It’s true what they say – Japanese food makes for the perfect drinking companion, a heady mix of spice and salty tamari. In Japan, where an izakaya is a pub-style bar, sake rules supreme while the food often flounders a close second. Not so, at Izakaya Fujiyama, where the kitchen and bar are in perfect harmony and the chef’s credentials are no sorry afterthought.
Chef Kenji Maenaka was last seen at Bodega, which has left its mark by way of a Japanese flavoured tortilla. The food at Fujiyama is fresh in flavour and rich in texture: silken Agedashi tofu, crispy SA calamari and sticky Teriyaki beef ribs with green chilli relish. The desserts, of which there are three, are perhaps the highlight. Try the flourless chocolate cake, served with sublime condensed milk ice-cream and poached quince.
And the sake? Page upon page of imported Japanese rice wine, each detailed by region and served in the 90ml glass (which can get pricey if you like a tipple). There’s also a respectable offering of plum wines and Japanese beers, along with a small scattering of local wines. And if that doesn’t get you going, try the Fuji-Mama cocktail, a Midori (don’t wince), dry Vermouth and Maraschino liqueur delight.
Cementing itself within Surry Hills’ newest eating precinct, Fujiyama is an atmospheric square of a restaurant, reminiscent of an oversized bento box. Pull up a stool at the long bar and watch a Japanese pub in action.