Sokyo at the Star is one of the best Japanese restaurants in Sydney. Helmed by Chef Chase Kojima, the son of San Francisco sushi chef Sachio Kojima and whom headed up kitchens all over the world for the iconic Nobu restaurant group. After four years in Vegas, he circled the Nobu globe working in Dubai, London and LA before finishing at Nobu Bahamas as Executive Chef. The food served at Sokyo combines the traditional Japanese style with a modern twist. "Every single creation that makes it on the menu is a delightful surprise."
Came for: Caramelised miso cod, spicy tuna sushi on crispy rice
Sokyo can seat up to 116 diners, mostly tables but there's a 10-seat counter bar, which is best seat in the house as you get to watch the chefs prepare everything in front of your eyes. We booked the bar seats but unfortunately Chef Chase Kojima was not there, another omakase sushi chef Takashi Sano who conducts the omakase that night.
Start with the maguro tataki - the tuna has been aged for a week which made its melting texture and flavorfulness, and nicely kept its juiciness. The carbonised leek aioli was very special and paired well with the tuna - surrounded by a beautiful garden of edibles flowers to balanced the flavor.
Besides the tempura on the menu, there are also daily special tempura available. The server highly recommended the scallop tempura of the day, it was quite delicious. Although its skin was not extremely thin as those better ones I had before, the extremely juicy and tender inside was very impressive - with a lovely sweet aftertaste.
A nice seasoned salad with spicy garlic vinaigrette for a balance.
The caramel miso cod is an essential dish, not cheap but trust me, you have to try this. It has a golden brown caramelise de outer layer, sweet and a bit crispy. The moment that the oils burst in my mouth was incredible, this was seriously the best texture I had so far. The flesh indie was mist and buttery, with a lovely sweet miso flavor. The Japanese salsa and cucumbers salad balanced well with the cod.
This was probably my first lamb experience at a Japanese restaurant. The medium rare lamb rump was unexpected succulent and flavorful, the shiso salsa verde and the eggpalnt salad brought a touch of freshness. I enjoyed it with the goma ponzu, which is black sesame puree on the bottom - a lovely combination of Eastern and Western.
The crispy rice nigiri sushi was one thing we cam for. The melting freshness from the ocean works so well with crispy rice. I never imagined having sushi in this way, the rice was like the traditional Shanghainese 'zi fan gao 兹饭糕' - cirspy outside and warm steamed rice inside (this one was vinegared rice). It was really impressive.
After finished the crispy rice sushi, the journey of chef's omakase (5 pieces) started. The first piece was quite interesting, first time having this kind of sushi. The scallop was slightly seared and laid on the body-tempurature sushi rice, the rice has a nice balance, the scallop was pretty juicy and sweet. The seaweed was interestingly placed on the bottom of the nigiri, its umami flavor and crispiness enhanced the flavor of the entire piece.
The second piece was seared scampi, really loved its buttery texture. While the next two raw items were also very enjoyable - a rich and creamy chu-toro with a modern twist of black pepper seasoning.
The last piece was a combination of sea urchin and otoro - the most wonderfully combination in the world. The uni has a clean but very sweet and umami flavor, on a bed of melting otoro with rich oils, it was no doubt a bless.
Finally, the 'dessert' sushi - tamago. The balance between the prawn, egg, sugar and sake was perfect, its moist sweetness with a 'eggy' aftertaste was very lovely...
The last part of the meal was another highlight. How can one resist a melting fondant, especially green tea flavor? It has a crispy outlayer and a moist 'cake' layer, in the center the melting green tea flavored white chocolate perfected melted into my heart. The entire fonadnt itself was not overly sweet, the refreshing apple brandy 'Calvados' ice cream and coffee crumble on the side made it a perfect ending.
Although fusion Japanese cannot replace the position of traditional Japanese food in my heart, food at Sokyo did changed my view in some ways. Every single dish from the starter, tempura, main dishes, sushi and dessert was beautiful - high quality ingredients , processed well and tastes good. The servers were very friendly and we also enjoyed communicating with the chef, the ambiance was cozy but very relaxing. It was a very impressive dining experience in Sydney, do check it our folks :)
Visited: April. 2015 (Dinner)
Address: Level G, The Darling at The Star, 80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont, Sydney
Hours: Weekend breakfast 7-10.30am, Dinner:5.30pm~