Nishiki Robata-Yaki Bar

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5 reviews
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100 Wellington Street,
Freemans Bay

(09) 376 7104

The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byCandice Reed20/11/2009

Nishiki in Freemans Bay is a Japanese Robata-Yaki bar, which means enjoying food and drink in a laid-back social environment while being able to watch the chefs in action in the kitchen.

Nishiki, which also has a restaurant in Botany and oddly enough Hong Kong, works hard to deliver on its promise. Having the heads up on what I should expect at a Robata-Yaki bar I ran a quick checklist over with my partner when we arrived. Food – check, drink – check, social environment – check, kitchen view – check, laid-back – ummm, not quite.

See we hadn’t booked and it was a busy Friday night. There was a table spare, but it was only free for an hour and although we’d ordered and eaten within a steady 40 minutes giving us 20 minutes to spare we were politely reminded of the time limit with gestures to the clock and pay-counter.

We took the hint and settled the bill, but despite the rush we both left content and very aware next time it will pay to book in advance.

Unlike European style food and service, Robata-Yaki bar’s don’t have a course style and because a chef on the grill might be busier than the sushi chef expect your food to come out in any which way. And the best way to eat is to order several small dishes to share and indulge in the many tantilizing options on the menu.

As well as the standard plain rice we ordered chikumayo (grilled tube fish cake with mayonnaise and green seaweed, $6.50), mushroom nikuzume (flat mushroom stuffed with chicken mince, $7.50), tori soboro meshi (teriyaki chicken mince on rice, $6) and ebi mayo (deep fried prawns, $6).

Although the restaurant and staff were busy our meals came out from the kitchen relatively quickly and together so we could pick our way from one to another and back again when we found a favourite. Mine was the chikumayo, his was the mushroom nikuzume. To drink, of course, there is sake, sake and more sake. Beer, wine, spirits and soft drink lovers are also catered for, and it is help yourself to jugs of water and Japanese tea.

Service is a floating, rotating staff, but all are polite, pleasant and helpful considering how packed the place was. And each had a giggle as I attempted to pronounce the foreign dish names, encouraging me when I was right and correcting me when I was wrong.

In all Nishiki is a great place to experience authentic Japanese food in a traditional relaxed ‘isagaiya’ or Japanese pub-style setting which is not going to break the bank. Nishiki has terrific prices on all its meals and well worth the effort to book and head along for an evening.

Nishiki Robata-Yaki Bar has been reviewed by 5 users

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