Daku Japanese Dining

Wooooo I finally finished my g-damned Advanced Torts essay; 2000 words done and dusted. I really needed a day without study and just to relax, and so I decided that today would be the day to unleash all of my gluttonous tendancies.

The Japanese restaurant that used to occupy this premises was somewhat dingy and their ramen was very heavy on ginger, an ingredient I’ve never been a huge fan of as it tends to overwhelm dishes too much. I go up and down this street when I’m in for work, and I was very interested to see Daku open earlier this week. From the outside, it looked quite chic and modern, with large posters advertising that they sold Hokkaido beer and other types of Japanese alcoholic drinks.

Today was the last day of work for me for a while as I was taking two weeks off on leave for my exams. So I made sure I didn’t have lunch or leftovers in the fridge and then ambled down the half-block distance to Daku.

First of all, the interior was lovely and modern. Unfortunately I was dining by myself, and when dining by myself, I always get seized with an incredible feeling of self-consciousness when I take out my camera. So I was discreet today and used my iPhone, but couldn’t get a photo of the interior without looking like a dag. But they had nice paper lanterns hanging over the tables, the inside is a little dim and moody, booth seats, and bar tables at the front of house if you want to just drop in for some sake or beer. J-pop is playing over the loudspeakers, while a young adult soap opera played on the TV over the front counter. The kitchen is open and the male chefs were all about in their mid to late 20s. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that all the staff were Japanese, as the case with most Japanese restaurants around Sydney is that they are run by Koreans.

For the sake of my blog, I decided I had to get two items off the menu. They have a lunch special menu with donburi, bentos, and sashimi, but they’re not what I like to usually go for. I was disappointed to see they didn’t have any grilled salmon sushi on the rather sparse menu, but settled on ordering an Agedashi Tofu for $7 (as I hadn’t had it in a while), and the Spider Roll for $13 (as I can never get enough of soft shell crab!) which came with miso soup.

As is often the case, my eyes were bigger than my stomach. Within 10 minutes, out came the Agedashi Tofu, with the golden bonito flakes hissing and crackling as they curled in on themselves:

The tofu was nicely fried, with a layer that was not too thick nor thin, yet as always, it had the characteristic ‘glue’ at the bottom of each piece. The broth that it came in was surprisingly good and flavoursome, and it makes me think that their udon noodle soup would be good as well. Something for next time.

Then out came my Spider Roll:

I almost died when I saw this. The chef brought it out himself (shows you just how quiet they were), and laughed at the expression on my face. Eleven pieces in total!! Soft shell crab chunks, crab/seafood stick, cucumber and lettuce, topped with avocado slices, (a lot of) roe and sesame seeds. The sauces were sweet chilli sauce, Japanese mayonnaise, while the orange one was a combination of the two. Absolutely lovely, and such a good deal for $13.

I managed to chow down six pieces before I conceded defeat, and the chef, who had been keeping an eye on me, came out without me asking and cheerfully said he’d put the rest in a takeaway box for me. I had the rest as an afternoon snack in the office.

They certainly aren’t stingy on the fish egg roe! Love this place; will definitely be dropping by this place often with it just being down the street from where I work.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. kyu says:

    Hi!!
    Omg! Thank you so very much for your review and the visit to our restaurant.
    To introduce myself, my name is Kyu and I am the guy who had eyes on you during your stay.
    This is first ever review on my restaurant and when my mate called me to inform me that there was something about DAKU on the net, I was so delighted and literally over the moon.
    I have read some of your reviews on other restaurants and felt that you are sort of person that i could get advice on running my restaurant. I am very open to any suggestions, recommendations and critisisms as my goal is to make this joint a friendly, cozy and a place where people leave with smiles.
    Please let me know if you are gonna drop by again in the future.
    Thank you once again for the review!!

    1. Cath Chen says:

      Hi there, Kyu!
      Absolutely thrilled that I’ve been able to help you guys out a little by writing this review – I’ve already told my friends that they should drop by Daku if they’re around Bathurst Street.

      I had a lovely meal at your restaurant, and I cannot fault the food, service, nor the decor! You’ve set up a really nice establishment, but I think the one flaw you have is your location. You’re competing against other Japanese restaurants that have already established themselves around the area (Sakura over on Pitt Street, and the two across from you on Bathurst Street). The restaurant previously in your location did quite well, so it will probably take some time.

      To market your restaurant, I’d suggest creating a website, and listing on sites such as Urbanspoon, Eatability, and TrueLocal. Consider putting out ‘deals’ on Scoopon, Groupon, and LivingSocial. With a lot of business people around on Bathurst Street, consider making a board with the lunch specials on it to put outside on the footpath just before noon on weekdays.

      I’ll be returning to work next week so I’ll more than likely drop by again in the next couple of weeks – I’ll be sure to say hello!

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