Sydney Japanese restaurant, Cho Cho San has recently opened in Potts Point and has already made its way onto the list of the best restaurants in Sydney. Started by Sam Christie and Jonathan Barthelmess of Apollo fame, the two restaurateurs were so inspired from their recent trip to Japan they decided to open their own version of a Japanese izakaya.
Here's some schooling for you. An izakaya (i meaning to stay and sakaya meaning sake shop) is a drinking establishment that serves food where Japanese salarymen go for after work drinks. While not your traditional izakaya, Christie and Barthelmess have created their own special environment where dining and drinking go together like sashimi and soy sauce.
In the kitchen, head chef, Nicolas Wong (Billy Kwong, Rockpool, Bodega, and Ester) has created an ever-changing menu full of fresh, exciting, and seasonal produce. There is a focus on hibachi grilling and steaming techniques that can be seen in many of the dishes. We're looking at you, soy glazed wagyu beef and calamari with lime ponzu.
We begin with the soft steamed pork katsu bun and after trying this we can confirm this is an absolute must have. The crunch of the breaded pork balances so well with the softness of the bun. It's hard to just stop at one. But we must continue eating…
Their raw bar consists of your typical sushi favourites—tuna, kingfish, and ocean trout, but prepared with a modern twist. The beef tataki with wild rice and ginger dressing was light for a beef dish but had tonnes of flavour. We also opted for hiramasa kingfish with daikon and soy, which was fresh and beautifully prepared. Win!
We know lots of you are fried chicken lovers, so don't skip Cho Cho San's fried chicken—it's delicious and cooked just the way we like it. Crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside and packed full of flavour.
From the hibachi grill we selected a classic miso cod with celery and ginger that was so delicately cooked it was a pleasure to eat. To balance out your meal, order a selection of little things from the side menu—popular choices include green beans with red miso (yum) and the brown rice with shitake mushrooms and egg.
For dessert, the green tea soft serve in a waffle cone that's been plunged into a bowl of uncooked brown rice is an Instagrammer's favourite. It's light, not overly sweet and just looks so cool when it comes to your table. If that doesn't tickle your fancy, then the steamed yuzu pudding might be for you. The citrus bite of the Japanese yuzu blended with the creaminess of the pudding is a perfect way to end your meal.
So, while we may not be able to jump on a plane and fly to the bright neon lights of Tokyo, we can at least have a little taste of it at Cho Cho San.
Hungry for more of Sydney's best Japanese restaurants? Get your Japanese fix here.
Image credit: Cho Cho San