Restaurant and food reviews from Perth, Australia

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Toraya Sushi, Subiaco

There seems to be an abundance of Japanese restaurants in Perth, enough so one has to attempt to separate those that offer something to make it stand out.  Whether it be the quality, value for money, or innovative dishes, these are some of the things I look for to help me decide whether the meal was a good experience - even if it was a experience I would probably only try once!

Recently I had a dinner at Toraya Sushi - a place that I would say offered some different or unusual variations on common dishes or elements to at least make the meal interesting.  Although this was a dinner, Toraya Sushi seems to be more known as a lunch venue - and its trading hours seem to confirm this.

For dinner Toraya Sushi's atmosphere is a little strange for the dinner scene.  The warm dim lighting seems a little awkward given the lunchbar-like feel of the decor and tiled floor.  However, balancing that out, the service I received was friendly and helpful and seeing Japanese patrons eating there was encouraging.

For dinner, Toraya Sushi had two menus to order from - the normal menu and a separate page of specials.  The dishes are focused on share dishes, where you can choose a variety of Japanese dishes from sushi to tempura.  Accompanying the food is a drinks menu offering beer, wine and a selection of Japanese spirits.

Rainbow Roll - $16.00

Nicely presented, the rainbow roll was presumably named as such due to each piece of sushi containing all of raw tuna, raw salmon, prawn, crab stick, avocado and cucumber.

Though the inverted sushi rolls (i.e. seaweed inside and rice showing on the outside) were well prepared with the different taste elements combining together, I felt the rice was a little under-seasoned for my liking.  If it wasn't for the four different bits of seafood combined into this sushi, I would have thought it nothing special.

Wagyu Tataki - $16.00

One of the specials for the night was the wagyu tataki.  Although keeping to the main elements of a tataki, this version didn't do much for me.  Although the wagyu was seared well, leaving a good rare layer inside, I found the wagyu to be a bit chewy.

The ponzu "sauce" that dressed the wagyu was a jelly that seemed to have the acidic, salty and sweet flavours you expect from sauce served with tataki.  However, after tasting it, it had me wanting for a traditionally prepared sauce instead.  Sure it meant you could easily combine it with the beef in a mouthful, however I felt the cold jelly texture didn't do it justice.

Cheese Tempura - $8.00

Even though I have eaten tempura seafood and vegetables before, I wasn't sure what to expect of tempura cheese.  The cheese component of the cheese tempura was a soft, stretchy cheese.  Deep frying the stretchy cheese with a light crispy batter was a treat.  I'm happy I tried it.

The cheese tempura was placed into a bowl of thin sauce that tasted like a salty, lightly sweet and strong stock (as it does with many tempura that come with sauce) rich in flavours including dashi (a type of fish stock), salty soy, and a small amount of mirin sweetness.

Mixed Seafood Marinade - $11.00

Octopus, salmon and tempura prawns with a spicy mayonnaise

First up, the diced octopus was tender and mixed with a small amount of Japanese mayonnaise.  The mayonnaise gave the octopus a light creamy taste but was otherwise relatively subtle in taste.

In the middle of the tray, a chilli-spicy mayonnaise was mixed into a few tempura prawns.  The prawns were crunchy, the level of spice in the mayonnaise moderate but definitely enough for you to notice, but combining them did make some of the tempura batter soggy.

Lastly, diced raw salmon was mixed into a similar chilli-mayonnaise sauce.  As to be expected, the Japanese mayonnaise blended perfectly to add its creamy texture to the sashimi grade salmon.  All up, as much as I like raw fish, I enjoyed the spicy raw salmon salad.

Ginger Brulee - $11.00

Rich and creamy, the lightly ginger flavoured brulee was served cold with a freshly hardened caramel top.  The caramel top was quite a thick layer, requiring a bit of effort to crack through in order to get to the creamy brulee underneath.  On top of the caramel was some simple vanilla ice cream (that had started to melt from the still warm caramel layer) and a couple of blueberries.
As a brulee, I quite enjoyed the light ginger taste running through the cream and egg taste of the brulee.  Though not as creamy as some other creme brulees I have had at some other nice establishments, the ginger taste kept the dessert from feeling too heavy and the thick caramel layer added a nice texture and sweetness.

We liked:  The different approach to dishes - such as the cheese tempura or changing the common brulee by adding ginger.

We didn't like:  The venue is a little lunch-bar like with tiled floors; some dishes were hit and miss

Other things to note: Licensed with Japanese alcohol available; dine in or takeaway

Toraya Sushi
Shop 8, Subiaco Square
29 Station Street
(08) 9382 4433

Trading Hours
Lunch - 7 days
Dinner - Thursday to Saturday
Toraya Sushi on Urbanspoon

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