I was going to write something special since it is the 3rd anniversary of my blog. Unfortunately, I spent most of the previous week feeling very sick with a terrible stomach bug to the point where I actually didn't enjoy looking at or even thinking about food for a while (hard to believe but it's true). To cheer myself up, I thought I might use this time to finish my recap on the epic feasting that happened at Cho Cho San late last month. Sorry if this review doesn't sound as exciting as it should be since my horrible tummy has turned me off food at the moment but it really was amazing. You should pay a visit to Cho Cho San one day. Seriously.
You know that saying "food is meant to be shared". With restaurants like Cho Cho San, it's better to go in a group to try as much from the menu as possible without doing too much wallet damage. This was exactly what me and a few good fellow Sydney food bloggers did when we had a late lunch at this renowned Modern Japanese restaurant a few weeks ago. With that many food bloggers in the house, it was no wonder that we tried almost everything off the menu!
Fried Eggplant Miso ($10.00)
I personally don't mind eggplant and heck fried eggplant miso sounds even better...cos fried food yeah. Was really surprised at how good this tasted especially with the texture. The batter was crunchy on the outside but soft and gooey on the inside especially when drizzled with miso sauce. Blew us away so much that we ordered a second serving later on.
Fried Chicken ($14.00)
Yeah we drooled immediately when we spotted fried chicken on the menu. While it may not be as crunchy as NaruOne, it still had that crispy batter with a succulent juicy fillet that gets you addicted enough to want more than your share. It also tasted delicious with the wasabi mayo on the side.
Hokkaido Scallops, Corn, House-cured Katsuobushi ($18.00)
I do love a good scallop so I was excited to tr this dish when it arrived at our table. While the scallops were plump and refreshing, I was more curious about the corn puree lying beneath the sea of scallops. Couldn't help eating the scallops with the corn together which went along really well. Very unique ingredient combinations and flavours which was clearly the norm for Cho Cho San especially with many of the dishes that followed.
Tuna, Avocado, Pickled Eggplant ($22.00)
While the name for the above dish may sound plain and simple, the cubes of raw tuna with the pickled eggplant and the creamy avocado looked pleasing to the eye. Especially when topped with sesame seeds and drizzled with a soy based sauce. Tasted very refreshing.
Beef Tataki, Wild Rice, Ginger Dressing ($18.00)
When this dish showed up, everyone was hesitant to eat it since the beef tataki did look raw. I mean sure we do like a good piece of raw steak but I guess this might not look pleasing to the eye at first. But you know that saying "do not judge a book by its cover"? Well this is one of those examples since it became one of my fave dishes. The thin slices of beef along with the ginger dressing were incredibly delicious especially when it melts in your mouth. Once again, we were surprised by the generous layer of wild rice buried under the beef tataki which added a buttery crunch to this soft dish.
Petuna Ocean Trout, Black Pepper, Wasabi ($20.00)
While raw beef may got us shocked at first, we couldn't say no to sashimi. The ocean trout at Cho Cho San was thickly-sliced and blended well with the black pepper and wasabi (which wasn't spicy at all). The flavours may be subtle but the texture of the ocean trout was balanced and succulent for the taste-buds.
King Crab Omelette, Japanese Curry ($28.00)
I LOOOVE CRABS! (Sorry I've been wanting to write that in this blog for so long. And yeah the food kind of course.) I also love eggs so a king crab omelette dish is the one dish that I must get before leaving this restaurant. This was really a mouthful of flavours that will test your tastebuds. There's a good serving of crab in this dish which made me very happy. Loving the two different types of egg present in this dish too from the crispy omelette on the outer edges that encompasses the gooey egg yolk inside alon with the swirls of the curry sauce. Definitely a dish you seriously have to order here.
Calamari and Lime Ponzu ($16.00)
The calamari was had a nice grilled texture that was chewy when you bite into it. However, the highlight of this dish was the tangy lime ponzu sauce splashed all over it.
