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.