To change or not to change, that is the question? It is something that vexes many restaurateurs, particular those with very successful businesses. They say that the whole world wants progress but no one wants change! As they used to say in IBM; 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it!'
I have seen quite a few busy restaurants make great physical improvements only to see their numbers rapidly decrease afterwards, the atmosphere had changed, maybe improved but to some the spell had been broken. I am sure that the management of Ryoshi had many fears when faced with the cessation of their contract and forced to make a move, even though it was only to next door [ex Kura Kura], a vastly superior building than the little icon which has been packed for almost 20 years.
In the downstairs area they have tried to copy the old room as much as possible, although it is much bigger. A mix of Asian and table seating and a larger sushi bar, the room is fully air-conditioned, as before. Between the street and the entrance is more seating, in a garden environment, and on the upstairs level a large open space, with live music some evenings. At the rear of the building is a very welcome car park [amazing for this area] and at the rear door of the restaurant a small air-conditioned private dining room with floor seating.
They should not have worried! It took me three visits during lunch time to even find a vacant table; the place was throbbing every day! And no wonder as Ryoshi is an institution in Bali, a truly traditional Japanese restaurant with as many Caucasian customers as Japanese, and it has always been that way.
A brilliant menu well illustrated with colour pictures takes the fear factor away from any first timer. Your appetizers can be very healthy such as Edamame [steamed green soy beans sprinkled with sea salt], Agedashi Dofu [deep fried silken tofu in a hot broth], Nasu Miso [eggplant sautéed with onion and sweet miso] or a Mushroom Steak [sautéed in soy and garlic]. Seafood snacks include a great Soft Shell Crab, cooked tempura style in rice flour batter, Kwaebi Kara Age [crispy fried whole shrimps in their shells with sea salt] or Tako No Kara Age, wonderful fried octopus, nice and crunchy. For something different, try the Cheese Mochi, sticky rice cakes with soy, butter and cheese, or the Maguro Panko, crisp fried tuna rolls with a tangy sauce.
My most regular reason to visit Japanese is to enjoy a wonderful, clean, fresh plate of assorted Sushi for lunch. What could be healthier? At Ryoshi the offerings are of unbelievable value, my favourite is the Pisang combo, 12 pieces of sushi for less than $6 [the maki roll is cut into three which makes 14 in my book]. Sushi to be at its best should be prepared fresh, just for you, and not pre-prepared hours or days before and refrigerated. It always tastes best fresh! At Ryoshi you can sit and watch it being made. It arrives accompanied by a small dish, a lump of wasabi [often referred to as Japanese horseradish but tasting more like a hot mustard] on its side, and a little pile of gari [sweet thinly sliced young ginger] on the edge of the sushi board. Tip some soy [always on the table in a small jug] and edge some of the wasabi in, to your taste! Place a complete sushi in the soy/wasabi mix so it can soak into the rice base, then with chopsticks, or even fingers if you must, eat and savour the exquisite taste. Follow with a small slice of the gari, and a sip of whatever you are drinking. My kind of lunch!
Ryoshi has a number of different combination boards of sushi and sashimi [raw fish] or a combo of both. Other raw fish specials include their Tataki which is a Japanese salad of raw fish, a Tuna Carpaccio or Aji Tataki, a type of mackerel tartar. Chirashi Sushi is a bowl of various raw fish draped over sushi rice.
Hot entrees include a variety of Kushiyaki [food on skewers]; Nasi, sliced eggplant with yakitori sauce, or my prefered Negi made with young leeks, Kawa, chicken skin grilled with salt and pepper, Teba [chicken wings] done the same way. Top of the list for me is their Hina, chicken and leeks in yakitori sauce, the Beef Rolls, sliced beef wrapped around julienned vegetables, Tsukune Mushroom, mushrooms stuffed with minced chicken, Ebi, salt and pepper prawns and Lebar, chicken livers in yakitori sauce. In fact I sometimes just make a meal of assorted Kushiyaki.
Most of the mains at Ryoshi are Yakimono, or grilled. Beef Teriyaki, or the Chicken or Fish equivalents everyone knows. A Teriyaki Hamburger is a touch of fusion, traditional ball of minced beef sautéed in Japanese wine and soy. Both Beef and Tuna can be had in sizzling Teppanyaki style, and then there are the Wagyu dishes; sirloin, rib eye or rump.
For the lone diner there are always the rice dishes; Zuki Don [tuna marinated in sesame and soy] Sukiyaki Don [beef] Oyako Don [chicken and egg or Katsu Don [pork cutlets] all served in a bowl over rice, or the Noodle selection with a variety of Soba [buckwheat] and Udon [thick] noodles.
When a place is as busy as this one you do not ever have to worry about freshness of produce. Ryoshi is one of Bali's success stories, somewhere for an anytime snack or meal, alone of with friends.
Latest Visit: Ryoshi's experimental Jazz nights on their top deck have proved a roaring success, bookings almost essential now for the 3 nights [monday, wednesday and friday] a week with live jazz.