake, a.k.a. ‘The Drink of the Gods’. After my golf caddying days in Japan, where it was considered a national insult to turn down a cupful or five of sake, it’s not my idea of fun.
However, BC can’t get enough of the stuff, which comes from the fermentation of polished rice grains and pure water. At the waitress’s suggestion he tried Mountain Water, which he declared ‘awesome', promising to return on a Sunday afternoon to try the other nine on the menu while listening to live jazz.
PRICE FOR 2 (including drinks) $115
Over budget: $15
BC's verdict: "Sashimi, tender and fresh. Oysters, beautiful. Sake, awesome. Shame it's in Bondi, otherwise I'd be there a couple of times a week."