Japanese crisp and cuisine is delightful
LIGHT, delicate, clean.
Just three words to describe Japanese cuisine.
At Izakaya Geisha Japanese Restaurant, in Noosaville, the food is assuredly light, definitely delicate, and sings with clean flavours.
Every one of the four dishes we enjoyed was presented with flair and had the all-the important nuances of technique and flavour so synonymous with Japanese food.
In the corner building above the small convenience store in Weyba Rd, Geisha overlooks the tree tops with glimpses of the river.
It is not an easy location but it worked well for Humid. Long before that in the '90s it also worked for Paul Blain who opened his landmark Chilli Jam Cafe there to great applause.
Over the years, many happy customers have left the comfort of Hastings St and Gympie Tce and made their way up the stairs to the lofty two-level space in Weyba Rd.
Now it is Geisha's turn to show us how the venue can work with a Japanese theme.
Geisha has a pleasant vibe with mood lighting, soft furnishings and a few well placed object d'art.
But up there now in that elevated place, it really is all about the food.
A starter of salmon tataki gave the taste buds a rousing wake up.
Salmon, quickly seared to moist pinkness on the inside and then thinly sliced, came with a sprinkling of chopped green onion and slivers of fried garlic.
A drizzle of yuzu ponzu - a citrus and soy sauce - enhanced the salmon which, if you closed your eyes and stretched the imagination, was like biting into silk.
The fried garlic and green onions added the all-important textural hit.
Gyoza, traditionally a Chinese dish but now a permanent fix in Japanese cuisine, came to the table in an unusual presentation: pan fried on one side to crispness, then turned and
left moist on the other side.
These delicious little love bites come vegetarian style or filled with seafood.
After dipping in dashi (a Japanese sauce/soup), these small beauties were popped whole into the mouth. Happiness.
Geisha's menu covers all bases with several salads (the scallop soy butter salad called but we couldn't fit it in) and 11 starters including mini kimchi dumplings (a Korean speciality) and agedashi tofu (silken tofu, cubed and deep fried.)
Eight mains have all palates taken care of with a chicken katsu curry, a teriyaki salmon steak, and kara-age chicken.
They would all make satisfying dishes but it had to be steak for us. Again presented tataki style - seared to retain juices and then thinly sliced - it came with a disc of fried root vegetable and a sesame dressing.
"Japanese waygu is usually used for this dish," owner Sang Lee said.
"But we use Tasmanian eye fillet. We think it is much better quality than Japanese waygu."
We weren't about to argue as we picked up slices of the perfect meat with our chopsticks and dunked them in the sauce.
A towering dish of tempura prawns completed our choices. Tender, lightly battered prawns were complemented by tempura asparagus and sweet potato (called Hawaiian potato on Geisha's menu.)
Appetites sated, we had to skip a Japanese pancake we'd salivated over on the menu, a pity as it sounded unusual.
"This pancake is street food in Japan," Sang Lee said.
"It is cooked tepanki style and we use seafood, bacon, cheese and cabbage with the main character of thinly shaved dried fish."
One to get the taste buds sitting up and paying attention.
Sushi, sashimi and nigri are all on the menu to keep devotees happy.
Desserts include green tea ice-cream and a Japanese sweet crepe.
There is a lot to like about Geisha and followers of Japanese cuisine will be happy to have it in Noosaville.
It is opened for lunch with good specials around $10 which include a Japanese curry, teriyaki chicken, beef rice bowl, and chicken and egg rice bowl.
Three women chefs oversee the kitchen - Violet Son, head chef, and Lucy Kang and Olivia Kim.
The BYO licence with a $3 corkage charge makes it attractive, and the space up there is large enough for small functions, events and parties.
Most items on the menu are available as take-away.
Izakaya Geisha Japanese restaurant,
195 Weyba Rd, Noosaville.
P: 5455 6913
BYO $3 corkage
Average prices: E: $14: M: $30: D$8.
Open for lunch six days, dinner 7 nights.