Tucked away on the main Military Road of Neutral Bay is the Japanese restaurant Izakaya Samurai (previously known as Sushi Samurai). They’re part of a wider Japanese restaurant group which also includes Yebisu Izakaya. The food and drinks menu here is huge and can be ordered on their iPad selection system (similar to Yebisu Izakaya), with multiple categories including fried dishes, sushi and sashimi, yakitori, rice/noodles and more! Most of the dishes are small and designed for sharing (izakayas are traditionally drinking establishments in Japan with small bar dishes) so it’s ideal to visit in a group.
One half of the menu
Triple Mix Sushi – $9.80
We start off our dinner with three types of grilled nigiri sushi including salmon, kingfish and snapper. These come out “volcano” style with cream cheese and lots of mayo, which has melted slightly from the fish being seared. I love my sushi cooked this way as the fish is half cooked and oozes a lot of its natural oils which goes well with the sweet mayo.
Wagyu Beef Skewers (2pcs) – $5.80
Scallop Skewers (2pcs) – $3.80
Next are some skewers, which are very popular in Japanese Izakaya restaurants. The wagyu beef is well marinated in a sweet miso sauce, and actually consists of four small beef chunks on the skewer making it easy to share. The scallops are grilled plain and natural – they’re not particularly interesting and could use some butter or a sauce.
Eggplant with Sweet Miso – $6.80
Another dish we get is a favourite of ours. Commonly known as “nasu dengaku”, this is when an eggplant is cut open and grilled with sweet miso paste which infuses with all the eggplant oils. Soft, oily and sweet, I know it’s unhealthy but I just can’t resist!
Braised Pork Belly with Pancake (4pcs) – $16.80
A recommendation from our waiter is the braised pork belly with pancake which we ordered the last time we visited. The pork belly contains a poached egg on top and sits in a sweet soy broth. It’s quite tender and flavoursome but isn’t that practical with the pancakes given that the pork belly pieces are quite large and juicy, leaving the pancake soggy. Great concept and tasty, but just not the best execution.
Ice Cream with Daifuku – $3.80
To cap off our meal, we opt for a daifuku which is a glutinous dessert normally filled with red bean paste, but this version is instead filled with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The skin is a bit hard to break as it’s quite stretchy, but once you get past this it goes quite nicely with the ice cream. It’s also not the sweetest dessert as the skin is quite plain, so it’s not overly heavy.
All in all, Izakaya Samurai does a great job in pumping out a huge range of dishes which are perfect for sharing. It’s a great spot to visit, especially for those on the North Shore preferring a shorter commute than the city.
Excuse Me Waiter dined as guests of Izakaya Samurai
Shop 3, 197 Military Rd, Neutral Bay 2089
Ph: (02) 9953 4059