What would Japanese and Spanish smashed together be, Japaz?
It is the most unlikely of places; as you walk through the doors, you enter into a world where sushi meets tacos, or perhaps its better known as Japanese and Spanish cuisine.
Big Stone offers a modern version of Japanese tapas, taking on the small-plate tapas dishes from Spain with tasty Japanese izakaya-style food.
The traditional Japanese banners known as "noren" traditionally hang in the doorway displaying the restaurant's name as well as protection from sun, wind, and dust.
You feel the cosiness immediately as you enter the room, sighting the painted mural along the back wall depicting a temple on top of a mountain, cute touches such as the pictures frames, letters spelling out Big Stone, hanging pot plants adding a touch of greenery and the washing line of pictures from the menu decorating the ceiling.
The menu looked too good and lucky for us there was a ready made list compiling the top ten dishes made for diners such as ourselves in mind. We quickly selected the tastiest ocean trout tacos, crunchy tempura zucchini flowers, deep fried croquettes, takosen - (ball-shaped Japanese snack made of a wheat flour-based batter and cooked in a special takoyaki pan. It is typically filled with minced or diced octopus, tempura scraps, pickled ginger, and green onion) sandwiched between crackers were gobbled up in seconds.
Up to this point all the dishes have just been small portions known as tapas style with the more substantial dishes being the Big Stone style yakitori- skewered grilled chicken and twice cooked sliced pork belly with red cabbage slaw which was not braised or crispy as I expected, leaving a little room for dessert of course.
We tried their light and crunchy churros (Spanish doughnuts) which were served in a brown paper bag. These came with a small pot of delectable chocolate sauce, caramel and cream to dip into. Totally divine. We couldn't go pass the chocolate fondant with the peanut icecream, it was one the best chocolate fondants I've ever had. So much so I had to try and replicate it with my own recipe a couple of days afterwards.
Options such as sangria, wine and Japanese sake, it was a shame that we were only there for lunch as service is attentive and delicious food is served fast and furious. Just a short walk away from the North Sydney central business district, I will be back to try the paella which smelt divine as it came steaming out of the kitchen.