Here I go across The Bridge again. With the other half tending to family matters in NZ I got up to no good and caught up with a friend that resides north of the Bridge. Beers at noon, raw fish and beef, we were rebels.
Located at the start of Military Road is Tanpopo, one of about fourteen Japanese eateries in the neighbourhood. These guys aren’t licensed so it was byo Kirin’s all the way. I do like my Japanese beers so my eating companion chose well when running across the road to buy it. With the restaurant lacking a website I had to consult reviews and instagram photo’s for what I potentially wanted to try. It didn’t help when the lunch menu is a simmered-down version of the dinner menu. So I guess I was pushing it when I started ordering things like sushi, resulting with the rookie waitress yo-yo-ing between us and the kitchen to see if the boys were willing to make it. No we couldn’t have the aburi sushi but we were allowed to have the kingfish carpaccio (15), of which I’m grateful for. It was sensational, despite the fact it didn’t come seared as the menu described.
Chicken karaage (8) is almost always ordered when I’m Japanese-ing. The Tanpopo version is juicy and tasty but, on this lunch visit, lacked the crispiness I expect from fried chicken. Still, a good squirt with lemon and unhealthy dunk into mayo makes it great beer food.
One of the lunch highlights was the volcano roll (13); a small mountain of freshly-made tuna sushi, sliced and piled and drowned (in a good way) with bright yellow sauce and fish roe. It’s soft, a little messy with a mild chilli bite that creeps up on you.
When it’s done well I can’t help but swoon over something as simple as beef tataki (8). Thin slices of seared meat, draped over a few leaves and dressed with a sharp and vinegary emulsion. This one’s a winner. No quite the case with the seared duck fillet (16.5). Props to the boys in the kitchen for letting us have it despite it being on the dinner menu, but I was questioning where the seared came into it. This poor bird had more than it’s life taken away from it. The meat was teetering on being grey, it was dry and it went unfinished. The best part? The sweet and sticky sauce beneath the arid slices of duck. What a waste.
We noticed the table next to us received some good-looking tempura vegetables, so seeing we still had a little room left I asked if we could order some as well. Rookie waitress apologised and said they don’t do it at lunch. When we said the table next to us just got some, we were told it was something else. It was proving too difficult so it was bye-bye’s from us.
With the hits and misses at Tanpopo, I’m now wondering what the other Japanese places are like in the vicinity.