After reading so many reviews on Cho Cho San, I was excited to be finally trying it out. Located in Kings Cross, it is a lively venue, and packed even on a mid-weeknight.
The space is simple and elegant, with minimalist white walls, and a long bench with bar seating taking centre stage.
Unfortunately the seating is on the cramped side on said bar seating, and I end up getting elbowed by the animated person sitting next to me more times than I care to remember. All is forgotten as soon as the food started coming out:
Fried eggplant miso
Miso and eggplant are a match made in heaven. Cho Cho San's version is a bit different from your typical Japanese restaurant variety nasu dengaku, as there is a layer of crisp fried batter rather than grilled. The sweet and caramelised miso sauce is topped with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and shallots.
Whenever I order a mixed tempura, pumpkin is always one of my favourites; so when I saw the tempura pumpkin on the menu, I definitely had to order it! Definitely a great bar snack dish to order to have with drinks.
Hokkaido scallops, corn, house-cured katsuobushi
The raw menu options were quite tempting, so it was hard to narrow down the choices. After seeing the various instragram posts on the lusciously thick pieces of ocean trout; oh, but the tuna sounds amazing too! I was torn. Decisions, decisions! We finally made a choice, comforted by the fact that we'd try the others 'next time' - a line I often use to justify my order. (haha)
Back to the point, the Hokkaido scallops were pretty fabulous. What impressed me the most were the intense smoky flavours in the house-cured katsuobushi.
Brown rice, shiitake mushroom, egg
This rice was ordered as a filling side dish, so it was a nice surprise to discover that it was a star in it's own right. The brown rice gave the dish a nice and nutty hint; shiitake mushrooms are a great addition as they always enhance the flavour of any dish.
Japanese charcoal chicken
A generous portion of chicken; perfectly cooked and so tender, though I was bursting by this point in the meal. Having said that, there's always room for dessert...
Banana soft serve cone with peanut and caramel
After seeing all the posts on the green tea soft serve, I was looking forward to getting my hands on one. The flavour has since changed to a delicious banana caramel flavour.
I can definitely see why Cho Cho San is so popular - superb food and service; the only minor downfall was the squishy seating, so best to book early!