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17° & PARTLY CLOUDY ON SATURDAY 20 JULY IN BRISBANE
By Sophia Edwards
November 12, 2013
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Moga Izakaya & Sushi

The place is festooned with paper lanterns and dried blossom branches.
By Sophia Edwards
November 12, 2013
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BOOK A TABLE

Opening this year in Rosalie Village, Moga Izakaya & Sushi gives patrons a couple of dining options. Upon arrival you'll be asked whether you'd like to eat at the sushi train or a la carte. If you choose the former, you'll be led to a cosy room at the back. The latter option allows you to more easily enjoy what is quite an impressive fitout.

The casual dining area is very spacious and semi-open, with trees and shrubbery in a middle strip of the restaurant. The place is festooned with paper lanterns and dried blossom branches. Seating consists largely of high stools, with some regular tables as well. The whole look is pleasingly cohesive.

The menu explains the origin of the restaurant's name. 'Moga' is a reference to the 'modern girls' of the 1920s/30s – Japanese women who adopted Western fashion and other cultural imports. It is an apt title for the restaurant. The food is certainly Japanese, but with unmistakable international influences and modern tweaks.

The effect is generally successful. The white sesame mousse with grilled almonds and green tea ice cream is a treat, but the jury is still out on the battered and deep fried takoyaki.

Other a la carte options include sashimi, nigiri, maki and hand rolls. Two of the most noteworthy items being the moga roll (flamed salmon with Hokkaido scallops, mayonnaise, grilled teriyaki and fried shallots for $18) and the mobo roll (grilled almonds and cheese, teriyaki salmon, ashinko, cucumber and mayonnaise for $17).

From the robata grill (stoked with binchotan – an extra hot burning coal from Japan made from fired oak branches) come dishes like chicken yakitori and pork spare ribs with chilli, sansho pepper and soy glaze.

As Moga adheres to the concept of izakaya style eating, the idea is to order a selection of dishes to be had with drinks. The drinks menu is diverse, though it's hard to pass up Chef Satoshi's house made ume shu – $4 for a small shot with an edible marinated plum (or four if they're feeling generous). Also highly recommended is the Ippongi Denshin Ine Junmai from Fukui – $18 for a cold 200mL glass, or $11 for a hot 130mL glass.

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