Sokyo, the Star's Japanese child, does elegance extraordinarily well.
September 10, 2012
Elegance is something that's impossible to achieve if someone doesn't own it. It's not something than can be purchased, it just is. A restaurant can buy elegance, through pricy interior designers and architects, bizarrely shaped spoons and snappy uniforms. The "ooooooh" factor. The trick is to do it effortlessly.
Hard in a casino. Yet Sokyo do elegance extraordinarily well. The credit has to go to the floor staff that meet and greet diners and guide them through what is initially a daunting menu of strange creations. The décor subtly pushes the sushi motif of fish scales on the walls and the bar is what you would expect from a Star child, all matching uniforms and slick haircuts.
But chef Chas Kojima has concocted something more substantial, a Japanese smorgasbord of beautiful Frankenstein creations, throwing cauliflower purees into the mix with miso and snapper, for example. Amazingly, the emphasis is on clean lines when the results could have been messy.
The wagyu tenderloin with pumpkin, wasabi butter and shio konbu jus ($48) could have been, potentially, a prolonged tussle on the plate between different textures and tastes, but it snaps together.
The menu is divided between sashimi, tempura, robata, mains, soups, nigiri and sushi. Where to begin? Ok, the kingfish miso cerviche ($18) with green chilli and crispy potato shreds and ocean trout wasabi salsa ($19) with chilli threads and pickle wasabi salsa to start. They're clean and refreshing, confusing enough to be interesting.
The tempura? The Moreton Bay Bug ($26) with burnt butter mayo, passionfruit jelly and Vegemite croutons. The robata? Probably Kurobuta pork belly ($14) with spicy shirodashi and yuko kosho.
For a main, don't let your finger scroll past the snapper goma ponzu ($29) with cauliflower puree, king brown mushrooms and aka miso, and the aforementioned wagyu.
Sokyo actually offers more than on first appearance. Sydney can do stylish well, but substance is harder won. Kojima can do both. This is a highly recommended addition to the Star's canon, and Sydney's.