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Juicy Banana Pop-Up: Jimoto Foods

Ex-Cho Cho San Head Chef Max Smith celebrates Japanese cuisine as part of Juicy Banana's weekly guest chef pop-ups.
By Ben Hansen and Ellen Seah
May 28, 2021
By Ben Hansen and Ellen Seah
May 28, 2021

Juicy Banana is the latest brainchild of chefs Grace Chen (ex-Poly) and self-dubbed "Big" Sam Young (ex-Lotus). The Sunday-only lunchtime restaurant operates out of the old Storehouse at Vibe Hotel in Rushcutters Bay. Each weekend, the venue sees a new special guest chef who creates a one-off set menu for visitors to enjoy. The formula behind Juicy Banana's weekly shared-style menu is simple: if Young loves the food, and it's delicious — he'll serve it.

This week's carefully crafted selections come from ex-Cho Cho San Head Chef, Max Smith. Smith has worked with the finest producers in Japan and local farmers to source the best possible produce. Using this produce, he's created a plentiful share menu that celebrates Japanese cuisine.

Across the menu you'll find kingfish and salmon sashimi with yuzu and chilli dressing; ponzu, black garlic and horseradish raw beef; steamed mussels served with bacon dashi and crispy wonton; and umami potato scallop seasoned with seaweed sour cream and miso hot sauce.

This is before the shared mains are even served, with this week's family-style share menu including koji roasted duck crown, glacier toothfish with XO don, spinach gomae and cold noodle salad. If you can actually fit anything else in after this Japanese feast, miso caramel cake will be served for dessert.

Each week, the set menu at Juicy Banana ranges from $105–140, with this week's lunchtime special setting you back $108 per person. If this is a little out of your budget, Juicy Banana's bar is taking walk-ins and serving casual snacks with cocktails every Sunday. Drink options include a Basque-style old fashioned; a salted cucumber and habanero margarita; and a macerated strawberry spritz with dry sherry, Hendrick's gin, apple ribbon and dill.

Juicy Banana, by Wesley Nel.


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