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Massive New 104-Seat Peruvian Restaurant Callao Has Just Opened Its Doors in Barangaroo

Callao is the stunning new Nikkei diner that's bringing a crudo- and steak-heavy menu to Barangaroo Avenue.
By Ben Hansen
February 01, 2024
By Ben Hansen
February 01, 2024

The trio behind Sydney's Wild Sage cafes and Alegre Bar and Dining have brought a huge new 104-seat Japanese Peruvian restaurant to Barangaroo, with Callao opening on Barangaroo Avenue right by longstanding favourites like NOLA Smokehouse and Bar, Shirt Bar and Lovefish.

Nikkei cuisine is having a bit of a moment in Sydney thanks to openings like Callao and Lima. The collision of regional flavours and cooking techniques has a long history, thanks to the two nations' diplomatic ties dating back to the 1800s.

"Callao is the name of the port in Peru where the first 790 Japanese immigrants docked," says Head Chef Jihwan Choi. "For us, this destination was such a beautiful representation of the merging of these two cultures and their respective cuisines."

The menu's three biggest sections consist of crudo, wood-fired meats and seafood, and steaks. It's a real share-style affair, with suggested must-trys including the scampi tartare and seared bonito tiradito, plus the wood-fired prawns, which are prepared on a custom-built parrilla grill and accompanied by aji panca bisque, sea urchin butter and tobiko mayo.

If you're going all out, the banquet menu will set you back $119, and runs through the aforementioned bonito tiradito and prawns, as well as oysters, wagyu tri-tip, lamb skewers, Murray cod and queso fresco-topped potatoes, all paired with a variety of accoutrements from blood plum sauce to ponzu leche de tigre.

Make sure to leave room for dessert — the selection of sweets at Callao isn't something you want to miss out on. There's a pineapple paddle pop inspired by the nostalgic Peruvian summertime treat helado de piña, and featuring fresh grilled pineapple, sorbet and rum caramel; cheesecake topped with toasted corn, finger lime, milk skin and avocado sorbet; and a trio of chocolate truffles.

The combination of Japanese and Peruvian sensibilities continues through the drinks list, where you'll find a hefty saké collection alongside signature cocktails like the Bellavista, a mix of Pisco Quebranta, Midori Japanese melon liqueur, coconut husk rum, lemon and pineapple juice.

All of this is housed in an impressive space designed by Kathryn Ashley Studio. The moody dining room draws you in with a luminous feature wall reminiscent of the mountains of Peru. The neutral palette and its splashes of red will set you up for supreme date-night vibes — while also accommodating Barangaroo client lunches and more casual catch-ups.

Callao is located at 2/100 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo. It's open 12–3pm and 5–10pm Monday–Saturday. Browse the menu and make a booking at the restaurant's website.

Images: Dexter Kim.

Published on February 01, 2024 by Ben Hansen
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