Sunday, 10 March 2013

Oshin Japanese Restaurant - A hidden gem

The prospect of a Friday afternoon divisional leaders meeting is not always the best way to lead into the weekend, but this week we decided that a lunch meeting would be the way to go.  After perusing a list of options around the CBD the group decided on Japanese and Oshin was to be the destination.

Oshin Japanese Restaurant is probably one of the least known hatted restaurants in the CBD with an AGFG Chefs Hat. Sure, it has a dedicated following and is pretty much busy all of the time, but very few people know of it's heritage and quality.  Located upstairs at the corner of Adelaide and Creek Streets, Oshin is up some rickety stairs and opens into a compact foyer and a small but well laid out dining area.  It's not much to look at inside, the chairs and tables are old and well worn, but as a consequence seems so much more traditional.  But you don't come to Oshin for the decor, you come for the traditional Japanese cuisine.

Like many Japanese restaurants, the dining area revolves around a fairly open kitchen so you can watch the chef in action and at a busy lunch service there is action aplenty!  The menu is very extensive with a great selection of Japanese delights but for those in a rush there is also a lunch time specials menu.  After confirming that we wouldn't be group ordering and sharing, we opted to have a more comprehensive lunch from the normal menu and set about ordering our meal.

There were five of us at lunch and we all started off with a bowl of the Miso soup, which was a very nice way to start off the meal.  The miso soup was fairly traditional but thankfully it was not so steaming hot that you could not get into it immediately.  I am not a big fan of tofu, but it always seems to go down OK when its at the bottom of a bowl of miso!

NC and I had the gyoza as a starter and for me this continues the trend of trying to search out all of the gyoza joints in the CBD at the moment.  They were pan fried pork gyoza and were delicious, with the pork having a distinct flavour that worked nicely with the caramelisation of the dumpling casing.  I did find a couple of my gyoza to be a little doughy, so perhaps just a bit undercooked.

CN and FA both had the tempura but there was a bit of a mix up.  FA ordered the entree size tempura and wondered at the sheer size of the dish.  Unfortunately when CN's main size was delivered a short while later we discovered that there was a mix up.  The tempura itself was lovely and light and both entree and main sizes were had a generous number of prawns.  There was a lovely soy dipping sauce that added some saltiness to the tempura, but I would love to have seen a dipping salt provided with the meal that would have complimented the tempura batter much more nicely.

Another cross over for the day between CN and FA was the sashimi but this time in reverse.  There was a great selection of fish including kingfish, salmon and tuna that was of a very high grade and was exceedingly fresh.  The pieces that I sampled were exquisite and delicious.  Both entree and main size sashimi dishes were very well priced and great value.

My main was the teriyaki salmon steak which was two large salmon filets cooked in a teriyaki sauce that enhanced the flavour of the salmon beautifully.  The salmon was cooked to medium, so it still had that really fresh taste of the sea.  I had a bit of fun trying to break up the salmon with my chopsticks before I gave up and broke it up with a spoon.  The salmon steak was very enjoyable and the sweetness of the sauce worked well with the dish.

I didn't get to sample any of the mains from NC and DB but they ordered the teriyaki chicken and teriyaki steak.  They both looked very tasty and the feedback from both NC and DB was that the flavours were intense and they both enjoyed their mains.  All of the teriyaki mains came with a side salad that was pretty plain except for some pickled carrot, which had an interesting texture and strange taste, kind of a mix between a citrus and carrot flavour.

The rest of the team did not really want a dessert to close out the meal but I felt that something a little sweet would be a great finish to the meal.  The dessert menu was pretty limited so I opted for the  chocolate parfait, which was not a great idea.  The cream was out of a can and the ice cream was overly icy, while it looked a bit like a traditional parfait it seemed more like a chocolate sundae.  I ended up eating about a third before giving up and letting nature take its course (melting the ice cream into soup).

As far as team meetings go this was a far better way to engage with the team than being stuck in a meeting room, especially as it was a much nicer day in Brisbane than it had been for weeks.  Many of us had eaten at Oshin before and I found out that it was quite a regular lunchtime destination for DB.  What was even better was the boss covered this as a belated Christmas gift to the team, so that was pretty sweet!

I had only been to Oshin a couple of times before and the food had always been very nice and today was no exception.  The dishes were very traditional Japanese (apart from the dessert) and were full of flavour and all very generous sizes.  While we agreed at the beginning that it would not be 'sharesies' we did end up sharing much of the meal, Japanese just has that effect on a group.

The service on the day was friendly but the waitresses did not speak great english, so while were treated to a traditional Japanese environment there were some mistakes with the wrong meals going to the wrong people.  Minor annoyances aside, Oshin provides a great Japanese option in the CBD with the food equalling some of it's fancier rivals.


Oshin Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon Oshin Japanese Restaurant


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