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sokyo, the star

May 14, 2012

There we were. Outside Sokyo, The Star, six rumbling tummies and a $500 voucher in our hot little hands. (Well, in my dad’s front jacket pocket to be precise, but who’s asking).

Dresses and makeup on for a night on the town.

A birthday (the Bean’s), a farewell (for Koji & I before our BIG-TRIP) and a curiosity.

“I wonder if this Nobu trained guy is all that”, wondered my Papa, as he negotiated the dark entryway.

“I guess we’ll see”, said I.

“Can you all stop looking at the door and go in?” said the Bean. “I’m hungry”.

Little Lily (sparkling sake) $30 // Shiso-Jito $17

To start, a drink. Or drinks to be more exact.

A toast with the milky sparkling Little Lily – it’s a shock to the Papa Bear’s system and Mama refuses to take even a sip after catching whiff of its pungently fermented aroma. Me, I quite enjoy the way the light bubbles dance on my tongue, jiving to a herbal (if somewhat seriously alcoholic) beat.

The Bean, not too plussed, orders herself a cocktail filled with Havana Club Blanco rum, lime and soda, kalamansi lime and shiso leaf sorbet. It’s punchy in an “I’m-on-a-detox…-sort-of. Ha-ha!” way.

Hitachino White $10

Shepperdoo sticks to beer. (Which, surprisingly is the best received of all the drinks sampled. And not just because of the owl. Hoot!)

By this point, we have pondered the ins and outs of the menu before admitting defeat and casting our baleful eyes at Roume, our host for the evening.

“There’s some dishes we want, and some others we don’t, but we don’t know how big everything is and… well, we have $500 to spend and can you please help?”

Help he does, and our first round of orders are sent out to the kitchen.

Moreton Bay Bug Sashimi $26 // Short Rib Tosazu $16

The Moreton Bay Bug Sashimi ($26) is a signature dish for Sokyo. Literally, as it turns out after Koji carefully (and after many slightly confused rotations) reads out the characters written in burnt butter mayo on our plate. Pops of passionfruit jelly and vegemite croutons add sweetness, salt and texture. We’re glad somebody (maybe me) had the tenacity to divvy the dish into six very equal portions so no disgruntledness could ensue over one taking more than another.

The Short Rib Tosazu ($16) looks like it’s winking at us. Beef tataki, pickled grapes, tosazu (a Japanese dressing), chestnut puree and tarragon adorn the long white plate. We roll the pieces up with our chopsticks and pop them into our mouths for a strangely refreshing flavour hit.

Bonito Ceviche $17

It’s the memories that hit me first when the Bonito Ceviche ($17) arrive.

The Bean & I. An underground beer hall in Kyoto. Bonito Tataki on a plate in front of us – the first taste of the fish we’d ever had. Umeshu.

“Do you remember Kyoto?” I ask the Bean, as our teeth sink into the just-opaque bonito, topped with shiso, crispy shallots and ceviche salsa.

“Ha-ha-ha-ha-HA!” she responds, her jaw flying open. “YOU SHOULD EAT THE PLUM!”

She remembered all right.

Red Snapper Tempura $18 // Cuttlefish Tempura $16

We are brought back to earth by a pile of tempura red snapper ($18), dusted liberally with black pepper and chilli, a squeeze of lime and a dish of vinegar. Oh, it is tender and flaky and all things beautifully fresh and not-at-all-too-fishy. To my recollection, it fares far better than the tempura cuttlefish ($16) (which, in turn, fares unmeasureably better than your average salt and pepper squid). The chilli de arbol salsa and tarragon ponzu sauce are a more than worthwhile accompaniment to the tender cephalopoda.

Crispy Ocean Trout Skin Salad $19

But now, wait. And gaze upon the wide dish that has been laid upon our table.

“A salad?” we question, when told of its description. “But there are no greens!”

There are greens, of course. They are merely obscured by the giant, flaky, divinely crackly and salty pieces of crispy ocean trout skin that sit atop.

Let me repeat that.

Crackly and salty pieces of crispy ocean trout skin.

Amen.

610g Wagyu T Bone with Dipping Sauces $99

Not to be outdone, the smell of the coal seared wagyu hits our table before the (ridiculously covetable) tabletop stone grill on a plate does.

“Excuse me” asks a man walking past our table on the way out. “What is that? I must have it the next time I come.”

We agree, for the meat is conversation-stoppingly good.

I have no words. My conversation is still stopped. That’s how good it was.

Amen.

Again.

Robata: Wagyu Tenderloin & Foie Gras $25 // Kurobuta Pork Belly $14

At the beginning of the meal, during our vigorous menu perusal, there was one question that sat in everyone’s minds.

“What is a Robata?”

“Is it a kind of robot? But, like a good one? Because it has an “A” on the end?” asked one-who-shall-not-be-named.

“I don’t think so” replied another.

Turns out, a robata is a charcoal grill and look, here-comes-meat-on-a-stick!

