When you can't decided between eating Spanish or Japanese food, have both at Spanish Sakaba!
Treat yourself to Sushi-rice Paella, Angus Beef Katsu or Frozen Sake Sangria - just to sample a few dishes off the menu.
But if you thought this was a fusion Spanish and Japanese restaurant, you'd be wrong. Rather, it's a blend of two food cultures chef Yamanishi believe are very similar in style; "sakaba-style" (a more family version of Izakaya) and Spanish tapas. While some dishes are fusion-inspired, most dishes are traditionally Spanish or Sakaba dishes.
- Setting & Atmosphere
- Value For Money
Setting And Atmosphere
Cool and eclectic, Spanish Sakaba’s style is reminiscent of an Izakaya restaurant with a family dining structure. The walls are adorned 1950s-esque Japanese retro signage similar to that of Mappen and Oiden located in Sydney city. This, combined with neon signs and the bar on full display, give typical Izakaya ‘night time drinking’ vibes, amongst a fully lit restaurant set up with tables big enough to accomodate families. In fact, I especially love that you can almost always find a Japanese family dining here – it just make things more authentic to me (haha).
Funny Japanese gags were scattered throughout the restaurant (most of which went over my head) like the yellow suited guy featured on the “Order at the counter” sign. While I didn’t understand them, I appreciated these little slices of personality.
When I first heard about Spanish Sakaba serving Japanese and Spanish dishes in its menu I was instantly intrigued – what a unique combo! Expecting a fusion restaurant, I was surprised to see the menu, particularly at dinner, comprised of mainly Spanish and Japanese dishes with only a few fusion dishes. The reason? This restaurant is about the fusion of two eating styles (sakaba and tapas) not necessarily the fusion of cuisines. So while tables spreads may comprise of fushion dishes like Sushi rice paella, Angus beef katsu and frozen sake-sangria, tables are more likely to adorn a plate of chorizo, separately to a plate of sashmi, yakitori skewers, zucchini flowers, traditional Sangria and so on. See the difference?
For our table spread, we ordered two of the daily lunch specials; the first being the Bowlillabaisse. Spelt strangely, I’m assuming this name was a pun on the word “Godzilla” because it was a big bowl of ramen (gotta love when your dishes are served with a side of humour!). Plated up with fresh king prawns, mussels, wontons and ramen noodles – all cooked perfectly, the broth was the hero of this dish with its strong, aromatic, seafood flavours that heavily reminded me of those beautiful Spanish broths. To accompany the ramen, you had the choice to combine it with Chilli, Aoili or Lemon. We decided that all worked well and combined everything together. Mmmm delish!
The second was the spicy king fish poke bowl. Featuring simple and traditional flavours, the dish was pleasant, however didn’t stand out amongst the poke bowl competition in Sydney at the moment.
On the side we enjoyed Sakaba’s shoestring fries topped with kewpie mayo, otafuku sauce, aonori (dried green seaweed, and shichimi pepper. Yummm, I can imagine this would be an amazing late night snack with alcohol.
We washed it all down with a cheeky mid-day frozen sake-sangria and mocktail.
Service here was cute and friendly. The waitress was obviously new, but very keen to try to recommend dishes and find out anything she didn’t know.
Value for money
I think the pricing here is acceptable. Dishes are smaller than expected, but good quality.
537 Willoughby Road, Willoughby
(02) 9967 0575
Mon to Fri: 11.30am–2.30pm, 5.30pm–10pm
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