Sunday, April 3, 2011

Yakitori Takumi

Change of scenery. Away with the lofty highs of Sydney, onwards into the warm Aussie heartland of South Australia's capital, Adelaide. Since arriving, there hasn't been one moment when the skies were not azure and we weren't bathing in the sun's resplendence. This is what I'm talking about.

Japanese food in Oz punches well above the weight of its London counterparts. Fish here is in greater abundance and variety, and the cuisine has reached a higher sophistication owing to a much larger Asian population. After the near spiritual epiphanies of Toko and the Fish Markets (yes, I continue to rave on!) in Sydney, I continue my pilgrimage in an unexpected enjoyment of a yakitori.

This style of Japanese cooking of grilling little skewers looks foolproof. Don't be fooled. My last experience was at Bincho, Soho in London, and their dried, rubbery sticks were an overhyped, disappointing shamble. Yakitori Takumi could show them a thing, or ten, in our case.

Aren't those little tree trunks of mushrooms in the corner great? Called King Mushrooms, I also found them in Adelaide's Central Markets which is another story...

Seating 35 people at the most, this intimate space instantly draws me to sit near the grilling action.

Very short-shortsightedly of me, I hadn't taken down the Japanese names, so going to give them some English ones. Fried Mushrooms with Green Tea Salt. I loved that salt, adding a smoky dimension to the luscious mushies.

Octopus Puffs with Bonito Flakes. Takumi does the fried stuff brilliantly. The exterior so perfectly crunchy, not dry on the inside. These little balls contained chopped octopus, still bouncy and not stodgy, which most versions can be. Topped with the right amount of sweet Japanese mayonnaise.

Grilled pork belly skewers with kimchi. Succulent pork with sour and salty cabbage is a must try. Tangy tingles jumped up and down my palate.

Grilled chicken skewers. A yakitori classic, well cooked, but on the boring side.

Fried tofu steaks. Yeah. Oh hell yeah! So meaty and perfect with a little drizzle of mirin and soy. Some simplicity to balance out the other dishes.

Grilled duck liver. No. Oh hell no. Not my cup of tea. Only if you're into innards.

Grilled Duck Gizzards. Not as bad as the above, somehow these get crunchier on the grill, and with some chilli flakes is actually rather delicious.

Fried oysters with mayonaise and sweet-sticky sauce. Imagine oyster katsu. Bitter oyster, sweet sauces and savoury casing. Let's all take a moment to be amazed.

Grilled pork belly. Kinda like Japanese bacon and grilled. Ho hum.

Grilled squid with chilli flakes. An example of how squid should be grilled. Losing originality in these descriptions whilst thinking of all that sweet, salty, sour.

Mixed mushrooms in broth and truffle oil. Disappointing. After the initial waft of intense truffle, the flavours get lost in the mouth. Much like bland mushroom water.

Onigiri (Japanese rice ball) in chicken broth. Ah, we are back on track. Beautiful stock, more like a consomme. The rice ball was surprisingly crusty despite being in the soup. More like a little sesame biscuit with a nutty aroma.

Yakitori Takumi is run by Eddie, owner and chef with eyes that look like cartoony half-moons when he smiles. Humourous, warm service, he makes grilling looks easy. This is all about doing something very well, without trying to be too fancy. I'm jealous of you Japanese lovers in Adelaide. Dishes are on average between AUD$7-10 each.

Yakitori Takumi on Urbanspoon


Trina said...

Oh yummm....your descriptions make my mouth water....I'm almost there with you!

Hungry Female said...

Hello! Thanks! Much worth the visit if you're in Adelaide! xx

Cinnamon and Truffle said...

The oyster, takoyaki and fried mushrooms look just sublime. Why oh why is Australia so far away...?


Hungry Female said...

HI Truffle! This place was SOOOO good for that type of stuff. What's your fave in SF? I love SF:-) HF

Cinnamon and Truffle said...

Aaah if it's SF you're interested in, I have a whole list! Will send it to you. Some of the SF recommendations on the blog you can see at: