Restaurant Review: Hiroba

Preface:

Hey guys! Long-time-no-post, sorry~

This morning I made plans to go into Strathfield, Sydney where I used to live with my best friend to try out a new place. Unfortunately he cancelled…but that didn’t stop me from pigging out on a copious amount of yummy Korean-style Japanese food !(•̀ᴗ•́)و ̑̑

Introduction:

Japanese sushi bar: Hiroba is located next to Strathfield Station in Sydney. Strathfield is a very Korean-dominated suburb so the majority of the food spots and are Korean-run or Korean-influenced. I love love love Korean food, it’s one of my favourite cuisines and growing up in-and-around Strathfield, I know where all the best spots are. But I have yet to try Hiroba. Every time I seem to walk past it, the places is booming with customers and very noisy, which is not really my style unless I have a group to go with.

To avoid the rush of people, I tried to go when it opened, I ended up going in at about 11:30 AM. Only a couple of small families were there and the places wasn’t noisy at all. Not to say the interior was dead, it really wasn’t. The inside is decorated with a mix of traditional Japanese and Korean elements and the staff are all very friendly.

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Staff:

It is also good to note that the majority of the staff speak both fluent Korean and English; so whichever you, your friends or families are best and most comfortable speaking with, your mind can be at ease knowing you can speak with the waiters. They are very friendly and don’t judge you for how much you eat; which I really appreciate… hehe~ (๑•͈ᴗ•͈)

Food:

Now for the most important part, the food! The menu is quite long with a range of different foods. It starts with Korean-style Japanese entrees, udon and (hot/cold) soba, then there is sashimi, hand rolls, hosomaki and other sushi. Turn the page and it’s all traditional Korean foods, Korean fried rice, japchae, dolsot bibimbop, dobbap and Korean stir-fries. There is a huge range and tonnes of different option which I think would suit any type of taste buds. Even the pickiest eater can stomach a Teriyaki chicken roll covered in Japanese mayo and some kimchi fried rice!

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Japanese Cold Soba

I had a tonne of items and I am glad I have such a big appetite because really the majority of the main dishes are sizes to share. I ordered cucumber hosomaki (baby cucumber rolls) which came with 12 pieces, a portion of Japanese cold soba with dipping sauce and a “small” plate of inari. It was a lot of food which I was not expecting at all due to the price it came to overall!

The sushi defiantly was not made with Japanese rice vinegar, it was also made with Korean seaweed; which mad the taste really unique compared to traditional Japanese sushi. I wanted to order the plate of inari for a dessert-type dish (I know, sounds weird) because I am not a huge sweets fan and inari is usually semi-sweet tasting (which is just right for my preferable taste) and very delectable. However when I got the plate and expected a dense, sweet ball of rice and fried tofu, I received a surprisingly salty taste instead. I am defiantly not complaining, I was just a wee-bit surprised!! (•̪ o •̪) I have tried countless sushi-bars’ inari as it is my most favourite dish to get, but this flavour was definitely a unique spin on the traditional-style Japanese inari! Needless to say I still enjoyed it.

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Inari plate

Note: the wasabi they use was also very good and so is was pickled ginger!

The cold soba dish I had was also very good, however I think the dipping sauce was a bit too weak for my taste buds personally, but it was very refreshing! I very much enjoyed it!! And of course all orders will come with traditional Korean banchan, btw the kimchi here is really tasteful!

I didn’t have my friend with me to get their views on the meat dishes so unfortunately I cannot say, but they have a huge range and the place is usually very crowded so I would think they would be just as delicious!

The time it took for all my dishes to come out was very quick, about 5-7 minutes from ordering and the plating was very well presented.

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Cucumber Hosomaki

Prices:

The prices for the food alone, depending on which dish you get is averagely priced in my opinion, however including the service, the portions, the plating and taste, I believe that for the price I ended up paying ($34), I got a tonne of delicious food that I enjoyed eating immensely. I got 3 large portions for just over $30 and it left me full and happy for hours~ (人 •͈ᴗ•͈)

Conclusion:

The location is easy to find, the interior is modest and humble, the staff is lovely, and the food is delicious and overall decently priced! I would definitely recommend this restaurant to preferably a small group of 4-5, perfect for students on a budget who can all chip in on the bill so that they can share the dishes and try everything. Or potentially Hiroba would be perfect for a couple with a big appetite that way you are able to have 2 Korean/Japanese mains and maybe 1-2 plates of sashimi or traditional Korean snacks. I plan to come here again and try more options with multiple people so I might make an updated review following this one including pictures and opinions of the foods with meat in them! So keep an eye out!!

 

Thank you for reading this review, I wish it was helpful to you and I hope to write more soon. ヾ(°∇°*)

-Bri

How to feel happy when under stress

Whether it’s your end of term/year finals, family stress or work stress we all face situations where we are forced to experience mass amounts of stress. I have met few individuals who are able to deal well with stress by just brushing it off their shoulders like the workload is nothing. I envy these people. However, for the rest of us, stress can not only effect our performance but our down time, mental well-being and overall happiness.(>﹏<) So here are just a few ideas I have found are helpful in concurring and powering through stressful times.

