Zushi Barangaroo

Scott Wallace
6th Nov 2016

Even on the would-be waterfront at the still-developing Barangaroo, surrounded by an enormous amount of dining options, Zushi stands out. The new location for Zushi, complementing locations in Darlinghurst and Surry Hills, has an elegant, minimalist appearance to its open-air layout that is echoed in the beautiful simplicity of the food that adds idiosyncratic flavours to a traditional Japanese base.

It was a gorgeous day - one of the precious ones you only tend to see in late spring - when we visited Zushi. We chose a pair of drinks that perfected the bright, slightly breezy day. When discussing Japanese cuisine, the culture's nuanced and delicate treatment of proteins is often a focus, and other aspects are forgotten, such as the use of harmonious and balanced sweet flavours. The yuzu-infused sake is a must-try on the drinks menu, adding the effervescent sourness of the Japanese citrus fruit to the richness of sake. We also tried the peach and green tea mojito, which makes for a complex and textured cocktail.

The delicacy of the drinks carried through to the first dish we tried, which was the sashimi tacos. The dish invites diners to create their own "taco" of sorts, by piling salmon, tuna, flying fish roe, avocado, and a granita also containing yuzu on light and crispy wonton crackers. The flavours are subtle, with the focus being on the juxtaposing textures of the fresh fish, the creamy avocado and the crunchy crackers. It is a playful dish, particularly with the sticky sweetness of the granita.

Next up was the sushi, which is surely among the best you will find in Sydney. The nigiri is carefully assembled, making for tiny parcels of flavour. Beyond the freshness of the assorted fish itself, which makes the different flavours and textures of each type of seafood sing, there is little more to say about this institution of Japanese cuisine. Some of the Zushi menu is so traditional that it may be expected to sit uncomfortably alongside some of the more modern, populist fare on the menu, but other bite-size treats we tried like the honey prawns and the popcorn chicken were prepared and presented with the same care for clean simplicity and rich, fulsome flavour.

The two mains we tried were the wagyu steak and the tuna steak, both of which are an event unto themselves. Wagyu beef has found its way into just about every burger shop around Sydney, but its Japanese origins are shown in the way Zushi cooks it to perfection - just slightly pink in the middle - so that the veins of perfectly rendered fat imbue rich flavour into every tender piece. Served with enticing garlic chives and shiitake mushrooms, as well as a perfectly sweet and salty apple and nashi pear soy, it is a perfect dish.

The tuna too, coated with a crust of quinoa teriyaki and served on a bed of silky wasabi mash, creates a perfect combination of the slightly sweet nuttiness of the crust with the rich flakiness of the finely seared tuna. The mains and all the dishes at Zushi show that a dish doesn't have to be complicated or enormous, or have many different elements, to be completely satisfying and utterly memorable, a distinctly Japanese approach from which a lot can be learned.

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10/33 Barangaroo Avenue
(02) 8072 7383

Mon – Thur 12pm – 3pm 6pm – 10pm

Fri – Sun 12pm – 10pm