June 7, 2011

Feast @ Guu Sakabar

I was long due for a visit to Guu's newest location on Bloor and Bathurst. Thankfully, this location has an indoor waiting area. I must admit that my 2-hour wait at Guu Izakaya last time scarred me quite a bit, so I was glad that the wait this time was only 20 minutes.
Macha Coco (Malibu+Macha+Milk+Whipping Cream). This was basically a green tea latte with alcohol and it was very tasty!
I wasn't a big fan of the assorted Japanese style deep kebab, which includes quail egg, onion, mushroom and perhaps some other items that I did not try. It just wasn't special enough, and I wish they added some twist to it.
Carbonara udon: creamy udon with bacon, onion, and half boiled egg. I heard a lot of good things about this dish beforehand, but I was somewhat disappointed. The dish didn't wow me like I expected it would. For me, the overall texture with the runny half boiled egg was too slimy. The yolk was fine, but I'm not a big fan of raw egg white.
Ebi mayo: deep fried prawn with spicy mayo. This was generically good, as anything deep fried and slathered with mayo should be.
One of my favourites of the night was the Hire Katsu from the daily special menu- rice burger with pork tenderloin cutlet, Taiwanese cabbage, homemade tartar sauce. This was the first time that I had a rice burger and I absolutely loved it! The rice bun had an interesting texture that worked really well with the pork tenderloin cutlet and pink tartar sauce. I had a quarter of this burger and I wanted a whole one all to myself!
Temari zushi - torched salmon, cream cheese, sushi balls - was definitely an enjoyable bite. The torching brings out the fattiness in the salmon, and the cream cheese added an extra touch of creaminess to the sushi ball.
My other favourite was  the takoyaki gratin: creamy octopus balls gratin. I didn't actually eat a lot of octopus, but the mixture of cheese, potatoes, and mushrooms was delectable!
Negi-toro: chopped spicy tuna with green onion, served with nori seaweed. I enjoyed the lightness of this dish, but the tuna wasn't very spicy.
Assorted oden: Japanese style slow cooked hot pot. My mom often makes oden at home so this didn't stand out as much to me.
Gyuu Karu: beef sashimi with yuzu pepper dressing, mustard mayo, onion. The raw sliced beef was still a little too tough for me, but I enjoyed it more this time around than when I had it at Guu Izakaya. I liked the bright, delicate flavours which was very refreshing after the numerous deep-fried, mayo-slathered concoctions. Ironically, there was mayo in this dish too, but it wasn't overpowering and just added a touch of creaminess.
Okonomiyaki: deep fried pancake with yakisoba noodles, tonkatsu sauce and mayo. This was my first time trying this dish despite the fact that it's also available at Guu Izakaya. I don't always love tonkatsu sauce, but in this case, I thought it complemented the pancake quite nicely with the mayo. It was also rather filling.
Onto the desserts! The almond flavour was definitely very prominent in the almond tofu, which ruined the dessert for me because I wasn't a fan of that artificial almond flavour.
Goma zukushi: sesame ice cream with sesame rice cake and cracker. I felt like I could have put this together at home myself, because wafer crackers and sesame ice cream aren't that hard to find. It reminded me of the ice cream parfait dessert from Guu Izakaya (which was simply fruits + corn flakes + ice cream). Points for creativity, but it didn't impress me. The ice cream melted too fast and after a short while, all we had was mochi balls drowned in melted ice cream.
After two misses with desserts, the roasted green tea cheesecake finally scored a hit! The cake was perfectly creamy and not too cheesy, and the roasted green tea added to the flavour profile but didn't overpower the cake. I liked this cheesecake a lot more than the daily ones from Guu Izakaya.
I wouldn't say that I prefer this location over the old one, and I'm glad to see that the two places have different offerings. I would definitely go back to both locations, but I'd stick to the Sakabar in the winter to avoid the cold wait.
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