Planning and prioritising

Take out your phone’s calendar or a physical planner and write out your week/s. For however long this stress period is going to last. Write every day out and dedicate tasks you need to accomplish for each day, from studying for your yearlies to the deadlines you have for your work projects. This will allow you to see what and where you need to prioritise which elements and tasks and assure yourself you have enough time to accomplish everything instead of being overwhelmed by the mass of it all. Take all these stressful thoughts, study days and deadlines dates out of your brain and write it all out instead. This way you can use that room wasted on worry for thinking and working the best you can.

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Take time off

As much stress as you have, sparing a 10-minute break every couple of hours won’t affect the whole result in the end. Take time for yourself to enjoy a hobby or something you enjoy. It’s important for the long term in ensuring you’re able to make the most of your time and don’t burn out.

Find your place

Different people work differently in different places. Find your best place that enhances your concentration and allows you to get work done most efficiently. For me it’s in my room alone and undisturbed at my PC with a drink of some kind, usually just water. For you it might be your local library, your couch, in school, in bed, with a group of people, alone or with just one or two. Test some things out and see where you feel most productive.

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Clean

Cleaning your space is so important. Often in times of stress, our minds are often so overwhelmed and cluttered as it is, it won’t end well if you have the added mess and clutter of the spaces we are supposed to relax in. Tidy your room, wipe your desk down, hang your clothes, light some candles. Make your space pretty and clean so your mind can feel clean and happy when you come home. You won’t need to worry about the added stress of a trash pile, dirty dishes or a messy desk when writing your essays. Before I could even write the post I needed to clean my room, if I have a messy space, I can’t think. These are all just distractions and aren’t helpful to productivity, so keep your space clean!

Early nights & Naps

The cycle of staying up procrastinating and binge studying or working, waking up tired for class/school/work and repeating when you come home is no way to nurture a healthy work environment. Try fixing your sleep schedule to a reasonable time and if you’re still tired, in the afternoon take a nap. I love naps, waking up at 5-6am for school, coming home at 4 and going straight into study doesn’t work for me. I usually take a nap from 4-5:30 most days and end up being able to use the rest of my night more productively with the added energy from the nap.

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Relaxation tips:

-calming/all-time-favourite songs

-spend time with yourself alone

-drink something calming

-walk away from the monitor

-eat a good breakfast/lunch/dinner

Concentration tips:

-music music music, study playlists are my favourite thing in the world, here is a few links to some I particularly enjoy:

Chill/Future Bass

Kpop Instrumental (really good so you don’t end up jamming out to lyrics)

Anime (mostly) Instrumental soundtraks

-eliminate distractions

-get comfortable

-turn off phone or sign out of distracting social media apps

-prepare for a big work or study session with prompts of inspiration and ideas tailored to the project or assignment

Accepting your best is all you can do.

Thinking of the bigger picture always helps me relax when I work myself up over the thought of all the deadlines and pressure I am facing. Life goes on. If you feel overwhelmed and it is in turn making you extremely unhappy just accept that if you try your best and work as hard as you can, that is all you can do. Just work in the moment, focus on what you need to do for now and know that life goes on and this one thing will not determine the entirety of existence.

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Okay, I think that is all I have. I hope in some way I could help you with your stress levels by suggesting methods to assist in coping with them. Please take care of yourself during these stressful times and try your very best! (^人^)

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-Bri

 

 

Kpop Chronicles: Red Velvet’s 3rd Mini Album– Russian Roulette (러시안 룰렛)

Just three days ago (Sep 6, 2016) Red Velvet released their newest mini album, in addition to their 2nd mini album, The Velvet, released back in March of this year. The title of the album, Russian Roulette which also was the title of the main track was also released with an accompanying video on the day.

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I chose not to post this review/overview of the album for a few days so I could allow myself to gather my thoughts and views on it first. And over the last few days I have been listening to the tracks off an on and I have to say that personally, along with the 2nd mini album released this year, 2016 has been a very strong year for Red velvet and it seems everyone in the group is working so hard for their careers and their fans. There are many tracks I loved and am happy to say are going to be some of my favourite songs of this upcoming spring season! In order of most liked to least, here are all the tracks on the album:

  1. Sunny Afternoon
  2. Bad Dracula
  3. 러시안 룰렛 (Russian Roulette)
  4. Lucky Girl
  5. Fool
  6. My Dear
  7. Some Love

This mini album has a fresh and upbeat theme that we have seen time and time before with Red Velvet. A little kooky, very clean and quite original! Unfortunately this year so far hasn’t been very strong for the pre-established groups in kpop. But this album is definitely an exception! It has a really nice beat and theme throughout which makes all the tracks flow together nicely and not to mention the vocals are really lovely this time around, especially Wendy and Joy’s vocals. Personally, I thought they both really shone through with this album which I am very happy about! Red velvet has always done a really great job at not excluding members from songs and incorporating every member’s talents and this album is no deviation from the rule! My favourite is the fact that they sing most of the choruses together as a group and all of their voices compliment so nicely, it is heaven!

