Birthday dinner at Tsuruya

September 22, 2015

Celebrating Michael’s 36th birthday with a special night out! After much anticipation, we drove down to Capricorn Resort Yeppoon for our 6:30pm dinner reservation at Tsuruya Japanese Restaurant.

From their website:

Indulge yourself in the authentic, personalised interactive table cooking and tradition of the exquisite and delicate flavours of Japanese cuisine. Tsuruya also features a Sushi Bar for made to order sushi rolls and the freshest local seafood sashimi prepared right in front of your eyes.

We were greeted at the entrance on arrival and shown to our table. Happy to find that they had given us a table in a corner by the window, a little quieter and more private. The female servers were dressed in nice kimonos which added to the ambiance of the restaurant.

How cute are the place settings? The kimono napkins were a nice touch!

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The birthday boy!

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Didn’t expect the restaurant to be very busy on a Tuesday night during down season, but surprisingly it was! Lots of families with young children throughout the evening.

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Chef at the sushi bar, keeping an eye out on his guests 😛

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After perusing the menu, we finally decided on some sets.

Michael chose Sushi (C) Course ($69.50) which included the following:

  • Appetiser
  • Dobin Mushi
  • Steak ‘Japanese style’
  • Assorted Sushi

I decided on Sushi (B) Course ($59.50) which included the following:

  • Appetiser
  • Ebi Shinjoh Age
  • Dobin Mushi
  • Chawan Mushi
  • Yakitori
  • Assorted Sushi

Our appetiser Gyu Sashimi – Raw beef thinly sliced and served cold with a vinegar flavoured soy. We had never had anything like this before, very refreshing taste!

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With the above appetiser, I also received my Ebi Shinjoh Age – Deep fried prawn & fish cake. Nice that there were 2 pieces so I could could share one with Mike! A little on the dark side from frying but good flavours and a nice chewy texture.

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Sitting by the window, we saw a kangaroo come by for a graze on the lawn!

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Our next course – soups!

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Both Michael and I received Dobin Mushi – Seafood, chicken and mushrooms in a clear soup served in a traditional Japanese pot. Absolutely loved the presentation. Served in a teapot, we were instructed to add a bit of lemon juice and pour the broth into the teacup to slowly enjoy. The broth was clear and so incredibly intense in flavour! Also lovely to eat all the morsels of seafood at the bottom of your pot as well.

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My set came with a second soup – Chawan Mushi – seafood, chicken and vegetables cooked in a hot savory egg custard. Extremely delicate, silky and delicious, never had anything like it!

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Onto our meat dishes!

For me, Yakitori – pieces of chicken and onion on bamboo skewers with homemade BBQ sauce. Chicken was super tender and well flavoured. Loved this! Again, the portion was large enough to share with Michael, which was nice!

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Michael’s steak came with a hot stone that allowed him to further cook the steak at his seat, it also came with a light dipping sauce. The steak was tender but served a little overcooked (to his liking) since you’re supposed to cook it more, and a little under seasoned, even with the dipping sauce.

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And finally, our assorted sushi box! Beautifully presented with a mix of scallop, prawn, eel, and fish – with a side of ginger and wasabi. We have heard raves of how fresh the fish is at Tsuruya, but unfortunately for us, we didn’t find the same that night. Some pieces were better than others, but certainly not the buttery textures we were expecting!

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Overall a lovely night out for the birthday boy with some incredibly tasty food! (Except for the sushi unfortunately…) Also great value for money and we look forward to coming back to try the lunch menu 🙂

Sono Japanese Restaurant for Amanda’s 22nd Birthday!

Thanks to Kee Ping for organising the surprise birthday party for Amanda on Saturday, June 16th! We had the private function room at Sono Japanese Restaurant with 17 people altogether.

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The privacy of the room was pretty nice, although I wish the 2 tables weren’t so segregated. Unfortunately, it was impossible to facilitate conversation between both tables at the same time. Service was very friendly, the servers wore lovely Kimino outfits and were very accommodating. Even though we were in a closed room, we weren’t forgotten and constantly checked upon.

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The food, however, was quite expensive and dishes were hit-or-miss. Some people were quite happy with their dishes but others found theirs lackluster.

Here were a handful of dishes at my table:

Ebi (prawn) Tempura. Delicious, but expensive at $15 for 3 prawns.

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Unagi (eel) Kabayaki ($28) – thick cuts and very flavourful!

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Soft Shell Crab with Shiso Salsa ($15) – Great dish with nice flavour and acidity. A little too much salsa than needed for the burst of flavour so the crab quickly got soft.

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Tenzaru Soba ($19) – This was my dish, which I chose because I had never had cold noodles before and wanted to try something new. The dish was quite bland if not for the tempura and unfortunately, I got really bad food poisoning later that night (the only one in our group who got sick and who had this dish). I’m almost sure it was from the cold noodles itself, probably Bacillus cereus, which is often associated with improperly stored starchy foods (ie. rice, noodles, pasta). Seriously the worst pain of my life, thank god it was over quickly.

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The most interesting, but unfortunately, the most disappointing dish of the night: Seafood Houbayaki ($26). Individually served and cooked at the table, rice is extra.

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Extremely bland! You can even see there seems to be no seasoning involved.

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Moving on to dessert and festivities with the birthday girl! 🙂

Amanda was puzzled, trying to guess who was the person who ordered the chocolate cake decorated with macarons. Turns out it was from her sister back home in Malaysia!

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Taking pictures!

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Many sweets! Chocolate cake from her sister, cheesecake from her friends and I made some pear cupcakes!

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All smiles! Happy birthday girl!

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Great night and got to meet some lovely people! 🙂

Would we come back to Sono? Probably not. Don’t get me wrong. We had a fantastic evening – service was great, with lovely traditional decor and great ambiance. However, most of the group agreed that it was too expensive for less than impressive food. It seemed like half the group really enjoyed their food and the other half (which included the 4 people who ordered the Seafood Houbayaki) simply thought, “Meh.” Also, the food poisoning was unfortunate and extremely unpleasant!

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