Having been eating a number of Non Japanese foods lately, I had been craving Japanese food for a very long time. So one day during a particularly hard day at work, I just got up and walked to the nearest Japanese Restaurant to compensate myself.
I've actually wanted to go to Oshin for quite a long time. Being established for 20 years gives it a certain credibility for surviving so long despite being situated upstairs in an inconspicuous little building on Adelaide Street.
Arriving at 11.30, the shop was empty other than myself and a bunch of high schoolers going on an excursion. The restaurant itself was very quiet and calming, particularly after my stressful day.
I was promptly seated, and given a glass of water with a wedge of lemon.
The first to arrive was my Salmon Avocado Hand Roll. While I didn't walk into Oshin with much expectation, I was truly blown away by the quality of the Hand Roll. The Salmon was fresh, and the avocado was just the right level of ripeness. The seaweed was super fresh and very crispy, whilst the rice was warm and welcoming. But the thing that truly impressed me was the fact that unlike other Japanese restaurants, the toppings on the hand roll were present throughout the whole thing, right down to the tip. (Like my friend said "just like a cornetto" haha). Needless to say, I loved it!
The next thing to arrive was the Soft Shell Crab Hand Roll. I was a bit hesitant about ordering this, as usually soft shell crab is usually served with a slice of cucumber or avocado rather than alone. As with the Salmon Hand Roll, I loved the Soft Shell Crab. The batter was light and crispy, whilst the insides were still juicy. What I particularly liked as well, was the extra tobiko (flying fish roe), which gave it an extra dimension that avocado or cucumber is unable to provide.
For a main, I ordered the Nabeyaki Udon 鍋焼きうどん. What is Nabeyaki Udon? It is a traditional Japanese dish that translates to "Udon Cooked in a Pot". Its a homey style comfort food, which is usually cooked in a very mild broth, with chicken, egg, seafood and vegetables. As a side to the dish, some vinegar fish was served first, which worked as a real appetite stimulant. What did also strike me though, was the difference in crockery, whilst some bowls were in the traditional Japanese style, some plates were basic white. I guess it goes to the fact that they aren't too concerned with the outward formalities, but more conscious of the substance of the food, something which I find quite admirable actually.
I was then provided with the optional extras, shallots and chilli pepper. I added the shallots, but left the chilli powder.
When my Nabeyaki Udon arrived, it was boiling! It continued boiling for well over one minute after being set in front of me. It contained Tempura Shrimp, Tempura Eggplant, Egg, Shittake Mushrooms, Chicken and various vegetables. The broth was light, and I could taste the multitude of ingredients used to cook it. The Udon was just the right texture, and I thoroughly enjoyed the dish (despite being scalded a few times).
One particular thing I do need to mention about the Udon specifically, was how well they did the egg. I'm very partial to eggs in noodles where the yolk remains runny. Having the pot boil for so long, I was pleasantly surprised to find the egg still runny in the centre. It goes to show how much detail and attention the chef gives to his work to achieve just the right consistency in the egg.
In my time, I have watched numerous food shows and documentaries where the food has touched the eater so much that they weep because they are so moved by the meal. Whilst I was far from crying at Oshin, I could truly say that in my one meal, I could taste the devotion and passion the chef has for Japanese food. I guess its another favourite to add to the list then.
Price Range: $20 - $40 per person