Sokyo is excellicious!

We live in the age of mash-ups: Brangelina, bootylicious, chillaxing. Why say two words or more when you can pop them together and save your breath? That’s ridic.

Sokyo (Sydney + Tokyo) is a shiny new restaurant in Sydney’s shiny new The Star and an excellent case for mash-ups. Brainchild of former Nobu chef Chase Kojima (let’s call him Chojima) it combines artful Japanese cuisine with choice local produce, nestled cosily in the bosom of Sydney’s verging-on-wanky food scene.

We sat at the bar on an eerily quiet Wednesday night and, perhaps due to said quiet, were the focus of multiple super-attentive staff with asymmetrical collars and hair do’s to match. Though we were in a prime spot to watch the chef’s prepare each course, at times it felt more like we were the focus of attention, with all of those asymmetrical eyes on us…

Stage-fright aside, the food was excellent and delicious. Highlights included:

Kurobuta Black Pork Sashimi – rich and fatty, finely sliced pork belly on a slick of salty sweet caramel sauce; Moreton Bay Bug Tempura – delicate bug meat in the lightest, crispiest tempura ever, with a tangy buttermilk dipping sauce; Grainfed Rangers Valley Sirloin – stupidly wonderful Aussie beef; Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice – mind-blowing deep fried nigiri topped with blush pink tuna and spicy mayo.

The truly Sokyo moment was reserved for a new addition to the menu, Palmer Island Mulloway – the freshest, pan fried fish on a cauliflower puree – very Sydney so far – with a simple edamame salad dressed in a typically Japanese vinaigrette. Totes Sokyo.

Lowlights included: the robata. Both the chicken with it’s, um, interesting, pineapple and ginger sauce and Octopus that our befuddled waiter described as being glazed with, “Peruvian… like, whatever”, were underwhelming. And we never saw that waiter again.

Also, the tunes. Dudes, the tunes. I wouldn’t call myself anti-Cafe Del Mar, but I’m pretty happy for it to remain the soundtrack to my memories of yoga classes held in the early 2000’s. Who am I kidding? I do call myself anti-Cafe Del Mar. I think I have a tee shirt that says “I AM ANTI-CAFE DEL MAR”.

Amongst all the action that The Star has to offer, Sokyo is excellicious. However, where Momofuku is the slightly dangerous hot guy who listens to cool music, Sokyo is the nerdy, conscientious guy who listens to ‘whatever’s on the radio’ and tells you that you’re cute. For better or worse, I know which one I always choose.

Grain Fed Rangers Valley Sirloin

Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice

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Quaking in eight tiny boots

Score: The Collins Kids, “Hurricane”

Cakes for a hen

My dear friend is getting married on Saturday and I am, well, honoured, to be her Maid of Honour. If you’re ever lucky enough to be a MOH, you’ll hear a lot of chit-chat about the fabled “Bridezilla”. But dudes, let me tell you something for free, my bride is nothing less than Bridetastic. 

Last Saturday, one week before the big day, I threw her a Kitchen Tea and Hens Party. An excuse to both shower her with love, gifts, cocktails and cock-straws, as well as bake my brains out.

Thus, sans brains, I give you David Herbert’s delicious honey cake and ‘holy heck that’s peachy’ peach upside down cake. 

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So here’s to you, you-know-who-you-are; a dazzling friend, beautiful bride-to-be, and most excellent almost-wife. Huzzah!
Recipes appear in “David Herbert’s Best-Ever Baking Recipes” – BEST EVER!
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There are no words. There were NO WORDS.

I met David Sedaris and he signed my copy of his book with a drawing of a candy cane!

He wore a pink shirt and was eating dumplings and noodles with prawns, Chinese food. I didn’t see the sign I was standing next to that read, ‘no photography’, and was chastised for attempting to take a grainy phone-photo of his back.

Finally at the front of the line, my one chance to beguile him with witty banter and become instant best friends, I froze. Mute as a tomb.

Getting is fun but giving is better. Most of the time.

Here are four facts about my colleague, Philsy:

1. He is excellent at his job and makes one feel excellent at one’s own – even when one is not… *ahem*

2. He knows all about knots

3. He enjoys the humour of David Sedaris*

4. Every Christmas he makes a magnificent Christmas pudding for each lucky-duck he works with. Philsy’s pud’ is Christmas; it tastes like snow, tinsel, Bing Crosby and love.

Last Christmas I wanted to give Philsy something as magically Christmassy in return, wanted to toil in my kitchen as he does in his. So toil I did. Expecting a dazzling production line of red gingham-topped beauties, hours of work saw me emerge messy, harried and triumphant with just two precious jars of pickle. One for Philsy and one for me.

Merry Christmas Philsy, this year I’m thinking… Pfeffernüsse!

*This fact in itself warrants my abiding respect

Moses Supposes

Moses picks me up from the airport; it is Friday, he is 65 years old and drives a taxi two days a week. He shows me photos of “my Christina” on his iPhone. The first black and white photo he took of her in 1964, “the most beautiful girl I had seen. I thought, man, you don’t have a chance”, and a photo of the two of them on his 50th birthday, when she was being treated for breast cancer. “She was still so beautiful, but she was sick then”. I tell him that she is beautiful, that she has beautiful eyes. He replies, “she was beautiful darling, she was. I lost her 12 years ago”.

“I used to come home from work to noise; the kids yelling, my Christina yelling at the kids, all of the lights on in the house. Now I come home to nothing. My boys are grown up and married, my Christina is gone. I turn the television on in one room, the hi-fi on in the other room and I get lost in front of the computer. I read The Independent in London, the New York Times and I read the Sydney Morning Herald. But that’s how it is. I promised her I wouldn’t ever marry anyone else and I haven’t. Twelve years later and I haven’t married. I won’t.”

Moses delights in showing me photos of his grandchildren, three boys and a girl. “I am the best grandfather!” He is still palpably heartbroken, but tells me, “that’s how life is. It can change in a single day. So one day you can be sad and the next day you can be happy again.”

Sometimes I make stuff

With the right motivation I’ve made stuff I didn’t think I could. This embroidery, and the shirt it adorned, were made with love, for my love. No better motivation than that.

Having said that, if you offered me the world’s best potato chip I’d give anything a shot.