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I also want to touch very briefly on Russian Roulette’s MV. Once again, red velvet doesn’t disappoint. I really love the concept, colour scheme and over all “kooky-cute” theme of the video! It is so refreshing not having hugely aggressive dances or overly-sexualised visuals. But instead something fresh, engaging as a story and very enjoyable.

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If you haven’t already watch the MV or supported Red Velvet by purchasing or streaming their new album I would highly suggest doing so! It is a strong return of some amazing vocals with a great upbeat and “unusual” feel. I can’t wait for more of RV, I would highly encourage following the group, because with two strong mini album comebacks this year, I don’t suspect that they’ll be going anywhere!!

-Bri

Links to content mention in this post:

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Link to Red Velvet’s 3rd Mini Album– Russian Roulette (러시안 룰렛)

Link to Red Velvet’s Russian Roulette (러시안 룰렛) MV

 

Restaurant Review: Sushi Hotaru

Location: Level 1, The Galleries, 500 George Street, CBD, Sydney

Opening hours: 11:30 AM to 9 PM, Mon-Sunday

To be blunt, I love sushi… (*゚ー゚)ゞ I’ve had a lot of sushi in my time, it is hands down my most favourite food for its variety, range of styles and for the sheer fact that I never get bored or sick of going out for sushi. Especially when I go out to a sushi bar on a sunny afternoon with a close friend. So with the fact I eat sushi on average 2 times a week disclosed, I will now go ahead and introduce this wonderful little place my best friend took me to for lunch this past week gone.

The sushi train/bar is called Sushi Hotaru, it is located in The Galleries (branched off of the QVB and directly next to Town Hall train station). I recommended the place to my friend a while back after being aware of its existence from passing it after buying manga upstairs at Kinokuniya Books. Not to mention after being fascinated by the interior from afar, which I will explain shortly. The place had a line out the front which initially sparked my curiosity. Yes, it was the dense heart of the city, but compared to the surrounding restaurants, the place was packed with a 20 minute wait out the door. But with the time that my friend and I arrived (just after open), we got in before the rush and were seated at a quiet and cramped table next to the train at the back. The table was tight and small, barely enough room for all our plates, however due to the lively conversation, hustled isles and general noise, it made the experience more enjoyable and intimate.

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Now to point out the interior and setting. It was loud and packed before 12pm, just 30 minutes after open! This just shows how popular the restaurant is as well as the reputation Hotaru upholds for itself. The isle was thin, the tables and chairs were small but my-o-my was the train long. So much to choose from! And instead of calling over a waiter to your table every time you wanted something that wasn’t rotating on the train, you ordered on an iPad fixed to your table instead. I won’t point out everything I ordered but overall (considering my standards for sushi are very high…) I have to say the sushi was mediocre but still really enjoyable. No obscure twists or tastes, there is a wide range that will suit most palates and preferences. I feel that the iPad “gimmick” which is a very popular and common way of ordering in large sushi bars overseas, especially in Japan is the main reason for Sushi Hotaru’s 20 minute waits and reputation. However, the experience was still nothing less that lovely! (^^)b

 

The menu is longer than the train and with the iPad for ordering, you always have the option of eating off of the train or ordering something else. My friend and I both chose things off of the train and dishes directly off the menu! The wait for your order to be fulfilled is about 5 minutes during the early morning rush, which isn’t long at all considering the number of people in the restaurant. I believe there are a tonne of different dishes that will more than adequately suit any kind of taste buds, no matter how picky. There are traditional dishes that include raw and other fresh, uncooked seafood options, but there are also hand rolls, cappa and gunkan. Not to mention the huge list of side dishes and extras you can order, from deep fried crab claws and wagyu steaks to basic miso soups and hot udons. The restaurant also has a tonne of veg options for vegetarians and vegans; a whole category dedicated that is more than 2 pages long on the iPad’s menu! The bar also serves wine, cocktails, beer and traditional sake for those of age who drink alcoholic beverages. However, my friend and I just stuck to hot green tea and soft-drink. (^^;)

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The pricing for each dish does vary slightly but the majority of the sushi dishes are $3.50 which is fairly reasonable in comparison to a lot of other prices at competing sushi bars. I was more than happy with the price & quality ratio! For me the experience was the most memorable part of lunch!

In conclusion I would happily give Sushi Hotaru 3.5 stars out of 5, for its tasteful sushi, amazing atmosphere, reasonable prices and very kind staff who never once seemed to be annoyed by how much my friend and I ordered. (‘-‘*ゞ

Thank you so much for reading my very first review, it was really fun to write and I hope to write more in the future! Thank you for baring with my spelling and grammatical errors~

Feel free to leave comments and suggestions below for topics you’d like me to discuss. And if you have any other questions don’t be shy, go ahead!

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Other sites you should visit!

Contact and location info: http://www.thegaleries.com/store-directory/stores-by-name/store/sushi-hotaru

Other Reviews!

https://www.zomato.com/sydney/sushi-hotaru-1-cbd/info

https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Restaurant_Review-g255060-d2287512-Reviews-Sushi_Hotaru-Sydney_New_South_Wales.html

https://www.yelp.com.au/biz/sushi-hotaru-sydney