Monday, 1 July 2013

Rin (Japanese restaurant)

I have loved Japanese food for around 30 years since my virgin Japanese meal at David Quon’s Sakura Japanese Restaurant in Salamanca. David set the bar impossibly high for anyone following in his footsteps, as many have done since, so it was with great interest that Bec and I lunched at the much-talked-about Rin (Japanese restaurant) on Friday.

I was impressed that Rin was one of the restaurants who were invited to participate and have a stall at the Dark Mofo Feast at PW1 last week – a singular honour for such a relatively new restaurant.

Rin is in Harrington Street in the vicinity of St Marys (church and school), and is on my daily driving route, so I have passed it every day since they opened, thinking to myself “I must get in there and try their food”. It took me long enough, but at last I made it.

My benchmark Hobart Japanese restaurant is, as I mentioned, Sakura. I have enjoyed many Japanese meals in the intervening years, mostly at Orizuru (at Mures) or Kawasemi (Moonah), but no one has managed to topple Sakura as yet.

We dined simply on miso, then tempura and rice, and a BBQ steak and rice dish (average cost of mains is around $17). All faultless and enjoyable, but I have to be honest and say it didn’t absolutely knock my socks off. I will definitely return because, as I said, the food was fine, I love Japanese, and it’s on my way home. I will try their sushi and inari next time. But I’m afraid that David Quon, to me, remains the King of Japanese food in Hobart. Please come back out of retirement David, and show these young whippersnappers how it’s done!

167 Harrington Street
Ph: 0427 634 574
On Facebook so check days/times they're open.
It's a tiny place, so probably wise to book, especially for nights. 


Sir Grumpy said...

Hello Rita,

I love Japanese too, but only for the cooked dishes.
I remember Sakura well, dipping bits of meat and veggies into the soup stock with its own little burner ``fondue-style'' and supping on Japanese beers.
The Japanese waitresses shuffling about in traditional costumes, wearing those funny shoes with the sock that had a divide for the big toe!
It were lovely it were. The cafe-sushi places I've tried recently are very slow on the cooked dishes, very slow, so I have all-but given up.
I may go to this place however.
Thanks for that and keep well.

Rita said...

Yay! Sir Grumpy is back! I thought you might have defected Sir G! Thank god - normality is restored! Yes - do give Rin a try. Take the good lady there for lunch one day - I think they open at 11.00 am, so you can get in before the "rush" hour.
And I am feeling a heap better than I have for the last 3 years, thanks for the thoughts. x

Anonymous said...

I recall eating at a Japanese restaurant at Salamanca only a short time after arriving in Tasmania 9 years ago. It was up on the top floor somewhere near the Ball and Chain I think..?? Would that have been Sakura?

Regardless, while Kawasemi is my choice for Japanese these days it just doesn't cut it for fine dining. I'd love it if someone opened up a Japanese restaurant serving good quality sashimi, nigiri, authentic ramen and the many other more unusual Japanese dishes (maybe even some proper okonomiyaki?!!).

Regarding Rin, the opening hours are what's stopped me from getting there. I don't work in town which makes it quite difficult. One day...

Thanks for the review! :)

Rita said...

There was a Japanese restaurant where you are describing Andrew, but it wasn't David Quon's original Sakura. Can't remember the name of it, (it might even have been called Sakura)but it definitely wasn't David Quon's Sakura. It was OK when it opened but in the end, owner was prosecuted after (I think) health department found raw corned beef behind the bar which they'd been using in their sushi. Gross!

The thing that made David's restaurant so special was indeed what you lamented - it was a high class Japanese restaurant where you took your shoes off at the door, and sat on the floor on matting, at beautifully lacquered tables, and ate top class food, as well as all those beautiful dishes cooked at the table, like Sukiyaki, Shabu Shabu etc. Beautiful Japanese wines and beers, as well as the much-missed (by me!) Akadama Plum Wine - the Japanese equivalent of a sherry, or port. Staff dressed in genuine Japanese costumes. It was fabulous, and very theatrical. Expensive but worth every cent.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that sounds like the perfect restaurant!! The ritual associated with eating in the traditional Japanese style makes for a very different dining experience.

