Azuma has always been mysterious in its Sugar Hit offerings, only ever describing theirs as an “East meets West Dessert Tasting Plate”. This year is no different and, while their signature bento box presentation remains, its contents are for you to discover. But, here is a preview...
Served with a choice of either Brown Brothers’ Cienna Rosso or a special in-house blend of Japanese green tea, the former has the appearance of sparkling Ribena and, as noted by Tina, smells of strawberries. It’s very easy to drink, in a girly alcopop kind of way.
One bento is childlike and playful with the ‘Kawaii Panna Cotta’ of soy and cow’s milk, with Okinawa brown sugar jelly at the bottom and a smiley face replete with sugar-coated crunchy soba hair. Alongside is a wonderfully tart and citrusy yuzu sorbet on a bed of popping candy – make sure you eat this before the candy disappears into the melting sorbet!
In the other bento is a simultaneously fudgy yet light ‘Gateaux Chocolat’ topped with cream, fruit and candied violet bits. Marbled, chocolate-vanilla sugar cookies offer more crunch with a lucky dip sample of sake either of plum, cloudy yuzu (my pick of the lot) or plain cloudy sake.
And because you cannot survive on sugar alone – trust me, I consume way too much of it each October! – Azuma kindly offered us some savoury starters. Skewered chicken meatballs with teriyaki sauce were tender but trumped by perfectly-pink grilled duck breast with sansho pepper and yuzu dressing. Then it was the more substantial aburi salmon nigiri and tempura prawn inside-out maki to follow, where I marvelled at how the sushi rice was wetter and stickier than I’ve ever had yet not mushy.
The biggest news of the evening was that the family of Azuma eateries currently at Regent Place – Azuma Kushiyaki, Ton Ton, Azuma Patisserie – will all soon be closing, and hence the change of location for this year’s Sugar Hit. I let out a gasp at this news and wondered how I would survive without their matcha frozen yoghurt and array of chiffon cakes! But, never fear, they will be relocating to new locations within the city so keep your eyes peeled.
Mademoiselle Délicieuse and Monsieur Poisson dined as guests of Azuma Restaurant.
Chifley Plaza, Level 1, Chifley Square, cnr Phillip & Hunter St, Sydney
Tel: (02) 9222 9960