|Cho Cho San feast: the fore is tuna, avocado & pickled eggplant|
We can practically try every single thing on the menu. In case of Cho Cho San gathering last weekend, it was really close enough.
So I was joined by a squad of food bloggers all stars featuring Shirley, Isaac, Vanny, Annie, Amy, Yvonne, and Michael and The Lady for (late) lunch at one of the hippest places in town. Cho Cho San is a rather petite restaurant offering Japanese izakaya cuisine, piloted by chef Nic Wong (ex. Ester, Kylie Kwong, Bodega, Rockpool).
It wasn't the easiest place to be found, but the interior is sure one of the trendiest. Dominated with white and cream colours, the place emits a comforting light and casual ambiance without being sub-standard. Bar seating as well as communal table are available for smaller groups, while a row of bigger tables are to be occupied by larger ones.
|Chefs in action (Head chef Nic Wong is the one on the right)|
Our group of 9 was seated on the corner, which turned out to be the perfect place for (loud) food bloggers, each with their own weapon of choice that would be put into action everytime a plate was brought to the table.
There was degustation option listed on the menu as well, but we figured we might try more items without it. We ordered so many, some even twice-ordered, and I didn't even remember which came first. So lets go according to the menu list.
|Menu & table setting|
Of course we had all the fried things. What do you expect?
I don't usually like eggplant but this is the case where deep frying makes everything 100x better. Fried eggplant miso consisted of logs of eggplant with juicy innards within their crispy golden jackets, drizzled generously with miso sauce full with pleasant umami smack.
|Fried eggplant miso - $10|
The fried chicken was a bit blonde compared to the usual fried chicken, but was not inferior in any aspects. The meat was succulent and the batter was crispy enough to make the satisfying biting sound. Wasabi was involved in the dipping sauce, so don't go crazy with it or the spiciness will hit you hard.
|Fried chicken - $14|
Another case of the excellence of deep frying method. The tempura pumpkin was moreish with light, crunchy batter encasing sweet pumpkin. I thought I was eating sweet potato.
|Tempura pumpkin - $12|
Silken tofu in tomato dashi wasn't that innocent in terms of flavour although it looked tame enough. The tofu was as soft as a tofu can be, and the tomato dashi had such dominant tomato taste.
|Silken tofu in tomato dashi - $4 (ea)|
Another thing that Cho Cho San managed to compel me to try is raw seafood. Anyone who's close with me would know that the sight of sashimi doesn't really excite me, but I made an exception. As long as it comes from Cho Cho San, I'm all game.
The ensemble of tuna, avocado, and pickled eggplant basically contained the three ingredients I am not fond of. Surprise surprise, it was one of my favourite dishes of the day. Really, nobody can say that the cubes of ruby fish weren't fresh, and the avocado puree combined with pickled eggplant and that soy-based light sauce made such a good combination.
|Tuna, avocado, pickled eggplant - $22|
The Hokkaido scallops, corn, and house cured katsusuobushi was not the most photogenic dish but it was ordered twice. I think that alone speaks a lot. Although I didn't have a heaping mouthful of this, the scallop was plump and the whole mixture was interesting and undoubtedly tasty. I couldn't point what the dark-coloured paste was though.
|Hokkaido scallops, corn, house-cured katsusuobushi - $18|
I never knew I can enjoy raw fish so much like this. The Petuna trout with black pepper and wasabi was genuinely wonderful, with such fresh fish and alluring sauce that boosted every bite. I even went for seconds.
|Petuna ocean trout, black pepper, wasabi - $20|
Confession: I had never had raw beef before this. I eat my steak at least medium well-done.
Exclamations of 'OMG that looks RAW' were exchanged around the table when beef tataki with wild rice and ginger dressing arrived, and I wasn't even sure if I wanted to try those slivers of red raw beef. But in the name of research, and as an effort to be a good food blogger, I soldiered on.
|Beef tataki, wild rice, ginger dressing - $18|
OH MY GOD.
I am not joking here. Saying it was really good is a massive understatement.
The paper-thin beef didn't have any kind of off-putting smell that I was being vigilant about, and it dispersed easier than I thought too. It was utterly delightful, and the chefs definitely know how to dress their food because the involvement of the watery yet lovely sauce made the beef looks even more like a diva.
The wild rice was an interesting part of the dish, which tasted like the savoury twin of rice krispies and added contrast on the textural department.
|Beef tataki - wild rice innards|
We are only halfway, you guys.
The king crab omelette with Japanese curry wafted seductive aroma of curry, forcing us to dig in immediately as soon as the photoshoot was finished. The king crab might have been overwhelmed by the strong curry flavour, but the omelette with crispy edges and fluffy center put endless amount of smiles on our faces.
|King crab omelette, Japanese curry - $28|
You know what's missing so far? Carbs. Oh yeah, we all love the carbs.
This is where the udon noodles with pork and chilli was needed. The udon's slippery and chewy features themselves were already good on their own, so when they held hands with spicy minced pork, my love for them multiply vastly.
I am still figuring out what the white sauce-like stuff on top though. Mayo? Silken tofu? Egg white?
|Udon noodles, pork, chilli - $15|
The calamari and lime ponzu from the Hibachi grill almost sent me into frenzy. The sauce/marinade was successful in zapping my taste buds, and the calamari itself was grilled into perfection. The bites still retained the chewiness but it was not a labor at all to chew them.
I might have steal a piece or two while the others were distracted...
|Calamari, lime ponzu - $16|
Another option from the grill was this melt-in-your-mouth miso cod with celery shavings and ginger. Although I couldn't really sense the ginger, the perfection of the miso cod itself satisfied every part of my existence.
|Miso cod, celery, ginger - $40|
Soy glazed angus beef was another one that practically stopped me for a few seconds to contemplate about how good life is. My words will not cover how good this angus beef was. Succulent, tender, with perfect amount of fat and pink hue in the middle. Every pieces was also coated in such flawless seasoning, we all agreed that the three kinds of condiments on the side as unnecessary.
|Soy glazed angus beef - $36|
The marathon was ended with all of their desserts. Our ratio was 9:2:2, 9 being the banana soft serve in cone with peanuts and caramel because we didn't want any ugly ice cream fight on the table.
|Banana soft serve in cone with peanut & caramel - $7 (ea)|
While some among us wished that they had the green tea soft serve on the menu, I personally am very happy with the banana version. Not only it was smooth and not too sweet, the peanuts gave nice addition in terms of flavour and texture. And not to mention the caramel, which you can also find in the bottom of the cone. Winning!
|Banana soft serve in cone|
The other two desserts were ordered 2 each to share, and although they were good in their own ways, they didn't really float my boat. Steamed yuzu pudding was sweet, spongy, and zingy with interesting bonus of sour cream on top. The cho cho snow was basically a mountain of shaved ice concealing apple custard in the bottom, dribbled by ginger-y brown syrup.
|Steamed yuzu pudding - 12|
|Cho cho snow - $10|
The portion may be a bit small for some, so my advice would be to bring a few people with you to share the dishes. We did eat lots, and although the portion wasn't that big, we were stuffed. Too stuffed even to fit a Messina run after.
Bottom line, there were a bit of hits and misses here for me, but if you need another person to try more dishes, I'll keep my agenda clean for that.
Currency: $1 = IDR 11,000
Rating: 3.5/5 (Really worth the try)
Great selections of food with some really amazing items, service is great and rather efficient, ambiance is really comfy and nice, price is relatively on the higher end based on the portion.
CHO CHO SAN
73 Macleay St
Potts Point, NSW 2011
Phone: (02) 9331 6601
Web: Cho Cho San
Facebook: Cho Cho San