There are so many great eateries in Neutral Bay. I absolutely love Izakaya Samarai but recently I discovered a new Japanese BBQ Yakiniku eatery called Nikaido in Neutral Bay. The entry is not as obvious so keep an eye out for their sign as you walk up the stairs.
Owner and Chef Hitoshi Takagaki of Nikaido tells us all about his love of BBQ flavours. His restaurant is a mix of Japanese Restaurant and Yakiniku as you can order lots of other menu items from Nikaido as well.
MW and I start chatting about the week so far and our love of Japanese BBQ and Korean BBQ. Nikaido is new to the area and have these gorgeous smooth wooden booths. I sit down and check out their menu which is via ipad. It's a more efficient way of ordering.
I chuckle at the message that appears when I order wine below. My drinking tolerance is not great so I don't think it should be a problem.
Cheers to a lovely dinner. MW goes for a refreshing suntory beer. I go for a glass of pinot noir which looks generous. I secretly envy MW's choice as that suntory beer looks delicious.
I start ordering a few dishes off the ipad menu. You can choose the grade of meat that you want ranging from
"Beef Rib/fillet/loin, Special or Premium." On this particular night, MW and I go for the Special Beef loin ($15.90). It's delivered to the table in a beautiful rose formation. The meat is served up with a nice balance of fat (for the taste.. oh yeah when it sizzles).
We also order the pork rib ($10.90) which also comes in a lovely rose formation. I don't want to ruin the rose but we demolish the rose and we put the meat onto the BBQ heat.
The meat starts to sizzle and that smell starts to envelope your senses. You start really becoming hungry as you hear the meat sizzle. The meat cooks quite quickly. MW takes control of the tongs provided to turn over the meat.
Chef Hitoshi Takagaki also runs a ramen joint in Haymarket so it's no surprise elements sneak into his restaurant Nikaido. The sauce that accompanies the Japanese BBQ has a twist. There is ramen broth which adds a depth of flavour to the sauce. What a rare element.
MW and I take advantage of the extensive menu beyond the meat for the Japanese BBQ. We can't go past the gyoza ($7.90, 5 pcs). A good Japanese Gyoza has a crispy bottom, a thin skin and moist filling. Nikaido delivers the goods when it comes to the gyoza.
As a small side, I can't resist ordering the seaweed salad ($5.80). I wanted a cold, fresh element and this went quite well with the hot dishes that I ordered that night. So naturally as MW and I are big fans of fried chicken, we also order the chicken kaarage ($8.50) which I think is a decent portion.
The crispy skin is a match made in heaven with that mayonnaise and lightly dressed salad. Kaarage chicken is my favourite and I highly recommend ordering this dish.
Yuri, owner of Washoku Lovers also gives me a hot tip. She suggests to order the Spaghetti. She explains that this is a dish made from cooked spaghetti, ketchup then is fried up in a wok with bacon, capsicum and is topped with cheese. I've never heard of this dish before - it sounds more like a frat house snack than a Japanese dish. MW and I order this and it's an interesting mix. The ketchup is quite sweet, the bacon adds an element of saltiness.
MW and I finish off the meal with some dessert. While I'm tempted by the matcha chiffon cake, I decide on the original. The chiffon cake ($6.80) is fluffy, light and feels like a soft pillow. I highly recommend this dessert. We also order the dessert of the night which is a yuzu sorbet ($3.80). It's refreshing and I love the citrius yuzu flavours.
MW ops for a unique dessert that we've never tried - the shiratama cream anmitsu ($10.90). It consists of little mochi balls and is topped with red bean and mint. MW enjoys the soft and chewy mochis.
Summary: You should check out Nikaido. I really enjoyed the Japanese BBQ of sizzling meat which is absolutely delicious and I love the all the side dishes like gyoza and chicken kaarage.
Price: $40-50 per person
Location: 176 Military Rd, Neutral Bay
Tues to Sun: 5:30pm to 10pm
Weekend Food Escapes dined as guests of Washoku Lovers. All words, opinions and photos are my own.