I feel the earth… move… under my feet…
… as I take a big bite of this super crunchy deep-fried soft shell crab. The shell soft crab salad comes in abundance with two massive crabs and lots of fresh green lettuce, tomatoes, shaved spring onions and spanish onions. The spicy hot mayo dressing on the salad really gives the dish a nice punch. Soft shell crab dishes can be a hit and miss sometimes, but Akaneya has definitely deliver it.
Akaneya is located in King Street, two blocks away from QVB towards Darling Harbour. This Japanese restaurant is always busy and popular with the white collars during lunch hours. The food they served is subtantial, abundance and at a very reasonable price. The first time when I came to this restaurant with a friend and ordered the lunch set cruise combo at $19.50 which I struggled to finish. And I soon found walking up the hill back to George Street with full stomach is like a training session on Biggest Loser, panting and sweaty by the time I reached the top with unpleasant B.O. (could be the smokey BBQ grilled smell from the restaurant).
Tonight I am here to have dinner with the Pom before heading to State Theatre for Luminous. We arrive at the restaurant early with few tables already occupied, but soon it fills up quite quickly, and becomes very noisy with poor noise insulation interior decor. I adore Japanese 3-fold A2 size menu with pretty pictures and endless options. The waitress comes back swiftly minutes later with a handheld touchpad and takes down our order.
We both order Chu Hi to drink, and they come in the rather uninviting tumbler glasses. My cloudy looking Calpis flavoured Chu Hi is rather strong with very faint taste of Calpis in comparison to the Grape flavoured Chu Hi which is sweet and refreshing.
First to arrive is the Gyoza. This is the first time I have steamed Japanese gyoza and not pan-fried. Usually I prefer the crisp skin on the pan fried dumplings but this are surprisingly good with slippery skin and pork mince inside is lightly flavour which is very tender and moist. The gyoza dipping sauce is a great balance of soy sauce and vinegar, just subtle enough to bring out the flavour of the gyoza without overpowering it. This is a great appetizer.
Suddenly everyone is hypnotised by the sizzling sound from the kitchen with their heads fixated on the Salmon BBQ dish as she bringing it to our table. 200 grams of Salmon fillet is sizzling on a bed of bean sprouts in the hot plate, with some steamed vegetables on the side. The salmon is cooked to perfection with flakey pinky flesh. But the Akaneya’s special BBQ sauce is disappointingly ‘unspecial’, taste like Gravox gravy to me.
The Pom is rather glad that I ordered the Tonkatsu as his diet guilty conscience is preventing him from ordering even this dish is one of his favorites. I love deep fried food, especially when it is done right. The tonkatsu is crispy, juicy and non oily served with a generous portion of shredded cabbage. The pork loin is a fatty cut which is more flavorsome but requires some mouth-work. It is delicious on its own, the tonkatsu sauce and mustard are unnecessary.
The soft shell crab salad comes last and we both have steamed rice with the dishes. It is a very subtantial meal as we both are truly well fed and satisfied. Akaneya is just like a typical restaurant you will find in Japan under shopping malls and railway stations, a hearty staple food joint. Aisu deru!
Akaneya 28 King Street Sydney CBD Phone: (02) 9279 1141
Opening hours: Lunch Mon - Fri 12pm - 3pm Dinner Mon - Sat 6pm - 10pm Website : www.akaneya.com.au