Eiju Fusion Japanese Dining came up when we were searching for a good place for dinner near where we were staying in Sydney. We had pored through a number of menus from different places (sometimes too many choices just makes things more difficult), but were ultimately convinced by their set menu offering.
It was an easy walk to Pyrmont, where the restaurant was located, and finding our way there wasn’t hard with the assistance of Google Maps. As we made our way up the street, we saw the words “Eiju Fusion Japanese” chalked on an internal wall, with the “I” drawn as a pair of chopsticks, and the “J” a fusion of a fork and a hook. It might not be visible if coming from the other direction, but the tables and chairs just outside the entrance might clue you in that that is where the eatery is.
We had made a booking before we started walking, just in case it was already full, having found from previous evenings that even on weeknights, Sydneysiders seem to dine out a lot. We were greeted by staff when we walked through the entrance, and were quickly accommodated when we told them that there would be more than the numbers booked for joining us.
The decor was modern casual, with black, white, and red playing against wooden hues. The bar and service counter ran along most of one side of the space, and floating shelves on the wall behind it held an assortment of bottles of spirits. While certainly not minimalist, it also didn’t feel unnecessarily cluttered. The black-topped tables were set with white serviettes, wooden chopsticks on chopstick rests, glasses, and food and drink menus bound in brown and red leather-like coverings respectively, in keeping with the colour theme.
The 5 course set menu that had initially caught our fancy continued to do so, although it had different dishes from the menu we had seen online. Everyone at the table has to have the set menu (so you can’t just go it on your own), but it didn’t take much convincing.
The first course was Salmon confit, with tomato nube, zucchini flower, and ume shiso puree. It was presented as four similarly-shaped and coloured orange-pink blocks on a plate. (It is worth mentioning at this point that each of us received separate serves of each course, so the descriptions are of what each individual was given.) On inspection, one could discern that two of those blocks were confit salmon. These had a beautifully soft texture when eaten. We had not been able to find an explanation of what a nube was, except that it translates to “cloud” from spanish. Those were the other two blocks, which turned out to be set soft foams, with a subtle tomato flavour. They had a springy, spongy mouthfeel, that then melted away. The small dollop of ume shiso puree on the side had a strong, fruity, herby flavour that wisely was placed on the side, so that you could have just a little if you wanted, and not overpower the other more subtle components. The dish an interesting play on appearances and textures.
The second course was Fig and Prosciutto, polenta gratin, blue cheese, baby corn, cauliflower puree, and red capsicum puree. This was served on an elongated leaf-shaped dish, with the polenta gratin cube at one end, and smears of the purees at the other end. In between those were pieces of the baby corn and roasted fig. The polenta was firm and compact, with the outside surfaces of the cube crisp. They had made a well in the middle of the polenta cube to hold the blue cheese sauce. The sauce was liquid, creamy, and slightly savoury. Blue cheese can be a polarising ingredient, but in this case, it was not too pungent, so while it was present, it would not put those on the fence about blue cheese off. The cauliflower puree was smooth, and had umami notes. The red capsicum puree added a visual punch to the plate, and that almost fruity flavour. The fig slices were roasted, which enhanced their sweetness. With the blue cheese sauce, they made a good sweet and salty combination, and struck one as a reference to a cheese platter.
Next was a Miso carbonara spaghetti with bacon and white miso cream. This was served, unexpectedly, in a teacup, the pasta bathed in the cream sauce, and topped with bacon pieces and cheese shavings. The spaghetti was al dente. The miso cream sauce was a good example of fusion food that works, the savoury, umami flavours of miso melding well with the richness of the cream sauce. This was definitely comfort food to indulge in, and none of us at the table would have minded having more.
In between these and the main dish, we were brought bread accompanied by a mix of olive oil and vinegar to dip it in. The thickly sliced bread had a satisfying crunchy crust on the outside, and was soft on the inside.
For the main dish, there was the choice of Roasted duck breast with shiitake mushroom and artichokes in wonton cup, soy milk foam, and hoisin jus, or Fish of the day. Most of us at the table chose the Fish of the day, which was kingfish. This was served with citrus foam, pea puree, and legumes. As with the other dishes, it was prettily plated, with the piece of fish surrounded by a zen circle-like swirl of the pea puree, and flanked by citrus foam, so it resembled a yin-yang drawing. The kingfish was nicely cooked, with crispy, salty skin on its surface. The citrus foam imparted flavour and then disappeared. The pea puree had concentrated, naturally sweet pea flavour.
The final dish was dessert, a Green tea chocolate fondant with vanilla ice cream and meringue. Compared to the other dishes, these were a little more simply presented, the scoop of ice cream next to the fondant, and the square of meringue placed atop the ice cream. The quality control of the fondants was a bit off, with some already broken and a bit misshapen rather than a nicely turned out intact pudding. We did have quite a large group though, so that may have caused extra pressure and no spare backups. The fondants were just crisp on the outside, and soft inside. They didn’t all have the desired runny centre though. Still, they had good green tea flavour strength, and while sweet, were not too much so. The meringue was light and airy, and had a good crumble.
Overall, we enjoyed the meal at Eiju Fusion Japanese Dining. It was a surprise find, and a good one. It was good value for money, particularly for Sydney. They put together flavours well, and delivered some tasty dishes. We found that it worked well for a group meal venue too, as long as you can convince everyone in the group to have the set menu. Well, you can order a la carte as well, although that will mean more deliberating about what to have (note that you do have the option of having a whole main size serve of the miso carbonara though).
Value: Very good.
Address: 196 Harris Street, Pyrmont
Phone: 02 8590 3433
Website: Eiju Fusion Japanese Dining