I also feel that the alcoholic beverages from Japan (besides their beer) are really under appreciated in Australia. It's a shame because they are delicious. We love awamori shouga (rice spirit with ginger) over ice on a hot day. So refreshing!

LaCarteNoire said...

Rita! How funny, I was only thinking about the disaster of a 'restaurant' that Sakura became after David Quon sold. Years ago, I experienced my only ever incidence of food poisoning after eating there. I ate (what I thought was) raw tuna nori rolls, amongst other things. Upon leaving I saw a huge slab of what appeared to be corned beef on the counter behind the bar (!). It was sitting on a meat juice-soaked tea towel and a waitress was hacking bits off to later become their sushi filling. I questioned her as to which dish they were using corned beef in (politely and inquisitively) to which she became very cagey and didn't give me an answer. It had been sitting there all night, in the warm, uncovered (and probably all day!) 18 hours of extraordinarily violent illness ensued...A fortnight later they'd been closed down by Public Health. I didn't report my illness (after working in hospitality for many years I'm not one to assume that gastro is always caused by the last thing one has eaten!).

My favourite Japanese in Hobart of late is Miyabi in Elizabeth St (former Just Add Wine). A great representation of Japanese Izakaya fare. Great staff, good food and super cheap too. Worth trying at least.

Anonymous said...

Yes no doubt Sakura of old has not been remotely contested as Japanese dining at it's absolute best! Some of best food memories with shabu shabu and sukiyaki but was whole package - intimate and authentic and exciting......Rin is good but home style and doesn't have the refined elements of Sakura.....

Sir Grumpy-san said...

Boy all this talk of Japanese has me wishing an original style Sakura would open at Kingston.
What's that you laugh...fat chance.
I'd be willing to start a petition to rename Kingston Emperor-ton in Emperor Prefecture.
Now pass me the Sapporo.....

Anonymous said...

Now to change the theme from Japanese.Just heard Garigistes is for Sale as the owners are splitiing - is it true, hope not....please dont be true, please dont be true.
Spag Blog

Rita said...

Hi Spag Blog - love the name btw! - yes I too have been told this lately by a few people. Don't know for sure. They will leave a huge gap if they do close up though.

PS - Sir G - did you see the complimentary comment about you on my Facebook page last week?

Rita said...

PPS - the comment wasn't written by me - it was one of my blog readers.

Sir Grumpy said...

Compliments, me? No, can't be true Rita. Surely not. well, I never...well hardly ever!
PS How do you get into that Facebookie thing. (Me the dinosaur, don't even have a mobile phone).

Rita said...

A guy named Matthew Rigby wrote the following on the Rita's Bite Facebook page..... "I just have to post here and say, I love reading Sir Grumpy's blog comments! Ohhh his old-fashioned-pommy humour is always worth a read!"
5 July at 19:18. Rita's Bite and Tahlia Ann White like this..
Write a comment....Rita's Bite wrote "Agreed Matthew! Sometimes over the years I have wondered "Are you for real?" in response to some of his comments, but he has really grown on me, and he still is one of my most faithful and consistent commenters on the blog". 5 July at 21:00.

sir grumpy said...

My God, Rita, I found the comment. Wow.
Old-fashioned pommy humour? I was just telling Russell Brand some jokes the other day, right up to date they were.
Look to prove I'm hip (not hip replaced), I'll skip up the stairs to put some Jethro Tull and Deep Purple on the record player.

Destin malls said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Sir Grumpy - plenty of fine places to eat and drink in Kingston - exactly what are you looking for???

Sir Grumpy said...

Just decent grub anon. Fave is Asian but nothing appeals here.

