Restaurant 16, Neutral Bay

Cured trout with konbu seaweed, lemon, lime, orange zest & EVOO

Cured trout with konbu seaweed, lemon, lime, orange zest & EVOO

What are the similarities between Italian and Japanese cooking?

In many ways, we can draw parallels between these two great cuisines of the world. The Italian ravioli has the equivalent of a wonton or the huge variety of Chinese dumplings such as gow gee, wor tip and the like. Spaghetti or linguine are similar to hokkien and rice noodles or Japanese udon or soba.

But what do you get when you have a Japanese chef, who has worked in the kitchen of an iconic Sydney Italian like Buon Ricordo headed by non other than Armando Percuoco?

Restaurant 16 is a combination of head chef Toru Ryu‘s Japanese background with fresh and innovative Italian style cooking and his experience working along side chef Percuoco.

Situated in the heart of the dining strip along Military road in Neutral Bay, this smallish space is compactly designed where some of its wines are displayed at the window while an L-shaped dining room makes this place a cosy nook for a date night in the North Shore.

However, I suspect diners that come here every evening are not heavy on the romance but more to sample what’s on the menu.

Toru Ryu, Head chef, Restaurant 16, Neutral Bay, Sydney

Toru Ryu, Head chef, Restaurant 16, Neutral Bay, Sydney

We are here with a party of six friends and I have been recommended by restaurateur Terry Nishiura, owner of Jurin and HaNa-Jurin restaurants in Crows Nest this is one of his favourite Italian restaurant in Sydney.

There is something about a Japanese chef cooking French or Italian in Sydney. The precision, creativity and passion tells me that we are on to something decent tonight.

Special scallops with balsamic and pesto $36

Special scallops with balsamic and pesto $36

A scallop with balsamic and pesto arrives like a piece of art by Jackson Pollock. Black strips of balsamic is juxtaposed against bright green dollops of pesto.

Special scallops with balsamic and pesto $36

Special scallops with balsamic and pesto $36

I always marvel at restaurants that manage to cook scallops beautifully – golden brown and crusty on the outside and gently rare and succulent inside. The tangy balsamic, pesto and tomato reduction are elegant, subtle and complemented the tender scallops beautifully.

Cured trout with konbu seaweed, lemon, lime, orange zest & EVOO $17.00

Cured trout with konbu seaweed, lemon, lime, orange zest & EVOO $17.00

One of the signatures of Restaurant 16 is the cured trout with konbu seaweed, lemon, lime, orange zest and extra virgin olive oil.

This dish arrives with six finely sliced piece of fish sprinkled with finely grated zest and a couple of crispy croutons.

Cured trout with konbu seaweed, lemon, lime, orange zest & EVOO

Cured trout with konbu seaweed, lemon, lime, orange zest & EVOO

It is difficult to go far wrong with citrusy flavours against the soft and gentle flavours of the fish and this course is one delicious mouthful.

Petaluma Riesling 2000

Petaluma Riesling 2000

We brought three bottles of wine to accompany the food and a 2000 Petaluma riesling from my cellar comes out in a golden coloured honey that tasted sweet and rounded from years of cellaring.

Chateau Rollan de By 2005

Chateau Rollan de By 2005

A Chateau Rollan de By 2005 is elegant with beautiful flavours of ripened berries and layers of subtle complexity.

Linguine with scallops and borttarga $29

Linguine with scallops and borttarga $29

A linguine with scallops and borttarga reeks of home cooking with the added salty complexity of the fish roe. The scallops are soft and succulent while the pasta is al dente. The sauce makes this special because it has all the flavours of an aromatic seafood dish.

Pappardelle with beef/pork ragu, ricotta, tomato and parmesan $20

Pappardelle with beef/pork ragu, ricotta, tomato and parmesan $20

A pappardelle with beef ragu looks hearty with a generous sprinkle of parmesan on the top. This is a beautiful winter dish because it is warming where flavoursome  and tender pieces of beef go so well with broad pasta ribbons.

Spatchcock stuffed with mixed mushroom rissoto $30

Spatchcock stuffed with mixed mushroom rissoto $30

A spatchcock arrives golden brown and a little crispy from the oven. We pry it open to see some stuffed creamy risotto. The savoury sauce is full of flavour from the meat and it becomes a wonderful accompaniment for the meat and rice.

Medallion fillet of beef with panfried potato rosti & honey balsamic sauce $33

Medallion fillet of beef with panfried potato rosti & honey balsamic sauce $33

Although I prefer my steaks and their sauce separated, the balsamic sauce on the medallion of fillet beef gives the meat a subtle tang that works well with the tender and succulent fillets.

Desiree potatoes and green beans $8

Desiree potatoes and green beans $8

Chocolate mousse $12

Chocolate mousse $12

Desserts are a treat and a chocolate mousse with berries sauce is soft, fluffy with all the devilish decadence of good chocolate without being overly heavy.

Pannacotta with apricot nectar $10

Pannacotta with apricot nectar $10

Chef Toru Ryu comes out to chat with us after our meal to greet us and tell us about the menu where freshness and innovative cooking is the cornerstones of his food philosophy.

Toru Ryu, Head chef, Restaurant 16, Neutral Bay, Sydney

Toru Ryu, Head chef, Restaurant 16, Neutral Bay, Sydney

This is a beautiful meal and I can’t help but think the creativity of Sydney’s chefs and the similarities between Asian and Italian cuisines will sprout more cutting edge dishes that combine traditional flavours with fresh innovative cooking.

So dear readers, which is your favourite Japanese restaurant in Sydney?

Restaurant 16
236 Military road, Neutral Bay
Sydney  2089
Tel: + 61 2 9909 0160

Business hours:

Monday – Saturday 6pm – 10.30pm (last order 9.30pm)
Sundays & Public Holidays closed

Restaurant 16 on Urbanspoon

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12 Responses to Restaurant 16, Neutral Bay

  1. The dishes look fantastic, especially that salmon and beef! Love the looks of the desserts as well! Wish I lived somewhere near this restaurant.

  2. Those scallops look divine! Have you tried Toshiya in Neutral Bay for the chef’s specials (not the regular menu). We loved our meal there :)

  3. The Japanese love Italian food so much that I can totally see why so many Japanese chefs want to cook Italian food (I’d love to too…haha). Among all the Western restaurant in Tokyo, I think Italian restaurants are the the most number of restaurants because we love Italian food so much…and they are really really good too. I’d love to go to this restaurant. That super-thin cured trout looks absolutely appetizing and delicious!

  4. Ah Italian and Japanese cuisine – two of my all time favourites. Looks like you had a very special meal.

  5. Juliana says:

    Oh! I just had lunch but still want to try the scallops…they look so good. Panna cotta? Yes, I want as a dessert :)
    Thanks for sharing these amazing pictures and hope you are having a great week!

  6. Those scallops… wow! The whole meal looks incredible, but how can you beat perfectly cooked scallops. Looks like you had a delicious evening.

  7. Raymund says:

    Wow that salmon and scallops really made me hungry. Love those seafood

  8. Sissi says:

    A combination of Italian and Japanese cuisines sounds very interesting. The scallops are particularly appetising!

  9. Very use to seeing the marriage of French and Japanese, but not Italian. Food, all of it looks delicious. Definitely worth a visit.

  10. oooh that linguinin & pappardelle….heaven!!
    Heidi xo

  11. Hannah says:

    What gorgeous dishes! Funnily enough, I’m more interested in the savouries this time around :D

  12. Italian and Japanese fusion cuisine? Whee, that sounds very cool! :D The pictures really bring up an appetite with me!

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