Chaco Bar is the newest addition to the ever-growing Japanese dining scene in Sydney. Already hugely popular within the Japanese community, Chaco Bar is a cosy little restaurant that serves up delicious Japanese bites with a focus on yakitori (grilled chicken skewers) and sake. Say konnichiwa to one of the best new Japanese restaurants in Sydney!
Even on a rainy Monday evening, Chaco Bar is nearly full. Fortunately, they take reservations so we highly recommend you make a booking before turning up for some Japanese delights. Grab a seat at the communal table that runs down the centre of the restaurant, or at one of the tables lining the illustrated walls and take the time to admire the jars of ume waiting to ferment into plum wine, engraved wooden plaques displaying menu items and Japanese calligraphy across the ceiling. It's all very Japanese and all very cool.
The menu consists of nibbles, small plates and yakitori. We decide that it was a good idea to try as much as possible (obviously) and order a number of dishes from all sections! First up came the smoked salmon special, which had been smoked for only a couple of minutes to capture the smoky flavour but not lose the sashimi texture of the salmon. It was delicate and decadent at the same time and we hope it becomes a permanent fixture on the menu. The yakioni (grilled rice ball) with black cod had a great crunch from the grilling but once you bit into it, the rice was soft, warm and so very tasty.
Next, we opted for the spicy tuna belly and pig's ear tataki and house made gyoza. The tataki was slightly peppery and we loved how the softness of the fatty tuna belly worked so well with the crunchiness of the pig's ear. Though the pig's ear in this dish may strike panic in the hearts of some of you Urban Listers, this was truly a delicious dish that tasted authentically Japanese. Gyoza is always a winner and Chaco Bar's version of it was no exception. Honestly, if we could eat dumplings every day for the rest of our lives, we would.
And now for the house specialty — yakitori! Cooked on a charcoal grill (hence Chaco Bar's name), we couldn't decide on one type, so we went for the chef's yakitori selection. This consists of 6 skewers chosen by the chef that changes from day to day. Presented to us on a bed of cabbage, with a range of toppings, the yakitori was as good as any we've sampled in Japan. Think tender chicken breast, wings and pork belly. Yum! A little tip: when you've finished with your skewer, do as the Japanese do and pop it into the can that's sitting on your table (you'll look like a yakitori pro).
If Chaco Bar's current popularity is anything to go by, we suggest you book a table before the rest of Sydney finds about this little Japanese gem!
Editor's note: Chaco Bar is currently BYO while they are waiting for a liquor license.
For more of Sydney's best Japanese restaurants, head here.
Image credit: Tanya Lee