Culinary force

DID Darth Vader have to remove his helmet every time he wanted to eat a snack?

Maybe there was a little flap on his visor he could lift up and shovel in the Brussels sprouts on Christmas Day.

That was one of the many questions I fielded from my young son “Bamm-Bamm” while driving up to Mt Lawley, after we had watched Star Wars.

Thankfully our destination wasn’t Hoth Cafe on planet “Get a Life”, but the New Place Japanese Kitchen.

Tucked away in a little group of shops on the corner of Beaufort Street and Second Avenue, you could easily miss it driving by, and I only knew about it because I bought a guitar from Rock Inn across the road a while back.

On a hot day, a week out from Christmas, it seemed like the perfect destination for a low key not-too-expensive lunch.

The outside was pretty innocuous with one of those flashing LED open lights.

Inside it was simple, clean and uncluttered with a few tables and chairs, some bench seating and a wall-mounted TV showing highlights of the World Cup.

The compact menu played to the gallery with all the old favourites including bentos boxes, sushi, donburi, curries, sides and salads.

It was a small menu but there was a little bit of everything on there and would satisfy a lot of tastes. They also did sushi and nigiri platters for parties.

You ordered at the till and the smiley girl behind the counter was friendly and pleasant while taking my order.

It was well air-conditioned on a hot Wednesday lunchtime with lots of office workers coming and going for their lunch time hit of sushi and bento.

After explaining to my son that Chewbacca was probably just a recovering drug addict in a hairy suit, the lady arrived with our food. First off: the portions are really big and good value for money; my bowl was piled high with that bogan classic – chicken katsu curry ($15.90).

It was good quality chook with a nice crispy batter and tasted great when dunked in the mild curry sauce.

The rice was perfectly cooked and punctuating the sauce were small cubes of potato and carrot, with a perfunctory stem of watercress on top.

It was a hearty bowl of comfort food that would appease any V8 mullet-wearing bogan and I thoroughly enjoyed this guilty pleasure.

The large wheels of sushi – prawn and avocado ($8.50 for five) and tuna ($6.90 for five) were equally as good – fresh, vibrant and packed with flavour, they went down a treat with Bamm-Bamm.

“I like the carrot in the tuna one he added.”

It was overkill, but we rounded things off with a side of karaage chicken ($10.50).

This was a delightful mound of thinly battered chook with a sweet plum sauce drizzled over the top and a little salad and mayo off to the side. Again the chicken was good quality and the batter nice and light.

We had ordered too much, but the lady was happy to box the leftovers, which were duly devoured by my wife “Special K” and daughter Pebbles at home.

New Place Japanese Kitchen is a handy little pitstop if you’re in Inglewood and fancy a good quality low-cost lunch while running some Christmas errands.

Stomachs full and all set to make the jump to hyperspace in my Holden Barina, we left the restaurant and I did my best ever Chewbacca impression in the car park.

New Place Japanese Kitchen
5/755 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley
newplacejapanesekitchen.com.au

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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