The Kurobuta Pork Belly ($14 for two skewers) is dressed in spicy shirodashi and yuzu kosho. Something root vegetable-ish sat between the slices of pork. We were appeased.

We were unsettled, however, by the Wagyu Tenderloin & Foie Gras ($25 for two skewers). Not because it was bad. More because there were four pieces per skewer and only six of us on the table.

Later on in the meal, we contemplated ordering another round of the wagyu skewers. We didn’t, on the premise that we could come back again for cocktails and foie gras. Which reminds me…

DengakuMan $32 // oh HI!

DengakuMan, a caramelised miso cod served with Japanese salsa and celery croutons ($32) was to be our final dish. (Spoiler: it wasn’t).

I think it would have been received better had it been served prior to the meat-fest that was wagyu x2, pork and foie gras, but as it wasn’t, the flavour fell somewhat flat in amongst the strong dishes we’d eaten so far.

(Look! I got all dressed up to go out! Hi!)

At this point, Roume pops by to see how we are going.

“Are you full?” he asks, pleasantly, unaware of the giant eating machines that occupy our table.

(I’m not kidding. The Bean and Shepperdoo once ate an 840g roast with vegetables for dinner. Between them. With no leftovers. The packet said “Family Roast”. They speak of that meal fondly).

Are. We. Full? Ha!

Queensland Roll $21 //Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice $20

Tai Ceviche Nigiri $15 // Tempura Roll $19

To be honest, I was getting full. I could have stopped eating right after the cod.

But then I would have missed out on the sushi.

My pick of the lot was the Tai Ceviche Nigiri with crispy nori and lime salsa. Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice with truffle salt and spicy mayo came a close second.

I spent the rest of the time watching the dessert menu. And the other tables.

Donatsu $13 for a plate of 3

I’d seen them passing by our table for the last half hour. Three silver spoons with golden, icing sugar dusted orbs atop.

“Two donatsu please!”

“You’re going to make me eat donut?” said Mama.

“Yeah I am.”

Pineapple mascarpone filling. Red berrilicious sauce in a small white jug. Crème fraiche ice cream. Heaven.

(And er, watch out because if you stab a donatsu you’ll end up with pineapple marscapone filling shooting out of it in a rather humorous fashion. For everyone else that is.)

Chef’s Dessert Plate $26 // Chocolate Trio $24

We finished with two more dessert platters, because hey! Dessert!

The Chocolate Trio ($24) contained a chocolate peanut butter fondant, a caramelised white chocolate mousse-like concoction sandwiched between dark chocolate sheets, black sesame ice cream and a frangelico bavarois that took all of our breaths away.

The Dessert Sampler that day consisted of the even more breath taking (and unstoppably edible) Yamazaki Caramel Macchiato (coffee ice cream, coco nibs, whisky foam), Sokyo “Mochi Ice Cream” (yatsuhashi kyoto mochi, frozen strawberry milk shake), Banana Miso (miso caramel, macadamia nut brittle) and a strawberry sorbet with fruits and a crushed white sesame macaron.

Last swipes of dessert eaten, plates cleared, mouths and hair checked, we went away sated and dreaming of donatsu. Well, I did anyway.

Sokyo
Level G, The Darling
The Star
80 Pyrmont Street
Pyrmont NSW 2009

website


  • #1
    May 15th, 2012

    I really enjoyed my meal at Soyko. Everything was outstanding. I still dream about those donuts too! They are so good

  • #2
    May 15th, 2012

    Wow – so much yumminess! That crispy skin salad sure looks interesting… and the shared dessert platters look fab!

  • #3
    May 15th, 2012

    What a great post! The bonito… amazing!

  • #4
    May 15th, 2012

    What a coincidence, 6 of us ate at Sokyo 2 weeks ago with my uncle’s $500 voucher! I loved it there, but unfortunately they did not have the fish skin salad anymore. I’ll definitely go back because even through the portions are miniscule, the quality is ‘number one’, as my uncle would say.

  • #5
    May 15th, 2012

    I hunk I just died n went to Wagyu heaven!

  • #6
    bigbite
    May 15th, 2012

    ummh… i can still taste it.

  • #7
    May 16th, 2012

    So like, that’s food porn at 8.25am for me! LOL drool much! Ahh it looks amazing.

  • #8
    Chik
    May 16th, 2012

    Uhm, am I missing something? Where does one procure a $500 voucher?

  • May 16th, 2012

    Hey Chik, the voucher was a gift from my uncle who had visited recently.

  • #9
    May 18th, 2012

    Donatsu, oh wow they were good! Everything that I ate when I visited Sokyo was excellent. Is on my return hit list.

  • #10
    July 5th, 2012

    Really enjoyed my meal at Sokyo, if only it wasn’t quite so pricey. But hooray for gift vouchers!

  • #11
    RMLGomez
    May 12th, 2014

    Thank you for posting your dining experience with Sokyo ( very detailed, I might add )… and for the privilege of being you host for that evening. I hope you enjoyed the menu as much I enjoyed creating it. We look for to your next visit.

Shez