Restaurant and food reviews from Perth, Australia

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ayami Japanese Restaurant, Northbridge

Ayami Perth review; Ayami Japanese restaurant Perth review; Ayami Northbridge review
Excellent.  That pretty much sums up Ayami’s food.  Started up by renowned sushi chef Kengo Omori, I was fortunate enough to go to Ayami’s much anticipated opening night.  Having previously been impressed with sushi prepared by Kengo Omori I was eagerly anticipating Ayami’s opening and, although Ayami is more than just a sushi restaurant, its sushi menu.  Ayami did not disappoint.

Interior of Ayami Japanese Restaurant in Northbridge

Ayami is situated opposite Russell Square in Northbridge. Inside, the restaurant has good table dining as well as some sushi bar seating giving it a nice relaxed feel.  The staff are also friendly and courteous.

Part of the sushi bar

Reading the menu supports the authentic Japanese nature of the restaurant with a la carte selections and entrees along with sushi and sashimi.  The a la carte part of the menu contains dishes such as tempura, deep fried fish, and traditional Japanese noodles with an average price range of $10-20.  Sushi and sashimi is available by the dish or in pre-determined combinations.

Kengo Omori preparing sushi and sashimi

As sushi/sashimi chef, Kengo Omori brings his extensive and famed experience to Ayami.  Kengo Omori’s name is also well known in Japanese circles as evident by the large amount of Japanese patrons, and the opening gifts and wishes from various distinguished Japanese businesses and people.  Surely, if lots of Japanese people eat there, it must be good?

All sushi and sashimi is expertly prepared at the open sushi bar by Kengo Omori, and it shows.  Overall, the rice in the sushi is cooked just right; is flavoursome with the right amount of sweet and vinegar tastes; has the right texture and consistency; and is pressed firmly but not squashed – thus holding its shape very well when you pick it up (I tend to get a bit disappointed with sushi that breaks apart) whilst retaining the right texture.  Definitely two steps (or more) ahead of your kaiten (sushi train) and common sushi places.

Ayami also has a kitchen that is situated behind the sushi bar that prepares the other food on the menu.

Tataki beef - $12.50

The Tataki beef was lightly seared sirloin, sliced very thinly and mixed with a ponzu citrus sauce.  The beef tasted very fresh and was cooked and cut so that it was very tender and had a soft texture.  The citron ponzu sauce added a nice flavour and right amount of acidity to the beef.

To accompany the Tataki beef, there was a side serving of salad which included gourmet lettuce, red capsicum, and red onion dressed with a light Japanese style vinaigrette that complimented the taste of the tataki beef well.

The dish was then garnished with sesame seeds, spring onion, parsley and fresh lemon.

Sushi and sashimi mix for two - $85

This dish comes served in a large Japanese sushi plate and consists of a large variety of freshly selected sushi and sashimi of the day and can include tuna, salmon, snapper, mackerel, squid and octopus in sushi and sashimi form, prawn sushi, scallop sashimi, tobiko (flying fish roe) or salmon roe gunkan, california rolls, tuna and salmon hosomaki rolls, tamago (omelette), various gourmet seaweed, freshly pickled ginger, and lots of wasabi .  The dish is quite pleasant to look at being decoratively presented with all the different colour and texture combinations.  As the wait person places the dish, they take the time to tell you what every item on the plate is.

Salmon and tuna nigiri (good cuts with lots of healthy good fat lines)

All the ingredients and especially the fish were very fresh, of a good quality, and well prepared.  Even the seaweed and pickled ginger tasted very fresh.  The sushi were of a consistent quality, the fish was cut with precision, and the overall dish offered a good combination and variety of flavours to impress.  The tuna sashimi in particular was a fatty tuna which gives it a softer texture and more flavour and given the good fats in fish is better for you too.

California rolls

The texture of the sushi rolls (and in particular the California roll) when you bite into it was just about melt in your mouth.  Combined with the flavours in the fresh ingredients and seasoned rice, I have yet to try a California roll (or Tobiko roll) made by anyone else in Perth that tastes like this.

Tuna sashimi (a tastier and fattier part of tuna that is good for you)

The dish with the generous amounts of raw fish had lots of variety and taste combinations, and was quite satisfying.

Nigiri Ayami - $35

This was the main course sized nigiri sushi dish and contained a wide selection of nigiri sushi including snapper, salmon, tuna, prawns, mackerel, octopus, lightly cooked and marinated salmon, eel, scallop, flying fish roe, salmon roe sushi, and a block of tamago (omelette) and pickled ginger.

Eel nigiri

This dish felt like an exciting degustation of fresh nigiri sushi.

Mixed sashimi - $35

This was the main course sized sashimi dish and contained a wide selection of sashimi including salmon, tuna, snapper, scallops, mackerel, and octopus.

Similar to every other piece of fish served, the fish was very fresh and sliced very well.  In particular, I like how they use the fattier and tastier tuna in the sashimi (which also costs more than your normal tuna).

Miso soup - $3.50

The miso soup tasted different to your ‘common’ miso soup that many Japanese restaurants offer and in fact tasted more complex with its subtle flavour.  Even so, the combination of the miso soup with the tofu and seaweed had a distinct miso soup taste and was not salty giving it a lighter and yet subtly tastier feel.  Overall, in comparison to many other miso soups, this got the thumbs up from us.

In summary, Ayami Northbridge makes some excellent Japanese food and has a distinctly traditional Japanese feel throughout.  The sushi and sashimi in particular is worthy of note.

Points to note: The sushi is expertly hand made by Kengo Omori, an award winning sushi chef.  The food is of excellent quality and freshness, and traditional Japanese.  Located in a slightly quieter part of Northbridge (opposite Russell Square), Ayami Japanese restaurant is currently BYO as they are awaiting their liquor license which they are expecting around May/June 2010.

Go for:  Top notch sushi, sashimi and Japanese food at a good price for what you get.

Ayami Japanese Restaurant
Shop 2, 182 James Street
Northbridge WA 6003
(08) 9328 2525

Trading Hours
Monday to Saturday: 6pm to 10pm

Ayami Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon
Ayami Perth review; Ayami Perth blog; Ayami Japanese Restaurant review blog; Ayami Northbridge review


Steve said...

Food looks great; I want to try it!

Adrian (The Editor) said...

It's definitely top quality traditional Japanese sushi in my opinion. And given most people here probably eat pre-made sushi packs and/or kaiten it's just no comparison.

Jo Serwey said...

Wow.. this is super nice!
I'm gonna try it tonite!

Derek said...

Sushi and Sashimi platter for two is the bomb. Fresh and tasty we were fighting over who has what. Best I have had in Perth!

Adrian (The Editor) said...

Hi Derek

Yeah I like to order that a lot as it's great value and a great mix.

Lately though I have been trying to omakase sushi which is similar to the nigiri ayami dish. Omori-san tells me that the cut on the omakase is different to produce a different taste. I have noticed that it is thinner and longer and does seem to draw out the delicacy of the fish taste more.