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Sato’s menu is a sizeable parade of entrees, hand-shaped or rolled sushi rolls, main courses, banquets, hotpots, soup broths, rice, noodles and dessert. If you need a tour guide to navigate you through then look no further than proprietor Fumito Arai. Seriously – when not at the restaurant he leads a double life as tourist advisor to Japanese holiday makers. He might recommend you start with an entree of fermented soybeans with raw tuna (natto tataki), or the nasu dengaku, a rich treat of deep-fried eggplant embellished with sweet soybean paste. I quite liked the plump pot-sticker dumplings with charming characters cloaked in gyoza sauce.
When it comes to mains, dishes are predominantly deep and pan-fried: prawn tempura with tentsuyu dipping sauce, crumbed pork katsu, glossy sweet teriyaki chicken, and beef pan-fried shogayai style with warming ginger. Do not let the solitary grilled main course of unagi kabayaki, or eel, slip past your chopsticks; and forego the usual miso soup to dabble instead in the Japanese egg and chicken consomme. Hotpots offer seafood or meats cooked in a variety of savoury stocks which can also be used for a flavourful drizzle over a side of rice with hakusai cabbage and shiitake mushroom. For the ultimate experience in taste and aesthetics (and price), indulge in a banquet of traditional “kaiseki cuisine”. It is a highly stylised procession of exquisitely prepared small dishes. Sato’s version includes the sublime chawanmushi – a savoury steamed egg custard with ingredients such as prawn suspended within its delicate softness.