While it’s a pleasure dining with friends and family, it’s an awesome time dining with fellow food bloggers. What is it like dining with other food bloggers? A lot more laid back then you’d imagine! Except for the fact we all come armed with cameras, fiddle with the angles of our food to take the right photo. But you know what? I kind of like it that way because I feel less guilty taking photos while other people are waiting to eat.
This evening, I got to dine with Diana (Foodology) and Amy (Food Queen) – both of them are really awesome (if you couldn’t tell from their food blogs already)! Amy suggested Rajio, and to be honest, I had never heard of it. So I did a little research and found out it was a sister restaurant to Kingyo and Suika but in Kitsilano. Rajio’s ‘theme’ if you could call it that, is Kushikatsu (Japanese style deep fried kebab. Thanks Google.). Deep fried food? I’m all in.
When we arrived, the place was empty – but it was 6:30pm and also it was a game night. As our meal progressed, they became more busy though. We started off with a complimentary ‘appetizer’ – cabbage with ‘salty sauce’.
Our first dish was the Corn Karaage – surprised it looks different from sister restaurant Suika? You are correct.
The corn is still on the stalk, but the flavour is delicious and appetizing. It was a bit of a feat trying to eat this with chopsticks (I’m horrible at chopsticks though, so maybe it’s just me). There was no batter like Suika, but still a very good dish to start with.
After we finished this dish, our server brought over some sauces for our Kushikatsu – soy, tartar, onion and lemon salt. For the most part, the lemon salt provided the most flavour for the deep fried dishes.
We ordered Tako Wasabi – my picture didn’t turn out very well but it’s basically the same dish anywhere. Served with strips of seaweed and a bit of raw octopus and a great punch of wasabi.
Tuna Salt Tataki followed shortly after – seared perfectly and peppered. It’s topped with a green onion sauce and a couple other things I wasn’t so sure of – a jelly like substance and I think – garlic chips. It sits on a bed of sliced onions both cooked and raw. This was one of the highlights of the evening for sure.
Our next dish was the Kimchi Sobameshi Stone Bowl – again, no picture but this was one of my favourite dishes. The stone bowl consisted of “yakisoba noodle, ground pork, cheese, kimchi and vegetables on rice”. The longer you leave the rice in, the more crispier it gets. I love it when the rice is a bit crispy.
It isn’t a real izakaya experience without Ebimayo – tiger prawns battered in cilantro tempura and served with a chilli mayo. This Ebi Mayo was delicious and consistent to that of it’s sister restaurants.
Now, onto the Kushikatsu! We three octopus balls (takoyaki) to start off with – they’re $1.50 each. The takoyaki came and it was as big as a cake pop. It was more batter than anything, but most takoyakis are. This had an interesting batter to it and didn’t have too much taste – but the lemon salt helped make this dish taste better.
We then shared the Premium Kushi Katsu Set ($12.80) – from the very back to the front: seaweed wrapped rice cake, stewed pork belly,shiso chicken meat ball, shiitake stuffed with shrimp, shiso wrapped shrimp, stuffed lotus root with chicken, asparagus wrapped by pork. The flavour wasn’t so bad for these items, and the sauces did help them out a lot. I stuck to Tartar and Lemon Salt for the most part.
We then finished off the main part of our meal with Hellz Ramen. As you can imagine – it’s ramen noodles in clam & shrimp broth seasoned with spicy miso and spicy pepper topped with egg, ground pork and pickles. Our server warned us that it was quite spicy, we were all preparing for it. To be honest, it wasn’t TOO spicy, I would think if you could eat the Diablo chicken here, you’ll be fine. The ramen gives a nice heat and a delicious flavour – but for me, I could probably eat the entire bowl and be happy. However, I do like my spicy food! The miso broth was deliciously savoury and the ramen noodles were just as delicious as usual. Definitely one of my favourite dishes of the evening.
On a side note before I head on over to dessert, they have this crazy deal called the “Super Rib Steak” its 1KG of steak with wasabi, soy and garlic sauce. They also have this great slogan! $36 for a gigantic steak. A table ordered it and we watched it whiz by – it’s very thick and big. I’ll definitely have to come back to try it with some people to help eat it!
Now back to dessert. Three desserts on the menu: Almond Tofu, Mango Pudding and Smooth Pudding.
The Mango Pudding is nothing like the Chinese version of it. It’s creamy, a little crumbly and very delicious. There’s no gelatinous taste to it and had better flavour than what I was expecting it to have.
The Almond Tofu had some rinds on the top giving it a slightly tangy-citrusy taste to it. The tofu pudding underneath was cool, a little more coherent than regular pudding and had a slight taste of almond which is perfect.
Finally, the Smooth Pudding. By far the best dessert of the evening – the pudding is very smooth, in fact I thought it was gelatinous until I put my spoon into it. It was almost like mousse! Underneath is caramelized sugar. We unanimously loved it.
Overall, I’d definitely come back again! The service is great, the atmosphere is almost like a Japanese tavern and the food is quite good for the price. I’m curious about the 1kg steak, so I’ll be back for that!
Don’t forget to check out Diana & Amy‘s blogs for their take on the experience!