Sokyo, The Star, Pyrmont

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After such a pleasant dining experience at Sokyo last year, it has become one of my favourite restaurants in Sydney. Sokyo is operated by young head chef, Chase Kojima, who has had years of experience at numerous Nobu restaurants around the world. Like its name Sokyo, which is derived from the words Sydney and Tokyo, Kojima’s dishes offer an innovative and modern twist on Japanese cuisine.

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Situated in the lobby of The Darling hotel, the restaurant entrance is discrete and we only found it the first time after asking for directions. The decor is modern, stylish yet intimate. During my first visit, I noticed the sushi bar where diners could observe all the dishes prepared right before their eyes. And this was where I chose to sit this time.IMG_3896[1]

Like our usual girls’ night out, we started off with cocktails. On my last visit, the waiter surprised me with a cocktail of his choice, which I loved so I kept in mind that Sokyo does wonderful cocktails. I ordered the Peach and Dill Bellini, while M tried Nashi Sling (Homemade Nashi purée with Rye, Applejack and Pineapple, topped with Soda) and J went for O Pomelo!

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I knew exactly what I wanted to order – I wanted to focus on the sushi. I have heard of Sokyo’s sushi chef, Sano san, for a long, long time and I finally had the opportunity to try his sushi. But as it was my friends’ first time at Sokyo, I also wanted them to try some of their delicious cooked dishes. We decided to go with a few dishes to start, followed by a selection of nigiri sushi and of course, finished with desserts.

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One can never go wrong with scallop, and this continues to hold true with the Hokkaido Scallop Yuzu Honey which was served with onion, capers, crunchy miso and yuzu honey. The scallops were so fresh and plump. I loved the well-balanced yuzu honey dressing and the crunchy miso added a contrasting texture as well as an additional hit of fragrance and umami.

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I can never go pass DengakuMan (Caramelised miso cod) whenever I see it on the menu and at Sokyo, this was served with japanese salsa and cucumber salad. The outer layer of the cod is caramelised and sweet, and the flesh is flakey, moist and buttery.

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The accompanying japanese salsa and cucumber salad was refreshing and balanced the richness of the cod. This was so good I could devour a whole fish.

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The Lamb Chops arrived and the waitress advised that we pick it up with our hands to eat it. The meat was soft and even J who doesn’t like lamb said it was amazing. I couldn’t stop myself from double (and triple) dipping into the creamy and sweet black garlic eggplant puree.

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Then it was time for the sushi. The nigiri sushi was seasoned and served to accentuate each fish’s unique flavours so there was no need to dip it in soy sauce. The first four pieces were snapper, alfonsino, wild bluefin tuna (chutoro) and hiramasa kingfish. My favourite was the chutoro which was aged for two weeks, giving a pleasingly soft and fatty texture.

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 L to R: snapper, alfonsino, wild bluefin chutoro, hiramasa kingfish

One of my favourites was the plump scallop which was wrapped around with a piece of crispy nori (seaweed). The scoring of the cuttlefish made it soft rather than the chewy and slippery texture that I usually associate it with.

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L to R: scallop, seared scallop, cuttlefish, seared salmon belly

In the middle of dinner, I spotted the tamago sitting at the end of the sushi bar and I whispered to M that I wanted a piece of tamago each to finish. After our last piece of nigiri, Sano san started preparing tamago sushi and M asked if I had already ordered it, but I hadn’t. To our surprise, Sano san had read my mind! The tamago was sweet and soft like an eggy sponge cake and it was the perfect ending to our sushi omakase.

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But wait…

One cannot leave Sokyo without trying their magnificent desserts. Prior to this visit, I had tried the Chef’s selection which comprised of mini versions of four of their desserts. My favourite was the Goma Street (black sesame and caramelised white chocolate) which I had to order again this time. The presentation of the dessert had changed from last time but I actually enjoyed this version more with extra layers of the delicate, crispy,  tempered chocolate, and caramelised white chocolate mousse in between. The flavours worked together brilliantly and it was not too sweet either.

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The presentation of the tofu cheesecake was so cute, it looked like it had just come out of its plastic container. A light dessert accompanied by thyme sugar and strawberry consomme poured at the table, adding a fruity sweetness.

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If anything, I tend to avoid ordering souffles as I don’t like the texture of foam and that is what souffles remind me of. Until I sampled Sokyo’s version. The risen part of the yuzu souffle was crispy and the bottom was soft but definitely not foamy. The yuzu flavour was quite strong and hence sour, but eat it with the creme fraiche ice cream and you’d get another perfectly balanced dessert.

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That concludes another wonderful experience at Sokyo. Allow me to repeat myself but Sokyo is currently one of my favourite restaurants in Sydney – one that I would be dreaming about my next visit as soon as I step out the door. With great service and food that I feel is tailored to my palate, I’ve already decided what to order next time.

– C

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