Jugemu&Shimbashi – 2011-2012

Jugemu&Shimbashi is a twin themed restaurant in Neutral Bay: Jugemu is a sleek fitout for teppanyaki, with the grill in the far left corner. Shimbashi is a more traditional side, with a soba preparation area at the front right. Reviews will tell you that this place is overpriced, and I can certainly confirm this. However, you do get some amazing soba! This post covers three visits over 2011 – 2012, with the focus mainly on the different dishes available; only two of the dishes below were ordered twice at two different times.

 Although they are primarily teppanyaki and soba specialists, they do also serve sashimi and other versions of raw fish. The tuna tataki has a great presentation, and the honey mustard sauce was a great addition. I like my lean tuna to have some bite to it, and the first serving was just as I liked it. It was pretty, firm and delicious. My second visit had the presentation the same, however the tuna wasn’t as firm as I liked it.

It turns out I don’t find anything particularly special about bonito, the above was served as a tataki. It was fresh and great, but the flavour just didn’t stand out for me.

Their okonomiyakis are quite substantial and very delicious! They have several different flavours to choose from, though I don’t recall which one this was.

A little bit of a non-traditional dish, this was asparagus spears wrapped in pancetta, served with a wasabi mayonnaise. The wasabi mayo wasn’t too strong, which was good for me since my spice tolerance is virtually non-existent. They looked well made and tasted great!

To be honest, teppanyaki is so-so for me. It’s great, especially when there are theatrics involved, but since my first visit here, I’m always seeking the best soba. This was a special featuring three flavours of soba in a chicken mushroom broth: lemon, orange, and plain. On another occasion they were showcasing chilli, green tea and plain. The flavours were prominent yet not overpowering, making it highly enjoyable. I also love the texture of the soba here – I like my noodles on the hard side, and because these were made in-house, they had a grainy texture that I loved too. For those who like stronger flavours, their soba curry is worth getting!

Karaage chicken was on the menu, so we had to try that out too. It wasn’t particularly standout, though it did meet my expecations of having great flavour on the outside and a juicy interior. It’s better to pass this for the more unique items on the menu.

Scallops in garlic butter. Very tasty, but another dish that didn’t stand out. Again, it’s better to spend your money on other dishes…

Which leads to this gorgeous creature. It’s known as Patagonian Toothfish, Chilean Sea Bass, or when sourced from certain areas, Glacier 51 Toothfish. It’s a horrendously ugly fish, but it has some of the whitest flesh I’ve seen in a fish market, and is expensive due to its rarity (it’s prone to being illegally fished and overfished). However, if you can get your hands on it, it’s totally worth your while as well as your money (okay, it does depend on how much they’re charging too). This is the top end of “miso cod” style dishes – the texture of the very oily fish is unbelievable – so soft and full of flavour when marinated! It was my first experience eating this (and knowing what it is; I’ve previously sampled candied Chilean Sea Bass in the USA without knowing what I was consuming) and ever since then, I look hopefully across the display of fishmongers hoping to get a glimpse of this fish.

Anmitsu, a traditional Japanese dessert. I’ve developed a liking of this dish as it’s got several ingredients with all different textures and flavours. I get this every time I see it on a menu!

Overall, Jugemu&Shimbashi is a great place to experience some unique Japanese dishes – and the soba is worth travelling to try! Due to the high cost of the food here, I would avoid the common favourites, and instead ask for recommendations from the staff (that’s how I ended up with the toothfish) because your palate will be happier for it! It’s worth a visit or two – if you’ve got the money, then continue revisiting for your favourite dishes.