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Western-inspired but still ultra Japanese, PaperPlanes reminds us of Lost in Translation.

Western-inspired but still ultra Japanese, PaperPlanes reminds me of that bar in the Tokyo Park Hyatt from Lost in Translation, by virtue of its dimmed mood lighting and sombre atmosphere. The music is surely derived from every Karaoke bar’s top playlist. But make sure you look up and notice the further novelty factor: all kinds of skateboards are stacked over the ceiling and paper planes hang in flocks.

As soon as your bum is on the seat, swiftly order yourself a Wasabi Mintini. Yes, Mint-ini. You’ll discover Minties-infused vodka with wasabi paste, cucumber, fresh mint and lemon. It’s not sweet like most other cocktails, but possesses an original, crisp flavour.

The food is not only to be savoured but is an intellectual experience of sorts. Its ingredients, its architecture, its providence and conceptualization all found a way into our conversation. I’d recommend the Salmon Tartare Nachos ($16). Crunchy prawn crackers ready to be dipped in chilled salmon sashimi, mixed with wasabi, miso and salmon roe . Second to that, opt for the Kingfish Belly Carpaccio ($18) in sweet ginger and mirin sauce, tempura jalapeno and chilli oil.

I should also mention the mystery dish of Lamb Shanks (approx. $30), slow cooked in a special sauce with unmentionable phantom ingredients. I am salivating at the thought of it right now. We pilfered one small morsel of information from the waiter: the lamb bones are cooked for five days straight to produce the sauce. If that’s not commitment, then I am a misogamist.

Alas, a sweet tooth must always be satisfied. The Green Tea Rochers ($12) will do the trick: baked ricotta balls encasing melted dark chocolate and hazelnut, sprinkled with green tea flakes. These were heaven in a crumbly-oozing-delicious-sphere.

This is a fantastic place to head to before a gig at the Beach Road Hotel or after a long day at the beach, nestled in an arcade between Campbell Parade and the trendy fashion stores on Gould Street. Easy to find and, once you do, we promise you’ll return. A warning: although this place has only been open for a month, Saturday nights book out fast, so remember to call ahead. Quick (chop)sticks!

Published on May 08 , 2012 by Dianne Cohen

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