Having taken a slight detour on my quest to eat at all the Japanese Restaurants in Brisbane, I regained my focus and decided that the next stop ought to be Izakana Ya Okuman at West End. Having heard that they recently opened a branch store, Tatsu, at Fortitude Valley, I was keen to try out the original store before branching off.
Arriving early in the lunch hour, the place was not yet half full. I really like the samurai decoration at the door, which was very instagramable, especially with the handy frame on the side.
In line with my usual preference, we got a bench-side seat, and noted that ordering was via ipad, which meant we didn't need to flag down a waitress.
Water was provided without having to ask, which is a nice change from having to wait and find someone to request water.
We started our meal with the sashimi of the day platter, with seven varieties of fish. It was presented beautifully in a large ceramic bowl filled with ice. Cuts were reasonably fresh, but I've definitely had better in other places. The highlight for us was the tuna which was quite fatty for what's available in Brisbane. We found the mackerel to be very hard and not very paletable, whilst the bonito was super strong in taste (I was not prepared for that).
My companion ordered a chicken katsu bento, which she also found to be quite underwhelming. Whilst the rice to side ratio was quite good, the quality of the sides left much to be desired. She found the chicken katsu to be not quite crunchy, and drenched in a little too much sauce., as were the croquettes, but most disappointing was the gyoza which had a doughy and thick pastry that covered a dry and coarse filling.
I ordered the assorted sushi set with a side of udon for my meal. Unfortunately the sushi was disappointing in both its elements. The rice was (shock horror) brown rice! As a devout sushi purist, whilst I can appreciate the health benefits of brown rice, having the option to stick to regular white would have been meant a lot more enjoyment on my part. Secondly, the fish on top was quite thinly sliced, especially after our sashimi, this was a letdown. Sadly the udon wasn't much different either, with the noodles being undercooked and quite firm, which is a rare fault to find in commercial udon.
Price Range: $20 - $35pp