Given Osaka is considered the food capital of Japan, we were expecting big things from Osaka Trading Co. — a bar set in the Tramsheds from the folks at Tokyo Bird — and it did not disappoint. The renowned Surry Hills whisky den spread its wings and expanded to this second venue in September 2016, infusing the Bird's core elements into a modern Japanese restaurant, where fresh seafood and a robata grill take centre stage.
The ferociously inviting izakaya is all about balancing your bites and sips — harmoniously marrying food with booze — such is the Japanese way. You can chase that gulp of Yamakazi with a handful of edamame ($6) or tuck into soy glazed barramundi ($32) while sipping Hibiki — there are a slew of small plates which pair perfectly with sake or whisky, and are just plain oishi.
The long narrow space, abuzz with vivacious chatter and clicking glass, feels as though it belongs on the neon-lit streets of Osaka's Dotonbori. Bottles of sake line the walls, traditional lanterns emit a warm glow, while Studio Ghibli films are projected on the exposed brick walls — it's a tribute to Japan, and it's not trite but wholly heartening. The venue exudes an effortlessly cool vibe, kind of like Japan, it's ten steps ahead but feels no need to boast.
Open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week, Osaka Trading Co. can quash your Japanese cravings whenever they may surface. Weekday lunches are covered with $15 ramen — while dinner, well, prepare for a multi-plate affair. The izakaya nails the classics — melt-in-your-mouth salmon sashimi ($17) and moist-yet-crispy karaage ($17) — and proves that, to borrow Leonardo da Vinci's aphorism, simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.