Ju Ge Mu & Shimbashi

246 Military Road, Neutral Bay

A midweek evening and we fancied a night out. Fellow bloggers had recommended this place and so we decided to give it ago. The fact that it wasn’t a Japanese place that laboured on sushi made it easier to sell into my wife. Plus as a restaurant(s) with a split personality a noodle place & a teppanyaki, it seemed fun.

It was easy to get a table early, but it filled up fast. The menu divided into different parts looked initially bewildering, but you can just go through and pick from a plethora of options.

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Clearly it proved difficult to pass the sake list without ordering.  I always go for warm sake, which is probably not really the sophisticated thing. But it always does the trick. Very pretty cups though.

We decide to share a broad selection of dishes to get a good feel and start with the aubergine.

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It’s sticky with miso and almost peanut butter like in texture and feel. I’m going through an aubergine phase at the moment and loved it, even though it’s not the easiest thing to eat with chopsticks. But I’m not complaining.

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We follow with what is probably the highlight of the meal – handmade soba noodles, served cold with duck broth. It sums up what is great about Japanese food – something simple & pure with great depth of flavour. The noodles with nice roughness are dunked into the broth and slurpingly inhaled. It all leads up to the drinking of the broth (diluted with a little water). It’s soothing & comforting; what every ‘stock’ should aspire to be.

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Next up is Tonkatsu, which is served with classic ‘bbq sauce’ and a bit of english mustard  – always pleasant to see…. It’s quality piece of pork – succulent & sweet. No complaints.

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We finish with the traditional pancake – Okonomiyaki. This is one filled with cabbage and some wagyu beef. It’s a good dish, spoiled by the addition of deep fried garlic slices, which are bitter & rank.  Yet they are easily removed and the rest of pancake can be enjoyed. I love cabbage and it’s slight dishwashing liquid taste. I struggled to finish it. So it was clear our meal had come to a halt…..

Service itself was engaging & attentive. The waitress at the end of the meal complemented us on our ordering. It doesn’t really take much to leave a good impression!

We thought this a really enjoyable restaurant – not too expensive, with authenticity and a good vibe. I’d go back again just for the noodles.

There is though far more to explore and duty will call.

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