We’ve heard so many things about Raita Noda, we jumped at the last minute cancellations allowing us to dine there mid week. Coining the smallest restaurant in Sydney, this contemporary Japanese restaurant seats only 8 people every night with a surprise set menu based on what’s good, in season and fresh that day. Ex-executive chef of The Ocean Room in Circular Quay, Raita took a risk, throwing his extensive culinary skills into his own little Japanese slice of heaven, and from the looks of the month long waiting list it has certainly paid off.
A great starter, the sharp flavours of the champagne vinegar mixed well with the fresh ocean taste of the plump oyster meat. The real kicker was the chilli pearl bursting and warming the mouth with its spicy flavour.
It’s crunch on crunch with this taco, re-imagined Japanese style. The shell is made from an insatiably crisp dumpling casing bringing a satisfying crunch that doesn’t make the whole thing fall to bits. The crab was equally crisp with a spicy coating and creamy soft inside.
To this day, I’m still raving about this dish. Let me put it into perspective. I’ve never been a fan of raw squid or cuttlefish, and despite the uni craze that has swept through Sydney I’ve never quite taken a liking to the intense seafood flavour it brings. But I can honestly tell you that this was one of the best dishes I’ve ever experienced in my foodie life.
The combination of the paper thin sheets of cuttlefish and the creamy uni is something out of this world. Like pure silk in the mouth. The usually overpowering ocean flavour of the uni is balanced perfectly by the aromatic and zesty flavour of the bergamot orange and lemon. Add to this the delicious salty burst from the adorning salmon roe and you have yourself a truly unforgettable dish.
SEAFOOD & INVISIBLE TOMATO
A very interesting dish which really refreshed the palate and kinda blew our minds. The invisible tomato was actually a clarified tomato granita, on which a generous helping of sweet Japanese hairy crab sat.
Underneath all this hides a gently flamed scallop, bringing a nice bite to the dish. My favourite parts were definitely the sea grapes and olive drops, both bursting in your mouth with their unique flavours.
I really enjoyed the concept of this dish. The fresh and unique ingredients flavour the aromatic broth which you pour into a cup and drink while eating out of the teapot.
The steaming dashi broth is teeming with a plump crystal bay prawn, imperador fillet, eryngi, shimeji, ginko nuts, chrysanthemum leaves. All finished off with a squeeze of lime for that extra zing.
A gorgeous selection of impeccably fresh sashimi. Each morsel was so full of flavour it was hard not to ask for seconds. The real prize was hidden under a smoke filled glass. Slowing infusing with the cherry wood aroma, the salmon held the flavour superbly.
A great concept, the centre is filled with a candle heated anchovy butter that once hot, gently cooks the fresh selection of dippers from fresh scallops, tomatoes, radishes, carrots and rice balls.
I’ve always been a huge fan of agedashi tofu so this was a really incredible little dish. The vine ripened tomato is very slowly roasted, intensifying the flavour tenfold and making it insanely tender. It’s then wrapped with kazoo in a ginger scented agedashi sauce.
BLUE MOUNTAIN WAGYU
Now this was a very special piece of meat. The meat is produced by the only Japanese wagyu farmer in Australia. The wagyu rump had a luxurious 9+ marble score and was lightly seasoned with salt & pepper, fresh wasabi & lime. The marbling gave this a melt in your mouth quality that was simply orgasmic.
Next up were these individually prepared five nigiri sushi, each made from incredibly fresh fish and all expertly sliced and hand made right in front of you. Watching Raita slice and construct these with such beautiful ease was truly mesmerising.
Sadly the end was near with our last course served sweet. Presented before us was a beautiful Tasmanian pepper spiced blue berry mascarpone mouse. The flavour was truly something I’ve never experienced, but something I’d gladly experience again and again.
As you can see by the stunning rose shaped pickled beet, the amount of skill and talent in this tiny kitchen is overwhelming. The final aspect was a umeboshi candy floss, made of tiny sharp sugar needles, the sensation is like a faint prickle on the tongue followed by tart and sweet flavour when the sugar instantly melts in your mouth. Unreal!
I can honestly say that in our long years of eating, we’ve never had an experience quite like Raita Noda. Getting that personal one-on-one time with the chef and watching exactly how your dish is prepared is really something special. I will, without a doubt, be making a return visit to this stellar establishment.
1/222 Riley Street,
Surry Hills, NSW
2 Hungry Guys dined as a guest