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Yakitori Yurippi

Crows Nest's tiny six-table yakitori joint.
By Marissa Ciampi
August 17, 2016
By Marissa Ciampi
August 17, 2016

Yakitori Yurippi is a tiny slice of traditional Japanese street eating in the most unlikely of places. Situated in the heart of Crows Nest, this hole-in-the-wall six-table restaurant has a surprisingly authentic charm thanks to some incredibly friendly staff, which includes a few Japanese yakitori veteran chefs and a sake sommelier to boot.

As you'd expect with a sommelier-in-residence, the display of sake is quite impressive, as is the extensive list of Japan's finest whiskies — which, if you love whisky, you'll know is some of the finest in the world. Choose your own sake glasses amongst a hodgepodge of drinking vessels and get a tasting flight to enjoy while you chow down.

A section of the dine-in menu has been seemingly created to cater for Aussie palates, but that's not what you come here for; in fact, we tend to think it should be taken off the menu altogether to let the authentic dishes truly shine. Their namesake is yakitori after all — and with an exposed charcoal grill manned by pros, it's the main drawcard.

You know the drill: choose a bunch of things on sticks and eat to your heart's content. The must-trys include the succulent scallops which are served in the shell and topped with kombu butter ($4.90 each), and the chicken and shallot ($2.90 each), which is the most popular yakitori in Japan and is done especially well here. Pork lovers shouldn't miss the pork belly ($2.90 each) or the mochi wrapped in bacon ($4.90 each), which is a strangely delicious combination — take our word for it. They've got adventurous eaters covered too, with everything from chicken liver, giblet and heart to cartilage and skin options ($2.90 each).

Of the specials, the burdock root chips ($4.90) add a crunchy, salty accompaniment to any yakitori and the Japanese omelette ($4.90) better resembles a melt-in-your-mouth souffle. If you're looking for really authentic street eats, the oden ($4.90) is your best bet. Popular as a wintertime convenience store snack, the dish is a mishmash stew of varied fish cakes, boiled eggs and broth that is certainly an acquired taste, but worth a try for a cultural eye-opener if nothing else.

Overall, this tiny Crows Nest restaurant is nothing short of a Lower North Shore gem and is worth a visit no matter what side of the bridge you reside.

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