TOP 100 QUEST: SOKYO, Sydney
“Sokyo. Where the buzz of Tokyo meets a Sydney beat”. That’s what the website says, and I have to say, that’s a pretty accurate summary. Sokyo at The Star is buzzy and vibrant with cool music, complete with DJ. The fit out is modern and it’s where the beautiful people hang out. I’d only just dined at Minamishima in Melbourne a couple of weeks beforehand and while both are up-market Japanese establishments, Sokyo’s vibe is in stark contrast to the serenity and calm of Minismashima (both equally good).
At Sokyo, chef Chase Kojima focuses on blending contemporary Japanese flavours and traditional techniques using fine Australian produce. Chase was born in San Francisco and learned a lot of his skills at a young age from his chef/restaurateur father. Chase worked for the Nobu restaurant group before opening up Sokyo in late 2011.
The entrance to the restaurant is off the rather impressive The Star accommodation foyer and you enter the bar area before walking through to the dining room. We decided to enjoy the bar before heading to our table so we had a pre-dinner beverage. I was most thankful that I was having lighter Japanese food this night as only two hours beforehand I had finished a five hour lunch at Lumi Bar & Dining across the road. On finishing our drinks and waiting until I felt like I’d almost sufficiently digested my lunch, we moved to our table for a little menu perusing.
The menu’s arranged under a number of headings including Sashimi, Tempura, Robata (charcoal grill), Essential Dishes and sushi. I’m a sashimi-loving-freak and would happily eat raw fish every day, so we opted to start with the Sashimi platter – Chefs choice of 24 pieces of traditional mixed sashimi. When it arrived, it certainly got top marks for presentation with a bit of dry ice theatre. Not much else to say about it apart from it was fresh, fresh, fresh and I could have eaten twice as much! Sticking with the raw fish theme we thought we’d better try some sushi so ordered some nigiri-style – Ocean trout umami sansho with soy, shansho pepper and lime. Beautifully vibrant orange fish.
Onto the cooked stuff, we couldn’t go past the Sea scallops and king prawns with sugar snap peas, Sancho peppercorn and sudachi prawn butter. Sounds good right? When it turned up it looked fantastic, and tasted great. Big prawns, plump scallops and buttery goodness. I would order this again for sure. Finally, a bit of meat was in order – the juicy Kurobuta pork belly skewers with apple, wasabi and black salt. How good do these sound? How do you improve pork belly? Put it on a stick, of course!
We had a very enjoyable experience at Sokyo and on looking around us, I’m pretty sure everyone else was enjoying themselves too. It was a Sunday night and the place was full. It’s not too badly priced, but you expect to pay a little more in Sydney, and it is situated in The Star casino.