Wednesday, 7 November 2012

A splash of Tokyo Pop in Bondi

Rather than braving the crowds at Randwick for Melbourne Cup we decided to stay local and head to a restaurant in Bondi. After debating between The Bucket List, PaperPlanes and Bondi Hardware – who all had Melbourne Cup parties – we ended up choosing PaperPlanes.

For $100 you got a three-course lunch, glass of Chandon on arrival, live music from The Myall High Club and various best-dressed and lucky door prizes.

Billed as a Tokyo Pop style bar and restaurant, it opened in the Beach House near Bondi Hotel in April. The Barge brothers – Matt, Tim and Chris – who also have LL Wine and Dine in Potts Point, and their business partner Phil Capaldi, own it.

You can sit at the purple lit bar and watch the sushi chefs in action or in the main dining room staring up at the collection of 500 hand painted skateboards and origami paper cranes suspended from the ceiling or in the laneway outside.

We were seated inside, handed a glass of champagne, some form guides and settled in for a serious afternoon of gambling, drinking, listening to music, feasting and watching everyone else win the prize draws and pick the winning horses.

There were about 50 people there, which gave the restaurant a lively atmosphere without feeling like you were stuffed in like Japanese businessmen on the Tokyo subway. Staff was attentive and friendly and kept the champagne and wine flowing as we worked our way through the list trying mysterious white wines from Argentine, South America and finally France.

They also kept up a constant flow of food over several hours. Highlights of the entrée included the salmon tartare nachos with wasabi miso dressing, chives and salmon roe (with prawn crackers instead of corn chips) and prawn gyoza with creamy lemon wasabi foam, crushed wasabi peas and fresh prawns. This was followed by a huge Kushiyaki and sushi platter including eggplant and zucchini dressed in butter, red miso sauce and white sesame, shitake mushroom stuffed with prawn, butter and truffle glaze as well as spicy tuna rolls and asparagus rolls.

My main of barramundi with shitaki mushrooms and edamame broth, crispy sage and grilled lemon was delicious and light and came with sides of brocolini, tofu and wakame salad and rice.

I couldn’t eat another thing by this stage, not even a chilli salt sprinkled edamame. Well, that was until I saw dessert. The cheesecake came in a novel ceramic pot, with a pretty mint garnish, which meant it would be a shame not to at least try it after they’d gone to all that effort.

Stuffed and content after a great afternoon, we headed out of the nightclub dark into the bright Bondi sunshine for The Bucket List. For one last drink. As you can see from the photo below Bondi Curmudgeon had a great day as well. Just don't tell him I said so.