(Note: the photos are a little crappy this time 'coz they were taken with my iPhone. I didn't have my camera with me and lunch here was too good not to share!)
We all love hidden gems. I'm sure many of us pretend to have discovered them.
Taruhachi is one of those restaurants I wish I had discovered.
But I don't work in North Sydney... and besides, the person who took me here can list the names of all the people who had been introduced to this place and then passed it down. It's corporate word-of-mouth that has led me here on this occasion.
Once you step past the classic Noren curtains and cochin lanterns you're teleported into the back streets of Japan. It is hard not to forget you're in still in the financial district. The daily specials, written on strips of paper in Japanese Kanji, are stuck all over the wall. It is a good sign that the restaurant is popular amongst the Japanese speaking crowd.
Behind us is a group of suited businessmen, joyfully demolishing their bento boxes. Infront of us, a Japanese pair, getting a good dosage of fresh sashimi.
The small room, complete with a corner of traditional floor cushions, quickly fills up as we drool over the photographic menu. There are some fantastic nibbles such as kaki furai which are deep-fried crumbed oysters as well an array of lunch combinations we all know and love: katsu-don, oyako-don, karaage-udon, tonkatsu, yakiniku.
A young Japanese girl soon pours us some green tea and brings out a bowl of pickled vegetables which have a delightfully salted aroma. The cabbage, ginger and cucumber mixture was addictive to pick at.
From memory, my tempura and sushi combination was $14.90 which was one of the pricier items on the menu. For example, the teriyaki chicken and sashimi bento was only $12.90! Bargain! The assorted tempura of prawn, zucchini, pumpkin and salmon were light and crisp. My sushi was a beautifully crafted arrangement which went hand in hand with the cute ceramic side dishes of noodles, miso soup, fresh fruit and garden salad. The tiny dish of noodles were flavoured aromatically with sesame oil, leaving you wanting more, but the sushi does fill you up.
I would love nothing more than to sit here all day one day, through breakfast, lunch and dinner and then finish it off with some sake and more bar snacks.
If you work in the North Sydney area, lunch at Taruhachi is a must.
Level Ground, Shop 5, 83 Mount Street, North Sydney
North Sydney NSW 2060
Phone: (02) 9954 6441