There’s been a lot of hype around the modern Japanese izakaya Cho Cho San, which was started by the same duo behind the popular Apollo just across the street. The pared back interiors feature white walls and blond wooden furniture, as well as a long bar with stool seating which lines most of the restaurant.
The chef at the helm of this buzzing restaurant is Nic Wong (ex Bodega, Billy Kwong and Ester) who has created a fun menu with modern interpretations of Japanese izakaya fare. More recently, the menu has expanded to include the Korean dish of Bo Ssam, which traditionally features boiled pork belly slices, various side dishes and lettuce cups to wrap the meat, veggies and condiments with. It’s a sharing kind of dish which is great for groups, with the communal side dishes and condiments shared among the whole table.
Bo Ssam – $50 per person
Teriyaki Beef Short Rib
Cho Cho San’s rendition instead showcases fluffy steamed buns (a.k.a. “bao”) in addition to the lettuce leaves and also their amazing Teriyaki Beef Short Rib, which tastes nothing like any other teriyaki meats I’ve ever had. The addictive, savoury sauce coats gloriously tender slices of beef short rib, making it a very flavoursome base protein to build your bao from.
There’s also a selection of pickled veggies (cucumber, carrots and radish), chilli bean sprouts and various condiments like ginger shallot, barley miso and all sorts of chilli for you to mix and match to your heart’s content. The other choice of protein is the Grilled Prawns, which are subtly smokey and go well with the barley miso sauce (very popular on our table) and the lettuce cups, although it’s definitely a messier option to use to wrap than the steamed buns.
Miso & Corn Soup
We finished off the savoury part of the meal with a little bowl of Miso and Corn soup, served in the ceramic lidded bowls you usually see chawanmushi (steamed egg custard) in. The soup was delicious, but was thicker than your usual miso, thanks to the corn. It was also quite strongly flavoured by the miso, which was saltier than what I’m used to in other Japanese restaurants.
In terms of the sweeter components of the meal – I was a huge fan of the non-alcoholic Lychee Slushy, which was a refreshing blend of lychee, pineapple juice, mint and shaved ice.
Green Tea Soft Serve
The Green Tea Soft Serve desserts were also a hit with the table, as the green tea was creamy and full of distinctive green tea flavour without being overly sweet. A perfect ending to a fantastic lunch – it’s easy to see why there’s been such a buzz around this modern izakaya which is going from strength to strength.
Excuse Me Waiter dined as guests of Cho Cho San
Cho Cho San
73 Macleay St, Potts Point NSW 2011
Phone:(02) 9331 6601