Japanese Sashimi Bar Ajimi

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We came here because: we wanted to expand our Japanese izakaya repetoire. Nishiki will always hold a special place in our hearts but we had heard Japanese Sashimi Bar Ajimi was putting out some spectacular looking sashimi platters. Plus the parking in Onehunga is plentiful and free.

The décor was: so Japanese in the best way possible. It was part bustling izakaya, the walls bedecked with slips of paper with menu items scribbled on them in kanji, part fish shack with red and white lanterns and nautical coloured chains hanging from the ceiling. And lots of wood. Because of the hot weather we chose to sit outside at a wooden wheel on its side turned into a low table.


The food was: all the usual suspects needed for an izakaya meal. Ollie and I had a low carb, high protein approach to dinner, ordering a salmon sashimi ($15), beef tataki ($10), fried gyoza ($6), chicken karaage ($8) and teriyaki chicken ($12). Buttery-soft, fresh salmon arrived beautifully presented in a wooden box laden with small dishes (including a paua shell). Beef tataki, the Japanese answer to beef tartare, came lightly seared and thinly sliced, dressed with a tangy vinaigrette and shaved onion. The chicken teriyaki and karaage (fried chicken) were both good exemplars of each; both pefectly cooked and juicy; the former with a sweet, slightly acidic glaze, the latter coated in crispy panko crumbs with Kewpie mayo. The gyoza arrived piping hot on a cast iron plate they were probably also cooked on.

We loved: the attention to detail in their presentation and the feel of the place. Everyone was eating at long communal benches inside, sitting on cushioned, overturned milk crates. The mood was festive despite it being well into the new year and the majority of the patrons were Japanese, which is always a good sign.

If I could change one thing it would be: Nothing!

Overall: a neighbourhood izakaya turning out well executed Japanese classics with humility and finesse.

Japanese Sashimi Bar Ajimi
Unit 2, 252-258 Onehunga Mall

Ph. (09) 636 6172

This review was originally written for Cheap Eats.