Udon Noodles, Pork, Chilli ($15.00)
You know what? After typing the price of this dish just then, I gotta say that I actually thought that this would be more expensive than $15.00 since the serving was larger compared to a few more expensive dishes. The udon noodles were slippery and cooked well with a nice bitey texture. The flavours were quite strong thanks to the chilli and minced pork though the whipped tofu balanced it out. Another dish that I would order again at a future visit. Sidenote: I think the chopped shallots/spring onions seemed to be a signature garnish since it was present in many of the dishes.
Miso Cod, Celery, Ginger ($40.00)
I enjoyed the flavour and texture of the miso cod with its soft texture and a caramelised surface. The celery and radish were also refreshing to have at this point. However, $40 was way too steep given the serving size of the dish.
Silken Tofu in Tomato Dashi ($4.00 each)
With all the crazy, textual and flavoursome dishes we had to this point, it was time to cool ourselves down with this simple individual serving of silken tofu in tomato dashi and covered with tempura batter crumbs. Sure enough this simple looking plate still surprised us once again with getting our palates excited from the moment you taste the zesty tomato dashi that really hits you slowly.
Soy Glazed Angus Beef ($36.00)
By this point, I should stopped being surprised at all this excitement and just assume that every unique dish is the norm here but I just keep getting wowed each time. The angus beef is another example of dishes that exceeded our expectations from the basic presentation to the mouth-watering flavours. The use of the Hibachi Grill\ has made this beef cut so tender and juicy with a nice pinkish colour and the right amount of seasoning. This tasted so amazing that we barely touched the extra condiments that came with this dish. The beef held so well on its own that we though it doesn't need any extra flavour boost.
Tempura Pumpkin ($12.00)
I've been disappointed by many versions of tempura in the past but I was pleased by this version because of its crunchy batter that matched well with the sweet pumpkin and a bit of oil oozing out as you bite into each piece. Usually I'm not a huge pumpkin fan, but I was keen on getting a few more servings of this.
Cho Cho Snow ($10.00)
Finally we're onto the desserts! Since there's a big group of us, we decided to sample all three desserts on the menu. First we shared the Cho Cho Snow, which was a light dessert consisting of shaved ice clumped on a bed of apple custard and drizzled with ginger syrup. Personally I didn't mind this dessert too much. It was light and there were lots of weird and surprising flavours when combining the shaved ice with the smooth fruity custard and the dollops of ginger syrup. Not bad to have on a warm day.
Steamed Yuzu Pudding ($12.00)
This dessert wasn't bad either though I thought the use of sour cream was a bit too unusual for my preference (and you know what I think about sour cream ahem). The pudding itself was warm with a sponge-like texture and citrus kind of flavour. But yeah me and sour cream...
Banana Soft Serve, Cone, Peanut, Caramel ($7.00 each)
Just when you start to get a bit bummed with the desserts, the soft serve cones will blow you away completely! While some of us wished the green tea soft serve was still available, I was personally impressed by the banana soft serve. Loved the banana flavour, the caramel swirls, the subtle sweetness and those chunks of peanuts decorated on the ice cream. To top off it off was, I loved how crunchy the waffle cone was. Even when the cream drooled over the edges! Everything about this dessert was just soooo freaking awesome!
The prices were on the more expensive side but it's actually cheaper if you go with a large group, share many dishes and split the final bill each way. While the portions did appear to be small, we ordered so much that we still got into a food coma by the end. Because of the more expensive prices, this isn't a restaurant I would go back on a regular basis. However, I was impressed with most of their dishes so much that I would be keen to return to taste them again as well as trying dishes that we didn't get on this visit. It's no surprise that it has gotten so much praise in the short time it has been around. And I have to say, the praise is certainly well deserved!
Finally I should add that I still can't believe I'm still doing this blog for three years! Thought it would last for 6 months max haha. Cheers for another year or whatever. Thanks to everyone who have read my blog over the years. You guys have been incredible. I'm off now to rest my head and recover my poor stomach.
Cho Cho San
73 Macleay Street, Potts Point NSW 2011
(02) 9331 6601