[Pictures: David Straight]
Such is the pace of development at Britomart – where, lucky you, half a dozen restaurants have opened in the past year or so – that Ebisu is already something of a classic. When it first opened in March, we liked it, a lot. Though if we’re honest, we did wonder quite why you would go back often, rather than to one of the many very good – and cheaper – izakaya around town. The food was good, but it wasn’t, at first, a quantum leap.
That didn’t last long at all. There’s the room, of course – all leather caramel, dark wood and exposed brick and concrete. There’s a nice wine list. And there’s the food, which has gone from being good to outstanding.
The menu comes from Yukio Ozeki, formerly of Kura: think classics, intelligently tweaked. The Ebisu no osashimi ($29.50) is a plate of sashimi, which comes a creamy ginger and sesame dressing. It is heaven, even for sashimi purists. The soft shell crab no karaage ($16.50) is also heaven. Then there’s steak ($35): a terrific piece of Wakanui blue scotch, seared beautifully then sliced and served with three Japanese sauces, which is a standout. We are also enormously fond of the agedashi tofu ($13.50) and the hotate to shiitake (seared scallops, $19). It’s fast become one of our favourites. SFG
HOURS Lunch, Monday to Friday, from 12pm. Dinner, Monday to Sunday from 5pm.
CONTACT DETAILS 116 Quay St, City, ph 300-5271. www.ebisu.co.nz
IMPORTANT DETAILS No bookings for dinner, so be prepared to eat early or wait because it’s busy. Always.
SUSTAINABILITY In a perfect world, we’d like to see tuna disappear from sashimi menus, but they’ll leave it off if you ask.