A brief stroll from Chinatown and the Adelaide Central Markets.PROFILED BY DE GROOTS MEDIA
For 25 years Matsuri has been charming and impressing with traditional decor and cuisine. Countless souls have ventured up its well-trodden stairs. As you reach their top, the scene is set – a delicate sliding door waits. Guide it aside and step into a miniature Japanese garden. Ignore the illuminated Asahi sign and take joy from ornate potted palms, blooms and bamboo. A pebbled path leads to the dining room which is aglow with pearly paper lanterns. The subdued light is welcome in times of generous saki or Sapporo consumption. The space is halved into Japanese and “western” sections. Slip off the shoes and sink to the floor for an authentic Matsuri experience. Should your feet be on the nose or your gammy leg playing up, you’d best be seated upright in the western end. Either way, you will be treated to cracker cuisine.
John and Mitsuyo Hirata opened the sliding door to Matsuri in 1986 and today their son George is the sushi chef. The menu is awesome in length, but not in a “I will have dish number 202” fashion. A gamut of Japanese cooking is present aside from the flash of the teppanyaki grill. Summon some moreish edamame (devilishly good, salted soya beans) and plunge in. Try seafood selections of savoury octopus pancakes, shredded squid sashimi with soba sauce, teriyaki kingfish and tempura oysters with yuzu salt. Meaty options include fried garlic chicken with mayonnaise, crumbed pork with tonkatsu sauce and duck steak with ponzu sauce. Hotpots bring beef and vegetables in a rich, sweet soya broth. Noodles garner a rich “Japanese curry” with udon and side dishes like salmon fried rice. Then there are endless sushi ingredients – raw scallops, tempura string beans, salted plum pastes, prawns, marinated bean curds, crispy grilled salmon skins…