Cho Cho San, a not-so Japanese izakaya, is one of the hottest restaurant openings of 2014. Cho Cho San opened in June to a wave of rave reviews (including a 15.5/20 from Terry Durack, equivalent to one chefs hat). So it comes as no surprise that this restaurant is packed night in night out (weekdays included), with a constant stream of people coming in hoping to land a seat. Fortunately Cho Cho Can take a limited number of reservations so it's advisable to book ahead. This is what Crystal from Delectably Degusting, M and I did for this Thursday evening catch up.
|The long row of bar seating|
Just as important as the fun, casual food at Cho Cho San is the drinks list. The list includes a host of diffrerent sakes, shochus and beers and ciders imported from Japan mixed in with some wines and beers sourced locally and abroad. There's also a cocktail menu that changes seasonally using ingredients such as melon, yuzu, apples, and nashi pears. I went for a Japanese craft beer, a Tama No Megumi pale ale, whilst the girls went straight for the cocktail menu, a Japanese stiletto (midori, ketel one, plum, lemon juice & melon balls) and a ginger ninja (ketel one, ginger beer, honey dew melon & fresh ginger).
There's also a "feed me please" chefs selection menu for $65 per person. We decided instead to sample a variety of dishes from the extensive a la carte menu. There is plenty to keep you occupied just in the small dishes, raw bar and sides section. In fact we did not make it to the hibachi grill section as the food was surprisingly filling. Plus M was saving her precious stomach space for the desserts :P
Another thing to note is that the menu is seasonal and changes frequently (and I stress frequently). The menu already looks different from when Cho Cho San opened its doors and favourites such as eggplant miso dip, toasted crab bun and green tea soft serve have already been replaced with other items. I guess this gives us all a reason to return to Cho Cho San, but I was sad that I didn't get to try the green tea soft serve :(
|Hokkaido scallops, corn, house cured katsuobushi ($18)|
|Fried eggplant miso ($10)|
|Petuna ocean trout, black pepper, wasabi ($20)|
|Silken tofu in tomato dashi ($4)|
|Beef tataki, wild rice, ginger dressing ($18)|
|Udon noodles, pork, chilli ($15)|
|King crab omelette, Japanese curry ($28)|
|Brown rice, shitake mushroom, egg ($12)|
|Cho cho snow ($10)|
|Banana soft serve - cone, peanut, caramel ($7 each)|
Our waiter explained that they were trying to create the "next big thing" with the banana soft serve; I don't know about that but I think your Instagram feeds will be invaded with banana soft serves pretty soon if it hasn't already!
|Steamed yuzu pudding ($12)|
Not long after 2 hours, a waiter approaches our table to inform us that our time was up and that they would need our table for the next session. As we left the restaurant we could see a healthy queue of hungry diners waiting to get into Sydney's hottest new restaurant to see what all the fuss was about.
Highlight: There aren't many things better than slurping a bowl of udon noodles with a comforting ragu of pork and chilli during winter.
Lowlight: The lack of yuzu flavour in the steamed pudding
Overall: For the most part, Cho Cho San delivers delicious, well-executed food in a fun and trendy dining space that's sort of like a Japanese izakaya, but not really. There's also a great drinks menu to try its extensive range of sake, shochu and beer from Japan. 7/10 (Great)
Cho Cho San
Contact no: 02 9331 6601