While every nook and cranny seems to have spawned Japanese restaurants and crapulent sushi vendors, it's freshness of produce, cut of raw fish and presentation that separates this Japanese restaurant from the pack. Forget the mixed sushi plates, green tea soba salads, crunchy schnitzel-like pork and chicken and hipster-pancake-du-jour, okonomiyaki. What you need is Sushi Yachiyo.
Owner/chef Mitsuhiro Yashio has an eye for detail and his creativity shines in the unusual offerings on the menu. Sashimi (try bonito and scallop) is plated in thick, fleshy mounds and accompanied by fine slices of green shiso, a traditional Japanese herb accompaniment sourced for Sushi Yachiyo from a small grower in the Blue Mountains. Miso lettuce tsutsumi is a twist on Chinese san choy bow where grainy, almost earthy pork mince sits in snack-sized lettuce cups. Ayo negi miso salad is an anarchic array of mixed leaf lettuce and deep-fried lotus root chips, hiding an avocado cup overflowing with sweet and briny slow-baked crab. Gyutan leek yaki involves beef tongue sizzling atop a stone oil burner with tiny, tangy shards of leek scattered over the top.
Attention to detail doesn't stop with the food. A short, sharp list of sake comes by the 180ml and 350ml flagon while the wine list proffers boutique aromatic whites and sensibly balanced, food-friendly reds. Oh, and it's BYO. The space is part sleek Blade Runner-style Tokyo bunker and part traditional Izakaya, and my-oh-my is it busy. A seat at the bar will have you on top of the action and larger groups can be accommodated throughout the space. It's all tucked away under the rusty steel designer façade of 13 Kirketon Road on the crest of William Street.
Sushi Yachiyo may get very little walk-in traffic but its regulars are all but living here. Mike Bennie