toraya

mainpictureBy now, most twitter-followers would have gathered that I am a fairly fish-friendly person. This was not always the case. Back in high school, I used to not-so-obviously call home to see what was for dinner and then make frantic plans if anything fishy was involved. And then I met the salmon. And the kingfish. And the sardine. And the mackerel. And suddenly, unexpectedly, I turned into a cat. Chowing down on tins of tuna, sneaking the last bit of flathead from the serving dish before anyone else noticed.

So when my parents mentioned that they'd been to this place, this wonderful Japanese place in Chatswood, where one could order grilled mackerel, I was there. Pronto.

Toraya sits on the top floor of the Mandarin Center in Chatswood. Way back when, it used to be a vietnamese pho place (and one of the better ones too). That was a while back, before the new train station, when the library was a time zone and the kids I tutored would sneak off "to the bathroom" and come back having gone mental on a DDR machine. Or something like that.

I digress.

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lunch special! only $17.80

We arrived early for lunch, it being a non-pancake Saturday, and snagged a table next to the window. Menus were perused, water brought to the table and 1x special was ordered (with much anticipation).

And how the anticipation was met!

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mackerel set (comes with rice and soup)

Half a mackerel, sliced lengthways down its middle. Grilled to smoky, charred perfection. Oily and fishy and firm and salty. Everything a fishy fish should be! The reaction on my face must have given the game away because my parents (kind, thoughtful, gracious) immediately pushed the plate in my direction and told me to go for it.

So I ate. And I ate. And I ate some more. I ate mackerel with rice. I dipped mackerel in my miso soup. I ate mackerel rolled up in a piece of lettuce and I ate mackerel in between mouthfuls of the beef (below). I ate mackerel until I was, and I thought this could not occur though it did, fished out.

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down to the bones!

And when the fishing-out occurred, I saw that there was still fish left. And so we picked at the bones. And we picked at the bones some more. And when we stopped picking at the bones, this is what was left.

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all gone!

I was so happy.

I should probably show you what else we ate, seeing as I have gotten the fish out of the way.

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beef set (of indeterminable pricing)

I think, though I realise I should know, but don't, that this was a beef set. Well, I know it was a beef set, but the name of the beef set and the price escape me. It was tasty, that's for sure, though strangely tough and chewy. I found it hard to tear the pieces of beef apart with my teeth and ended up swallowing most of them partially chewed and mostly in large chunks. Hmm.

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demolished

It was, in any case, demolished. Part because it was so tasty (despite its chewiness) and part because there was just so much fish that we had to eat something else to distract our palates. Even if momentarily.

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We also (after the fish, and because my dad has a mild obsession with xiao long bao - think me + making pancakes, but squared) stopped by to pick up a post-lunch snack at Shanghai Gourmet.

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xiao long bao

Well, hmmm. They weren't bad if they were just steamed dumpings. As xiao long bao? Well, I'd order elsewhere. And otherwise. So possibly not ordering those again.

(I will, however be back for the fish. Did I mention the fish? Fish fish fish.)

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Plus I thought their side plates were really cute.

Toraya Japanese Restaurant
Mandarin Centre
Level 2, Shop 212, 61 Albert Ave
Chatswood NSW 2067
Ph (02) 9884 9620

5 bites more:

FFichiban said...

I found Toraya had pretty decent food but their table and chairs were still very dodgy asian style :(

And you should try Shimbashi/Ju Ge Mu for fishy fish fish ^^!

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

The term Holy Mackerel was probably made for that. That's huge! I worry I've become a bit of a cat as I am fish addict too. When I heard there were mercury scares with the fish in Sydney I looked up from eating fish for a moment and then resumed eating.

Those dumplings aren't great although I like their crispy chicken. And no-one can seem to be a better XLB than Shanghai Night.

shez said...

FFichiban: thanks for the tip (having visited your site, i'm now very tempted to head over one saturday). i almost quite like dodgy asian style, so that wasn't a big issue for me :)

Lorraine: mercury pah! so it sits in your liver forever... big deal :) the great thing about fishy fish is that you can always defend yourself with cries of "Omega3!" when people complain. and yes. dumplings were sadly lacking in good-ness. ashfield wins again!

lx said...

you think the mackerel @ toroya is huge; you should try the kingfish head o.m.g.

shez said...

lx: seriously? more so than at wakana? wahooo! book me in!

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