Chaco Bar

June 24, 2016

Looking for an authentic izakaya in Sydney? Well look no further because Chaco Bar has the food and alcohol and the ambience covered. It's a tiny restaurant (much smaller than I had thought) so I was quite shocked that they could accomodate a group of roughly 15 people. They did so happily even though we literally occupied most of the restaurant. The place had a really nice vibe as we could enjoy the food and chat away without the roaring noise expected at a typical bar. 

Taro and sweet potato chips
These cute little balls of fried taro and sweet potato came out first and so they served as our appetiser. They were piping hot and soft inside with a slight crisp exterior; good but I was expecting them to be more seasoned hence more flavoursome. Overall a nice snack though quite bland and probably could have done with more crunch considering it was listed on the menu as chips.

Pan-fried gyoza
Chaco Bar's house-made sizzling pan-fried gyoza came out served in a mini cast-iron pan and I knew they had to be good. I was not wrong. Possibly the crispiest pan-fried gyoza I've had to date and they were much plumper than the gyozas I'm used to eating. The pork filling was really delicious and juicy too. 

Grilled onigiri (rice balls) with black cod
I was really looking forward to this dish and the presentation did not disappoint. As for how it went down, that's an entirely different story. The grilled rice balls were well compacted but being just plain rice balls there was no flavour to them besides the taste of charred rice. I thought that they would have incorporated some form of seaweed in the dish but it was absent. The star of this dish was no doubt the black cod which was wonderful in flavour and so moist, too bad that only a tiny portion was provided, obviously not enough for the four plain grilled rice balls given. Grilled rice in my opinion leaves much to be desired as it unnecessarily makes the rice hard albeit crunchy but it just doesn't work for me especially when there's no added flavour.

Salmon roe rice bowl
This was an obligatory dish for DT being a lover of fish eggs. Not my cup of tea though. The rice however was cooked well and the bursts of fresh roe with rice made for an interesting combination of textures. 

Mixed yakitori
My favourite out of the mixed yakitori plate was most definitely the chicken skin (far left) with its crispy yet melt-in-your-mouth goodness and was heavily seasoned; salty and flavoursome it was absolutely delicious. Next up was the grilled lamb and surprisingly tasted of Mediterranean flavours and so being a Japanese restaurant I was expecting something different, nonetheless very yummy. The lamb meat itself was grilled perfectly as it was succulent and tender. The middle skewer was chicken heart and they were actually quite good and flavourful and not to mention were not tough to eat at all which was what I was fearing. Grilled chicken thigh was the next one and they were good especially with that teriyaki glaze. Finally, we have the pork belly skewer which was underwhelming compared to Sokyo's. I found that the pork was a tad tough to bite and not as tender as I was hoping however the sweet and savoury glaze was great.

Tsukune with 63 degree eggs
Perhaps the highlight of the offerings at Chaco Bar. Tsukune is basically skewered chicken meat balls. The minced chicken could not have been seasoned better and paired with a heavy slathering of teriyaki glaze and sweet soy sauce they were mouthfuls of heaven. As for the poached eggs, well they were literal perfection with their glossy surfaces and were eagerly broken into to display runny egg yolk insides and for dipping the tsukune in.

Tempura eggplant and avocado roll
I believe this was the special of the night and unfortunately I thought it quite average. The best bits would have to be the ends of the roll as they were concentrated with more of the crunchy tempura. I think it was supposed to be like nasu dengaku but in sushi roll form. I did like the sweet miso glaze for flavour.

Grilling in action
The kitchen at Chaco Bar in full swing with yakitori grilling over the charcoal. A thank you to my friend who took this photo for me. 

Chaco Bar was definitely not cheap for the portion size and more so when considering izakaya in Japan would be a lot more affordable but if you want authentic Japanese yakitori in Sydney then you need to spend the dosh here or buy a plane ticket to Japan. You can't go wrong with their yakitori and their gyoza however the other dishes as mentioned were less than impressive but I give points for creativity. 

Chaco Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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