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Karaage and Me (not a sitcom, a dinner with Tokyo Jacks)

'I think I’m turning #Japanese'... well not literally but lately I have definitely taken a particular liking to the #cuisine. A country steeped in so much culture, an insurmountable part of its identity comes from their food and to my mind pays homage to the rich tapestry that is a proud and humble people. Such #culture can only be kept from the rest of the world for so long and the inevitability that once it gets out Western society will only commercialize and put it on show like a pure bred Pomeranian blow dried to perfection is unavoidable. So it is a rare occasion that a venue comes along that respects such a unique and ancient culture while still managing to #modernize the experience.

And would you believe that such a place exists in your own backyard. #TokyoJacks is that venue and if you ever find yourself with an obsessive need to brandish a samurai sword, don a kimono and try your clumsy hands at chopsticks while enjoying the delicious flavours of Japan, then make your way to T.J’s and give a gracious bow to flavour.

So while I fancy myself a bit of a sword-smith (cause if you buy a sword and it hangs on your wall then you have surely missed the point) after a few dangerous flourishes that very nearly send my television to an early grave, I decide the best way to channel my need is to take my lady out for some traditional Japanese fare. I hang up my sword and prepare for the journey ahead. Ok, so we got in the car and drove into town but you know if there was a #RideShare service available I would be all over that because admittedly I do have a thing for #Yuzu Wine and just one glass is never enough. We park up within walking distance and my mouth is already salivating from the mere thought of the deliciousness that is to come. Upon entering my senses light up, visually the space is clean cut straight lines, slats of wood representing bamboo as a feature and a skillfully painted mural in orange and blacks while not necessarily Japanese lends to the #atmosphere that these guys are bringing you a modern take on an authentic cuisine. Empty bottles of #sake displayed remind me of a particular night with a friend visiting from Tokyo and no matter what anyone tells you, never challenge a Japanese man to a drinking contest. The consequences of which will stay secret in my mother’s laundry sink.

Yuzu #Wine is ordered, an elixir of sweet and sour, poured over ice that would refresh even an Internet Explorer browser, and while I greedily consume the magic liquid our meals are presented to our table. The Sticky Peanut #Pork Tacos are just that, sticky tender pieces of pork with just a hint of peanut served with a fresh salsa and a Japanese Mayo. Now while tacos themselves are not traditional Japanese fare, the Pork certainly is and marrying corn tortillas with these amazingly fresh flavours is certainly a revelation. Now we can get to the real deal, the thing Tokyo Jack’s is known for and why people keep coming back again and again. Beef #Tataki! High-grade beef sliced wafer-thin, seared for mere seconds and served with a delicate yet flavoursome Ginger-citrus soy. This stuff melts in your mouth and I can’t help but close my eyes and let the flavour transport me across continents. The #Salmon and Avocado #sushi roll arrives and while I’m not a big fan of this particular part of Japanese cooking I can certainly appreciate the skill involved. If you have ever tried to form a perfect sushi roll at home you will know what I mean. The chef here has got this down to a tee, the salmon and avo have been nestled in a perfect tight roll of rice that is light and fluffy, not taking away from the flavour of the other ingredients and is served with a little soy a tiny spot of some seriously eye opening wasabi and a serve of pickled ginger, which cuts through the dish and accentuates the salmon.

So for those who have not tried Karaage then we cannot be friends. Stop whatever it is that you’re currently doing and go get some. The Chicken Karaage is out of this world, trying to pronounce it correctly usually ends with you sounding like a Klingon or with some confusion as to what a person is allowed to keep in their garage but once it is on the table I can assure you it will be gone and if you even try to take a piece, chopstick wars will undoubtedly commence. Pieces of tender chicken marinated in ginger, soy, sake and garlic, then coated in a starch and fried to perfection. The particular varietal we ordered was served with a spicy wasabi mayo that reminded me I had sinuses but seemed to be the perfect match for the bonanza of flavours exploding in my mouth.

I could sit here all night sampling dish after dish and regret nothing, I haven’t even touched on the #Sashimi (mainly because I’m full, partly because I want you to go try it for yourselves) and as we drive back home I’m tempted to slam on the brakes, turn around and go for round two. #Bunbury can still occasionally surprise me and with restaurants like Tokyo Jacks bringing a new spin to traditional cuisine I am certainly happy to be surprised. Take a bow TJ, I’ll see you soon.

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