Niji means rainbow in Japanese after the diverse colour and taste associated with traditional Izakaya cuisine.
The fusion of Australian ingredients with this traditional Japanese style dining is what Niji want to showcase their diners. A stellar wine pairing is made with each course that’s determined by manager, Preshanth Pillay who also possesses one of the finest palates this side of the country. Every week Pre will work out wine pairings with head chef Shekhar Aryal.
MsBrulee dined as guests of Niji. Opinions however are my own.
Preshanth Pillay or ‘Pre’ is adamant that you have to start with oysters! Heeding his advice, the first course is under way.
This pairing of oysters with the Matua sauvignon blanc wine is particularly lovely – the sweet yuzu granita offsets the creamy briny oysters.
I am not a drinker, but I’m working on that. What I can tell you dear reader is that the wine smells fragrant and sweet but turns dry.
Just like a ceviche but more flavourful and all the textures are playing together like a symphony - it’s wonderful. You have the buttery, raw kingfish, shards of salty sweet miso, that crunch pleasingly and the ponzu, dressing the fish in its citrusy gloriousness.
I also sampled what appears to be shaved daikon painstakingly wrapped around each piece of octopus. The slow cooked octopus needs a little chewing to break down and the daikon wrapping around it serves as a skin. While the octopus and daikon bring the texture, the dominant flavour of this dish is the yuzu kosho, showcasing its delightful bright citrusy notes.
The sashimi dish is a vehicle for a bit of theatre with liquid nitrogen clouds billowing around the brightly gleaming fish like jewels plucked from the sea. The fish itself is thick cut, soft, buttery smooth and impressively fresh.
The cocktail of the week is has sake, ouzo, umeshu, white rum and aperol it’s a drink, demonstrating Pre’s knowledge of flavours and how they blend together.
A half eggplant roasted with a thick coating of sweet miso, tasting like a complex salted caramel. The flesh is unbelievably soft, creamy, mousse-like and nothing is left behind, I even eat the eggplant skin it’s so tasty.
Amayaki, a sweet soy and sesame sauce along with a whole host of other flavourful goodness is served in a sauce for dipping the wagyu beef into. The wagyu is a little smoky from the robata grill, its gorgeous aroma only melted beef fat possesses.
The chicken falls off the bone when nudged, the meat is moist, tender and covered in finger licking sesame soy sauce. It’s all topped with a nest of deep fried sweet potato curls – which are utterly addictive.
With the warm pudding, you have a melange of treats on the one plate: There’s dark chocolate pieces with the Niji restaurant logo printed on them sitting on top of the silky gold-hued pudding. A tart rhubarb compote sitting in the bottom of the ramekin, along with ice cream and cinnamon-sugar coated mini doughnuts.
Come here for excellent wine recommendations, I discovered plenty of new bottles to enjoy over the upcoming summer months. And exquisite Japanese izakaya that’s delicious right down to the last bite.
Tues – Sun: 12pm to 3pm and 5:30pm to 10pm