I wouldn’t normally discover restaurants in less bustling suburbs or those not near a train station but I guess that’s the advantage of being able to drive! Recommended by a friend, our party of three drove three cars (enviro-killers…) to Kokoro, a Japanese restaurant in Concord. To my surprise, there is a whole strip of restaurants hidden here so visits to neighbouring restaurants is a must in the future.
Kokoro is an elongated spaced restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. We sit indoors as it is windy and cold but discover that those on the Optus network will unfortunately have no reception or one bar inside – bummer!
My friend recommends the Kingfish Carpaccio but we are informed that it is not available tonight. In the end we settle for 3 mains and 2 sushi rolls…wow we’re such pigs haha.
Volcano (rolled with tempura prawn, cucumber, crab topped with spicy cheese sauce, fresh tuna ball) – $18.90
The first sushi roll which comes out is the Volcano roll. Resembling a tiny mountain with lava spurting from the top, upon first bite I find the spicy sauce a bit overwhelming as it masks all the other flavours. With my second piece, I am able to distinguish the crunch of the tempura prawn inside and the raw tuna, but otherwise the overload of sauce ruins the dish for me.
Lion King (rolled cooked tuna, avocado with grilled salmon on top with fish roe) – $18.90
The next roll we get is the Lion King. I can’t draw any resemblance of this roll to any member of the cat family, but it tastes much better than the Volcano! For one the sauce does not overpower; it is sweet and compliments the roll very nicely. I am initially sceptical about coupling cooked tuna with seared salmon but it works well here. This dish tastes best when you place the entire piece in your mouth and strangely enough the combined flavours reminded me of barbecue pork…don’t know how that happens but it left me intrigued.
Teriyaki Chicken Meal (stir fried chicken thigh fillets with vegetables in a teriyaki sauce, rice, miso soup) – $16.50
Now comes the mains! My friend points out that he judges Japanese restaurants on their Teriyaki Chicken, the make it or break it dish. The reason being that every Japanese restaurant has it on their menu and most people know what it tastes like, so if they can’t get a staple dish done well then that is a bit of a concern. Thankfully the chicken here is done well; the sauce is sweet and the chicken pieces are a mix of lean and soft fat bits, so it oozes out juices in your mouth. The side salad is standard leafy greens with a vinegarette.
Beef Yaki Udon – $15
The yaki-udon (stir fry) here also has a sweet soy flavour. A nice surprise since with noodles you usually expect that salty soy taste. The udon is cooked well scattered with lean slices of beef and the string beans adds a nice crunch to what would have otherwise been a soggy dish.
Chirashi-sushi meal/Sashimi Don (served on a bed of sushi rice and topped with sashimi style seafood) – $15.50
Last up, the chirashi! To me, this dish is basically one giant sushi roll shoved into a bowl so I don’t usually order it since sushi rolls are much more interesting. It covers the basic toppings of raw salmon and tuna, prawn, roe and egg on top of seasoned rice. The rice contains some good seasoning flakes but my friend who loves her chirashi finds it one of the more boring ones.
Overall, Kokoro is a pretty decent Japanese restaurant that serves tasty food. It’s not bad, nor is it out of the ordinary and the prices are standard. Unless you happen to be in the area, I don’t think it is worth the effort to drive to Concord to come specially here if you have another Japanese restaurant more nearby that also serves decent food. But if you live closeby, it’ll do well as your local Japanese restaurant.
Kokoro Japanese Restaurant
84 Majors Bay Road
Concord NSW 2137
Ph: (02) 8757 3820
Open 7 days, lunch and dinner