It was our [insert number of years here] Wedding anniversary, and given my still restricted diet, I decided that Japanese would be ideal.
Unlike last year, I could not jump on my bike, and having arranged to pick up No.1 Great Nephew Sam from school, we made an early booking at "Iori" in East Row in Civic. I hadn't tried it before, however had read good things, so was keen to give it a go.
We arrived on time for a 6:00pm booking, the room quite bare, with two funky shaped televisions suspended from the walls and simple pine boxy tables with paper napkins and paper wrapped serviettes. It was well isolated from this somewhat less salubrious part of town in the midst of the Bus Interchange and had a good, if very casual feel. Despite being there at the time of opening, we were not the first ones there.
While Bob investigated the menu from the back pages ("The best things are always there"), I worked through methodically from the front, where a couple of set menu combinations were listed. The month's specials looked good, but we ended up going with the "Miyabi" Set Menu ($55 per person).
I am writing this a week later, however the delicacy, texture and taste of the meal still resonates with me . . . exquisite!
After hot towels, a large platter of three fish sashimi, a sushi roll, some lightly seared Wagyu beef and some miso soused eggplant were presented. I took my time to savour each mouthful and we both were in heaven.
A main course lacquered box arrived with miso soup, rice, and a selection of tempura prawns and vegetables [I nobly gave Bob all my vegetables (fibre) and took his prawn (death)]; a simmered dish of scallops with carrots and other vegetables in a delicate sauce; a chinese spoon with the special Japanese flavouring salts and pepper divided on its bowl; and a grilled dish of eel for Bob, and a large portion of grilled marinated salmon for me.
It was even better than it sounds, and still makes my mouth water!
Dessert of the Day consisted, not of fresh fruit, but of a thin slice of a Green Tea and Coconut Ice Cream log, with a scoop of the wonderful, elusive taste of Black Satsuma Ice. I carefully scooped aside the lashing of (canned) whipped cream from each (neither of us do cream well and suffer). It didn't need it, and I was truly surprised to hear Bob say how he had overeaten and was stuffed. He was a mountainous appetite! It is rare however for him to eat so slowly and with such measure.
A great night, and a restaurant I am keen to revisit. Unfortunately, it is one of the few places in Canberra which is fully licensed without the option to BYO; Bob enjoyed a bottle of local Cool climate Riesling - a style that is often excellent, however he is not used to paying fully licensed markups! My water was excellent!
Iori Japanese Restaurant
41 East Row
(02) 6257 2334
Lunch Mon-Fri 12:00-2:00pm
Dinner Mon-Sat 6:00pm--http://www.iori.com.au