Things I Like About Nazimi:
1. It is a cute little basement Japanese diner with miniature lamps on each table and easy-on-the-eye Eastern crockery to boot.
2. It takes care of that pesky “what to eat in the city?” dilemma.
3. It’s way less greasy than the former “what to eat in the city?” front-runner (cheap & cheery Chinese, served with a bonus pool of oil. Hey, I know, sometimes that extra glisten is what makes slurping hand-made noodles fun).
4. The waitresses are very sweet and even walk with you (sometimes even RUN with you) en route to the toilet, just so you don’t get bamboozled and lost. The toilet also has an aesthetic attack of the Japanese cutes, with a mobile of soft plush pink hearts hanging down the wall (I’m not making this up).
5. When Chris ordered the Spider Roll, it was served on a dish with an artfully drip-drawn spiderweb made out of Japanese mayonnaise and the roll was plonked right in the middle like a proper spider. (Despite the name, the main ingredient is actually soft-shell crab. Chris notes the creature’s wimpy “protection” means that the vegetarian/moral defence against gobbling it up doesn’t really hold – when an animal has a soft shell, nature is basically pushing you to eat it.)
6. The Vegetarian Dinner Box, although slightly exxy at $18 a pop, is packed with goodies: a serving of agedashi tofu in its own little tentsuyu bath, crunchy potato korokae, salty-sweet eggplant steak, a corner stack of edamame (or “edamamas”, as Chris calls ’em), veg tempura and inside out sushi rolls. And a bowl of miso soup, which is no wishy-washy affair: it’s smoky and thick with flavour.
7. And though the Soba Salad ($9.80), isn’t quite as dangerously addictive as the one at Sushi Bar Rashai, it still is bracing and noodle-slurp-satisfying.
8. Sure Nazimi may be more intimate than a capsule motel, yet strangely, I’ve always gotten a table straight away (bar that Friday night where we had to wait, maybe, 5-10 untroubling minutes).
9. And even when Emme and I were the last ones there, slowly scooping our way through glasses of green tea ice cream very close to closing time, the waitresses didn’t stand there death-staring us and pointing at their watch. In fact, they were very lovely and smiley and told us to take our time and not worry.
10. It’s a sweet little joint. I always feel a little more upbeat after being there.
Basement, 141 York St, Sydney NSW 2000, (02) 9283 2990