I hate when people ask what my favourite cuisine is – because honestly, it seems to change each day. But what I do love, is trying new places and new flavour combinations because it can lead me to greatness. This was definitely my expectation when I went for lunch at Tsukaya in Mount Hawthorn with a couple girlfriends.
Headed up in the kitchen by Pepe Tsukayama, a Japanese Peruvian chef with over 25 years experience. He’s trained and worked in Tokyo, as well as under famed chef Nobu Masuhisa in Beverly Hills and here at Nobu Perth.
We chose four dishes to share between us: the seared salmon on rice, the miso black cod, pork belly and pumpkin with rice, and their tuna poke bowl.
Each was quite distinct, though more in the Japanese realm of flavour and cooking style than what I can imagine Peruvian would be like.
For the salmon bowl, I liked that the fish was well accompanied by the fresh fried garlic chips and the strips of seaweed. I would have liked a sauce of some kind, as there was a lot of rice leftover, just to even up the portions somewhat.
However, we were all too happy to use that rice to accompany the cod – which was an absolute knockout. This is a dish that the chef has obviously carried on from Nobu, though at a much more affordable price point, and it is just as impressive. Umami rich in each bite, the flesh just flaked away with ease, melting in our mouths. This dish isn’t always on the menu (it was a daily special) but I highly recommend you order it if there is the opportunity to do so.
The pork belly dish was nice enough, but definitely the lowlight of the meal for me. I found the pork slightly dry (again, I would have liked a sauce – I really like sauce though!) in some parts, though others quite juicy. The pumpkin was lovely and sweet, and was a good accompaniment to the salty meat.
The tuna poke was not just Instagram pretty, but it also tasted great. As well as the fish, it had gochujang, yuzu ponzu, edamame, lotus chips, avocado and spicy mayo on top of the rice. We all loved this dish thanks to the balance and distinct flavours that really sung cohesively. Would happily go back and eat this time and time again!
My first experience at Tsukaya was really positive. While I longed for sauce with the heavier rice based dishes, everything still tasted great and the fresh ingredients shone on the plate. I’m looking forward to going back and trying more, especially after doing some online stalking which has shown lots more dishes I need to try.