I’ve wanted to blog about Iori for quite some time now. It’s long been one of my favourite Canberran restaurants, and I’ve honed my order into entree-main-dessert perfection.
Unfortunately, Iori is tucked in a building without windows, which means the lighting is always low and not conducive to good photography. Ergo no blogging. However, I can no longer resist talking it up, so let’s all make nice and accept the supbar photos. Woot!
I’ve been to Iori for many excitingcelebrationtimes, including my birthday, family birthdays, treat nights, friends’ birthdays, and first dates. (In fact, I once received a late-night text from a friend whose birthday I’d years-ago celebrated at Iori, saying “Did I just see you at Iori on a date? I was there with my boyfriend too!” Clearly, she and I are creatures of habit.)
Last Saturday, my parents and I went to Iori to celebrate my dad’s birthday, and we started with the large sashimi platter. This is always my pick of the entrees. The sashimi is fresh, delicious, and interesting, going beyond the standard tuna, salmon, and kingfish options to include raw scallop, octopus, and three types of roe. As ever, we were very happy with this, particularly as we each have our favourites and didn’t have to duel at all.For his main, my dad ordered the Gyu-Sara: “Famous Japanese Gyu-don style beef with Onsen egg”. Personally, I think he should have ordered one of the kitschy-and-ridiculously-named dishes that Iori is so fond of, such as the “A.T.M” (“Assorted Tremendous Meal”), “This Is What I’m Talkin’ Bout”, “G.S.T.” (“Great Spirit of Tasmania”), or “Honey May I Call U Honey?” Yes you may, honey.
My mum, like me, tends to order the same main. Her dish of choice is the Yakiniku, which is pork “in a delicious ginger sauce”. She’s a fan.
My main-of-choice is always the Kaki Nabe, a hot pot of oysters in a miso or dashi broth. The hot pot comes with a flickering blue flame underneath that keeps the broth bubbling, and is jam-packed with cabbage, carrots, tofu, a little bundle of rice noodles tied in a knot, the oysters, and at least one shiitake mushroom that I always save for last because it is the most delicious of all the things.
Once pickle-searching is complete, my thoughts inevitably turn to the dessert that I yearn for despite the hurt it brings to my lactard self:
Except, well, can we please pause to consider why oh why the chef chose to plate the ice cream and wafer in this formation? (I mean, apart from the novelty factor, which caused my mum and me to burst into giggles while my dad rolled his eyes at us.) Is this some sort of not-subtle jab at my recent decision to return to singledom right before Valentine’s Day? If so, I take your sly and mean-spirited message, Iori, and I eat it. HAHAHA I WIN.
My parents shared Iori’s current “limited edition” dessert platter (only five available per day! Get it while you can!). It included lychee sorbet (nice), green tea daifuku filled with black sesame ice cream (my mother experienced hilarious [to me] brain-freeze twice in a row before deciding to give up on this), strawberry-filled mochi that was “seared delightfully”, according to the menu (“It is delightful!” chirped my mother), and a fried crepe roll filled with red bean that I thought tasted like toffee.
Do I wish I had better photos of Iori to entice you with? Yes. Do I hope that you trust me when I say that Iori is fantastic and you should visit? Yes. Was it my father’s birthday on Saturday and my brother’s birthday on Friday? Yes. Happy birthday menfolk!