Thursday, 17 January 2013

Toraya Japanese Restaurant, Chatswood

My parents (mostly my dad) go to Toraya on a regular basis as it is local and has reasonable Japanese food to their (his) liking! I hadn't been for a while so I was surprised to see they had a weekly specials menu and also dinner banquets. On the table were also various lunch specials, such as a complimentary gyoza if you order a beer before a certain time. I guess in this day and age, a restaurant needs to expand in order to attract new customers in new and creative ways. So for that, I give kudos to Toraya!

Toraya is located in the corner of the food court in the Mandarin Centre. But once you step inside the restaurant it's not at all noticeable! Dad and I aren't too hungry this evening so we decide to not go too crazy with the ordering. He highly recommends the Kimchi Nabe ($12.80), which Mum has attempted to make at home which I wouldn't mind trying to original inspiration. We also settle on the Sushi & Sashimi Deluxe ($22.00). Dad gets his beer, Crown Lager ($7.00). After our order is taken we are each given a complimentary little dish of seaweed salad. A bit lukewarm but definitely stimulates and refreshes the tastebuds, ready for the meal! 

Weekly Specials menu

Dinner banquets
Sushi & Sashimi Deluxe, $22.00

The sushi & sashimi deluxe arrives and is quite the platter! I've never been a fan of room temperature sashimi so this was a bit of a miss in this dish. It was a pity because the salmon is lovely and fatty which gave it sweetness. I don't usually like tuna as it can often have a rough texture and an almost sour aftertaste on the palette. But Toraya's tuna isn't bad and is pleasant to eat. There was no lemon to squeeze over the oyster so I ask the waitress who kindly gives Dad a big wedge. The small sushi rolls are good, but since Dad and I were sharing, we only got one each! All the pieces of nigri sushi are made well and had the appropriate amount of fish over the rice (often pieces of fish do not entirely blanket the sushi rice and gracefully fall to the plate at each end). Dad knows I enjoy sushi and sashimi so he lets me eat most of it, which I accept without any resistance.

Kimchi Nabe, $12.50

The kimchi nabe came out in the small hot pot as promised. There was no doubt it was made with a large amount of kimchi as the soup was bright red and had the heat and vinegary taste from the spicy preserved cabbage. The soup is spicy enough that it’s palatable but the kimchi itself is so spicy that I have to eat it with gulps of water from my glass in between mouthfuls. The hotpot has two cubes of tofu but I think it could have done with more because it goes so well with the soup. 

As we dive deeper into the hot pot we discover pieces of salmon and chicken, which explains why the soup is so sweet and not just spicy. Even though it was a great surprise to have, for the sake of vegetarians, it would have been better if they had indicated on the menu exactly what was in it. There was still lots of soup left as we divided contents of the hotpot between the two of us so I suggested we do what Koreans would do: have a bowl of rice and eat it with the soup like congee. And that's exactly what we did! 
Rice, $2.50
As usual, we left full, satisfied and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Great portions for reasonable prices, which is why we go back so often! Even the waitresses and the manager recognise my dad... Yet another good meal, no complaints here! 

Toraya Japanese Restaurant
212, Mandarin Centre
61-65 Albert Avenue, Chatswood

9884 9620

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