Tuesday, May 14, 2013

When I was young, I only remember having Baskin Robins' ice cream cake in mango or cookies and cream flavour for my birthday, or an Asian bakery sponge cream cake when I was too young to choose my own cake. 

Ever since mommy introduced me to the world of dessert making, all my birthday cakes have been homemade by myself (which tends to spark some incomprehensibility amongst those whom I share this story). Besides my birthday, my parents' birthday cakes would also be made by myself, and for my brother's first birthday, I made three birthday cakes

Guu Sakabar on Urbanspoon
Guu Sakabar on Urbanspoon!

For my birthday this year (coincidentally landing on mother's day again), I celebrated a couple of days early at Guu Sakabar. Having visited the other Guu on Church, a couple months ago, I wanted to come to this one on Bloor Street - though we only really wanted to come here because it is a closer distance to sake bar.

Without further ado, here is the night's lineup:

Gyu Carpaccio: seared beef sashimi with ponzu, wasabi mayo, & garlic chips

Melt in your mouth thinly sliced beef which I think it almost identical to the one served at JJ Japanese Thai, but served more chilled. The garlic chips are a must to have with your slice of beef.

I mentioned this dish to an uncle who is a sushi chef at a Japanese restuarant in Oakville. He told me he was the one who set the menu (dishes) for JJ Japanese Thai which is why the beef tataki is on JJ's menu (amongst the rest of the Japanese-style dishes on the menu) *no way*
Sadly, due to conflicting views, he left JJ to work at another restaurant, but the menu he set for JJ still remains. 

Salmon Tataki: seared B.C. salmon with ponzu, wasabi mayo & garlic chips 

I've had salmon tataki several times at several different places, but I still find myself preferring salmon sashimi to salmon tataki if I have the chance to choose.

Maguro Tataki: seared B.C. tuna with ponzu & garlic chips

Saba Oshizushi: blowtorched cured mackerel pressed sushi

I wasn't even aware of ordering this, but when it came I was surprised and after I ate it I was happy. The fish is cured so the taste is extremely flavourful and briny. It tastes perfect when paired with the sushi rice.

Kinoko Bibimbap: rice, mushrooms, cheese, with seaweed sauce in sizzling stone pot bowl

I had this at the other Guu - and again, nothing special but very creamy, if you like that kind of stuff. 

Horumon: pan fried pork intestine with sweet garlic soy sauce

I have a liking for innards of animals, such as the liver, kidney, gizzards, flank, stomach... the list goes on. Though I haven't tried pork intestine before, I really enjoy the slightly chewy texture, and the delicious sauce. My friend enjoyed the sauce so much I felt that it was necessary to hand over the spoon from the bibimbap to her so she could drink the sauce.

Chili Mame Bibimbap: rice, chili beans, lettuce & salsa in stone pot bowl

I'm not a fan of cooked lettuce when its mixed with a variety of other foods, but since there were many of us to share this dish among, I only had to have a spoonful of it. Oh, and I didn't know there was salsa in this until I was looking at their menu again just now (to copy their descriptions so you know what I'm eating of course).

Ikapiri: deep fried calamari with spicy ketchup and wasabi mayo

A nice crisp, thin batter coats the succulent calamari, which tastes amazing with the spicy topping.

Ebimayo: deep fried prawn in spicy mayo

The batter was thicker than I had hoped, and the spicy mayo wasn't very mind blowing. I'll have to pass on this one the next time I come.

Tontoro: grilled pork cheek with salt and yuzu pepper

Pork meat is best with pork fat, and this dish pairs them together so well. The yuzu on the side cut through the overly saltiness quite well.

Gyu tongue: grilled beef tongue with salt

Remembering the experience that was going on in my mouth the last time I had this at Guu Izakaya, I had to order it again at their Sakabar. You also have to eat this with the freshly grated wasabi that's on the side of the plate - the fat and oil in the beef almost rids the nasal-clearing effects of wasabi.

Brie cheese: deep fried brie cheese with mango and blueberry sauce

I don't understand people who don't like Brie, after its deep fried, and served with two fruity sauces.

Karaage: deep fried soy sauce marinated chicken with garlic mayo

Boneless chicken, or as I call it, lazy-people chicken (you don't have to eat around the bones or use your hands). But wait, we were given garlic mayo? I don't think the garlic really shone through as I just tasted regular mayo.

Though the food is the same at both Guu locations in Toronto, do head to the Sakabar on Bloor if you are with a larger group of people as it is easier for them to accommodate you there than at the one on Church which is smaller cosier.

I enjoyed my experience at the Guu Izakaya on Church more than my most recent Guu experience at the Sakabar, but I would very probably go to Sakabar again just for its location in the Annex (right beside Koreatown).



We were going to go karaoke afterwards, but after being told beforehand that there would be a $30 fee for cutting the cake that you bring in at Guu, we went to sake bar after our dinner to cut cake. They didn't charge us for just keeping the cake refrigerated in their fridge though *yay*

Green tea sponge on the bottom, vanilla on the top.

This past weekend I attempted to make the famous Jacques Genin's flan parisien. I feel like those words mean nothing to you at all - and I don't quite feel bothered by that, although it would be really exciting if you did (:

I'll be back super soon with a summer friendly recipe in my next post!