Rosebery isn’t exactly somewhere I would send people in search of a culinary adventure. Which is why our recent trip to Sanpo in that very suburb is a testament to how effective Facebook marketing is. Sanpo ads of their delicious looking uni gunkan maki were populating my feed on an almost regular basis. I was also getting tagged in it by other like-minded uni lovers. The cherry gang (myself, Jeff, Sarah and sometimes a sneaky cameo from Eric) were keen to try something off the beaten track and going away from our usual CBD haunts during Mardi Gras weekend seemed like the perfect plan.
Sanpo looks like your regular local Japanese takeaway. The wide windows lead to a very open environment, great for hot summers and cool evenings but I imagine rather chilly once winter is here.
Assorted Sashimi (Large) $35
Sashimi is our first order of business. The assorted selection features salmon, aburi salmon, tuna, kingfish and a couple of aburi scallops. From the get go you can already tell that the slices are a little on the thin side which isn’t just an issue about value for money but that it reduces the amount of bite and chew you’d get with each mouthful of fish. This was a bit of a downer for Jeff and myself. The freshness of the sashimi wasn’t too bad though.
Homemade Pork Gyoza (5 pieces) $10
Sarah isn’t a big fan of raw food. You’d think this would be a challenge whenever we eat Japanese food but it usually means we get to order a more diverse range of hot and cold dishes. She describes the gyoza as nice and plump but that the filling was a bit dry.
Uni (price unknown)
While uni might be heavily featured in their digital advertising, it’s actually not really anywhere on the menu so you have to know about it to ask for it as we did. So far the food is slated a little more towards the average side of the rating scale so there’s definitely a lot of anticipation surrounding the sole dish that had enticed us here. The uni gunkan maki arrives on a rather small and unassuming plate. As I bit into it, I noticed that there was quite a generous helping of uni on top and it was really fresh, briny and tasting like the sea. In terms of quality it’s almost on par with uni that I’ve had elsewhere in Sydney like Toriciya. Quite surprising considering their aforementioned sashimi wasn’t particularly stellar. The letdown for me was the rice which was slightly too vinegary for me with a texture that was in-between bite-y (what you want) and mushy (what you absolutely do not want).
Agedashi Tofu $12
Four pieces of tofu come out and they’re a bit different to the agedashi we’re used to. It seems like it’s lacking in the corn starch department which is what you’d attribute the stickiness outside of the casing usually. I didn’t have any of the tofu but Sarah happily eats my share.
Miso Eggplant Steak (Half) $10
Miso eggplant is one of my favourite Japanese dishes. Sanpo’s rendition had that perfect savoury-sweet caramelisation from the miso and it wasn’t too oily at all.
Seafood Chawanmushi (price unknown)
Chawanmushi is another hot favourite, especially in the colder months where a bit of steamed egg can really warm you right up. The menu references this as ‘seafood’ but it’s mostly just fish, which is interesting as I don’t think I’ve ever had fish in chawanmushi before. The egg was piping hot and silky smooth albeit slightly thicker than usual. While the fish was nice, I don’t think it was all that necessary an addition as it took away from the clean dashi taste that you’d normally associate with chawanmushi. I’d order a regular chawanmushi next time.
Pumpkin Cheese Croquette (price unknown)
“Cheesy pumpkin was cheesy and pumpkiny as advertised. Crunchy on the outside. But quite oily.” – Sarah Han
I don’t usually blog about average venues but I’m fairly sure lots of you would have seen the Facebook ad as well. In some ways, it was accurate advertising as the uni really was quite fresh. However the other dishes were okay borderline average so I don’t think uni alone is enough to make me want to come back.