Dinner @ Chaco Bar (Sydney, Australia)

September 15, 2020 in Japanese by thywhaleliciousfay

I was having a strong craving for yakitori some weeks back, and thus decided to google up ‘yakitori places in Sydney’. And that’s how I got to know of yakitori restaurants like Chaco Bar, Yakitori Yurippi, Yakitori Jin and Toriciya. But it was the launch of their new yakitori omakase menu that really piqued my interest in Chaco Bar. And I made my reservation for Wednesday because the yakitori omakase (AUD145) was only available on Tuesday and Wednesday.

On the day of my dinner, I received a text message to arrive 15 minutes before my reservation time. I ended up reaching at 7.40pm. And that’s 20 minutes early. But I wasn’t sure why we were asked to reach early because the first seating at 5.30pm didn’t seem like they would vacate by 7.45pm… Or even 8pm.

It’s probably because of COVID that the restaurant wasn’t operating at full capacity. But the closed wing/section doubled up as a waiting area for us. And at 7.55pm, when it didn’t seem like we would be seated any time soon, the staff offered complimentary yuzu punch to those who were waiting. Oh yeah… I intentionally mentioned ‘those who were waiting’ because not everyone arrived 15 minutes earlier. Some only came at 8.05pm. Hmm.

And it was only at 8.35pm that we were seated.

For the yakitori omakase menu, we were seated at the chef’s counter. And the counter could sit up to 8 people. Shortly after everyone settled down, chef came round and introduced the ingredients; Sommerlad chicken. Said to be the best chicken. Well… I googled it up and these were multi award winning Sommerlad heritage chicken! High welfare table birds bred, raised and grown outdoors on pasture.

And after chef finished his round, we commenced our yakitori omakase menu, AUD145 with:-

1) Hay smoked market fish (above) – We had swordfish (right) and bonito (left). And these were so good. Especially the swordfish! And the fact that I got to witness the chef cooking the fish, it made me appreciate the dish even more; Chef placed hay onto binchotan charcoal embers and (heavily) smoked both fillets. After which, the fishes were treated differently. The bonito was taken aside to a separate/side grill where it was cooked over embers. As for the swordfish, the chef fanned real hard to set the hay (on the original grill) ablaze to cook the bonito in fire. Beautiful.


2) Spanner crab meat (above) – And its shell butter. As the staff introduced the dish, he mentioned this dish is also on the regular tasting menu. But the crab chawanmushi (steamed egg) on the yakitori omakase menu was the upgraded version with it being presented in the crab shell.


3) Maremma duck, duck egg yolk (above) – This reminded me lots of the horse tartare dish I had at Acá 1°. Not just presentation wise, but even the way it was prepared. The chef slightly divided the duck meatball into half and placed the duck yolk on it, before mixing it with the other ingredients. Because my meatball was portioned for 1 person, only half of the yolk was used. And instead of toast which was what’s used at Acá 1°’s, the duck was placed on potato chips and tomato reduction. Same same, but different. But so, so good. I was tempted to ask chef if he got his inspiration from Acá 1°, but decided against it.

4) Sommerlad chicken breast, uni (above) – When chef came round earlier with the ingredients, he mentioned he would be serving the chicken breast medium rare and asked if we were fine with it. I appreciated that (he went round asking) because not everyone would be receptive to eating half-cooked chicken. But I was totally up for it. Served with Tasmania sea urchin and grated wasabi.

5) Pickles (above) – Interestingly, this was provided to be eaten with the skewered dishes only. I actually tried to save some for the rice course, but it was taken away. Sob.

6) Chicken arm and house-made seeded mustard (above)

7) Teba inari (above) – Chicken wing. Deboned and stuffed with sushi rice, salted kombu (sea kelp) and ginger, and served with ponzu dipping sauce.

8) Cold scallop somen (above) – Served in dried seafood broth with scallops from Hokkaido.

9) Truffle uni-wagyu Pork (above) – My beef dish was replaced with a pork skewer, grilled over cherry blossom wood. But I would be lying to say I wasn’t envious of what my neighbours were having. Mine paled much in comparison. What’s on the yakitori omakase menu was wagyu chuck tail flap skewer. But I guessed there must have been an option to upgrade, because they were served fancy truffle-sea urchin-wagyu on rice instead which was to be eaten in one big mouthful.

10) Sommerlad chicken thigh smoked over cherry blossom wood (above) – This was very aromatic. Could smell the cherry blossom smoke off the chicken thigh.

11) Tsukune, porcini, parmigiano-reggiano (above) – Chicken meatball topped with cheese. Didn’t really enjoy this. I was expecting to bite into juicy bouncy meatball, but this was loosely packed.

12) Hatsumoto with chocolate (above) – This was interesting. We were told to chew 4 times before having it with the chocolate and a sip of the red wine. Pretty odd combination. I preferred having the chicken ventricle/heart valve on its own.


13) Tasmanian sea urchin, salmon roe (above) – Served with Japanese rice.

14) Monaka ice cream (above) – Too cute! Chicken-shaped wafer biscuit (monaka). It was interesting that they slightly grilled these wafer biscuit. And! Ain’t sure if it’s just me but this reminded me of Ginza Shinohara. Instead of foie gras, Chaco Bar’s rendition was with ice cream. And I liked this. Especially when the wafer biscuit was used for dessert. Keke.

So a little history about Chaco Bar… Chaco Bar started out at Darlinghurst with a menu offering both ramen and yakitori. But in 2019, Chaco Bar relocated to Potts Point to continue serving their Fukuoka-style yakitori. But just yakitori, although their set menu offered non-skewered items. As for the unit at the original site? It was renamed Chaco Ramen. And yes, serving ramen as their main dishes.

And onto the main question. Would I recommend Chaco Bar? I would! I enjoyed myself. Although I’m going to be really honest too that I’ve only been to 2 yakitori joints in Sydney including Chaco Bar. So I can’t say Chaco Bar is the best. I mean, it wouldn’t be right to say that if I’ve only been to 2. But Chaco Bar certainly impressed. In fact, they have set the standard really high. And I definitely recommend going for their yakitori omakase menu even though it’s pricey than the tasting menu because it’s only with the former that one could sit at the counter. And one should definitely dine at the counter to get the full experience.

186-188 Victoria Street, Potts Point, Sydney, NSW, Australia
+61 2 8593 4567, Website
Overall: 7.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Tues – Sat : 17:30 – 22:00
Ambience: 8
Value: 7
Service: 7
* Closed on Mon & Sun
** Hours are post-COVID lockdown, and may change when normality resumes.