La Venezia Pizza is going good at the moment but can't eat pizza every time.
Mures is fine but I want more fish!
Juiced Up at Kingston Beach is good all round.
The Beach and its next-door-neighbour at Blackmans Bay are good.
Solace Pizza and Pasta at BBay is very good.
What else is there?
(Golden Tulip patisserie is good too, nearly forgot and Bredd is fine also).

Anonymous said...

Sir Grumpy it has gone from famine to feast in Kitchen.

You want Asian?
Two choices:
Chopsticks - absolute rubbish.
Thai in channel court - amazing authentic food. I know you like it hotter or whatever, just ask, they can make each dish to suit your tastes.

La Venezia Pizza is really good, so is PEP pizza at Kingston beach.

Want good sushi? head to the little shop near coles. Fresh, and friendly staff.

Want amazing fresh fish and decent hot takeaways - C2U at the Kingston hotel complex. Mures constantly put the prices up, food isn't fresh and current location is awful with all the building works.

Want casual dining?
Beachfront32 at Kingston beach - great breakfast, lunch, dinner and tapas, a lot of the food is fresh and all very yummy.

Avoid Juiced Up at Kingston Beach like the plague - food has gone massively downhill since the lady seemed to take over the cooking... The actual chef left. If you like stale cake and bad coffee from staff with no clue what they are doing, go for juiced up at Kingston beach.

Timeless way in channel court is awful. Bad food, bad coffee and rude staff.

Citrus Moon at Kingston Beach is still packed everyday! Very fresh food

Praties and Flynns Cafe both shut down in July 2013.

I love Breadd but many of the staff are too busy being hipster to be friendly - and $9 for a salad roll is just a rip off really....

Sir Grumpy said...

Hello Anon,

thanks. I didn't kow Praties had closed, you sure?
C2U makes it on our radar too.
Don't like Thai food, too much sugar and fish sauce.
Have tried that place you mention coupla time for wife's sake, but I found it very limited in range.
That and the fact that most asian places serve food that is too sweet for me (I love savoury) was enough to write off Thai food.
Can't do sushi but use that place for hot dishes now and again and it is good.
I haven't been to Juiced Up for ages and so didn't know there had been a switch. HMM.

Anonymous said...

Quite sure, Mr G!

Sfuso in blackmans bay is still decent and reliable

Hey, what's the Asian place in Blackers like now?

Sir Grumpy said...

Asian at BBay was quite good last time we had it.
Bit oily and presentation lacked a bit but there was lots of well-spiced food.
Tends to chuck lots of whole dried chillies into the dish at wok stage and leave them in.
Not sure why this fashion should start, I see it elsewhere.
Don't know too many people who would wade through half a dozen or eight fried whole-dried chillies.
We, of course, fish them out.
We have found the owners and their staff to be a cheerful, helpful there.

Channel Dweller said...

Ahoy Sir G,

have you tried the Phuong Vietnamese at Electrona?

Sir Grumpy said...

Yes, Channel Dweller,

A lovely lass cooked us up a storm on one Saturday at lunchtime.
The menu was a bit limited and the decor is, er, eccentric _ but food good and so we will go back. Thanks for the reminder, might pop in there tomorrow, we're going down that way.

Rita said...

Oooh Sir G - I see on Facebook tonight you have been dubbed by Graham Bannister as "the Graham Phillips of the Channel" due to your dining out experiences down that way! Move over Graham, here comes Sir Grumpy!!

Anonymous said...

Eccentric? Sounds like our very own Sir G


Sir Grumpy said...

My goodness,

Graham Phillips of the Channel.

Here's me thinking I was more a Gordon Ramsay, but less nice.

Bugger, I'll need to get an image makeover.

ally said...

Lovely memories here as I worked as a waitress at the Sakura for years...I still dream about the sukiyaki and shabu shabu. These days I get my Japanese fix at Orizuru (the chef, Shige is friendly and generous as well as talented in the kitchen) but we tried Rin last week and were not disappointed at fact we'll definitely be back