Tag Archives: Bridge Street

Tokonoma, Sydney CBD

Whoever would have thought that Bridge Street would become a bit of a food strip? Hats abound, with the likes of Bridge Room, Rockpool, Sopra, joined by a few more casual eateries. Tokonoma is the new neighbour by the crew behind Surry Hills’ popular Toko. Opening just before Christmas, it is in a little underground space that I think used to be Indian. Sandstone tiled walls, concrete floors and subtle Japanese touches make for a pleasant environment and the staff are friendly and attentive. I’ve been a couple of times now and am quite keen to visit again; it is not necessarily innovative or new Japanese, but some of this dishes are done remarkably well and will entice me back. The punters obviously agree as the place has been packed both times. The serves are a little on the small side though so you may need quite a few dishes to fill you up which can make it pricey. They also offer a $98 chef’s banquet. Below are a few of the dishes I have tried, I also recommend the lamb and the scallops.

Hiramasa kingfish, pickled daikon, ponzu, truffle – fresh and delicioustokonoma (1)

Sashimi omakase, excellent quality, and I love that it was served on ice, as I find some places don’t serve their sashimi cold enoughtokonoma (2)

Steak tartare, kojichan, fried capers, kataifi (little bit of Greek creeping in here and adding some lovely texture), quail egg. This was a favourite and certainly one to order.tokonoma (5)

King crab, soba noodles, tobiko, cucumber, saikyo miso – the only disappointing dish, I was looking forward to it but it was bland.tokonoma (3)

Scampi tempura, chili ponzu, ginger. A light hand on the tempura, not as good as Sokyo, but good all the same.tokonoma (6)

Black cod, saikyo miso, pickled ginger, hoba leaf – another must order. That miso sauce is something else.tokonoma (4)

Soy milk pannacotta, tropical fruits, black sesame. Loved this refreshing dessert too.tokonoma (7)

Tokonoma, 44 Bridge Street Sydney, Ph (02) 9251 8185 (entry via Lotus Lane)
http://www.tokonoma-sydney.com/
Tokonoma Sydney on Urbanspoon

Rockpool on Bridge – $79 lunch special

In an effort to capture more of the lunch trade, many of the fine diners around town offer some fabulous lunch deals.  Often dinners at these toqued establishments are degustation menus in the $150-$200 per person range, and beyond, and if this isn’t in reach, the lunch is a great alternative.  Come noon, Rockpool offers one course for $52, two courses for $69 or three courses for $79.  Similarly places like Aria offer $46 for one course and $74 for two, and Est three courses for $95.

I had been to the original Rockpool on George a few times, but this is my first visit to the new digs on Bridge. We are celebrating the birthday of my friend at A Tea with the Queen. The “new” Rockpool has a different feel to it – darker, more sophisticated, a little bit like it has now grown up and come of age.  I actually met Neil Perry last week, and he talked about his evolution as a chef – from wondering why he was running a restaurant serving French provincial food on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, to his immersion and connection with Asian cuisine. This is a man who is very passionate about what he does.

The staff are polished and on top of their game (except for one waitress who does a runner towards the end of our meal with our not yet empty wine glasses, but this is quickly rectified) and we feel warmly welcomed.  There is plenty to tempt on the menu, and I opt for the Asian influenced dishes, as in my opinion this is where Neil Perry’s cuisine shines.

But first we are bought some bread, with butter and also some ricotta.  The bread itself I don’t find anything special but this is butter like no other.  It has a caramel like consistency and a slight sweetness, I want to smother my bread in it (the only other butter that rivals this is Tetsuya’s truffle butter, which I think I could live on).  Similarly the ricotta is magnificent with a smoky undertone and creamy.

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My first dish is the scallop cake with herbs, peanuts and prawn broth. The seafood is beautifully fresh and I scoop up every drop of that divine broth.   This rivals the crab congee on the dinner menu.

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I then move onto the smoked Burrawong chicken hotpot with braised fungus, chestnuts and dragonwell rice.  The rice is bought out first, dragonwell tea is poured over it and it is left to infuse.  Shortly after the chicken arrives and I know I have ordered very well today….so well that I dig in and forget to take a photo of the actual chicken!

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Most of the table opts for the short rib with creamed spinach, hoisin and black vinegar for their main course.  This is a $10 supplement and no wonder – it is enormous.  Some find it a little salty; I’m kindly offered a little to try and it is meltingly tender with a beautiful smokiness.

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None of the desserts tempt me that day (I have a different agenda anyway) but the popular choice at the table is the chocolate gran cru of Valrhona with peanut butter and jelly.

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Instead I opt for one of the best deals around town – a petit four of Rockpool’s original 1984 date tart for $3, which Neil developed and Lorraine Godsmark perfected; she sells a full slice at her patisserie for $15.

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Fancy a lunch at Rockpool? You won’t be disappointed.

Rockpool on Bridge, 11 Bridge Street, Sydney ph (02) 9252 1888
http://www.rockpool.com

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Cafe Sopra, Bridge St, Sydney

I was a regular visitor to Danks Street in Waterloo, for the sole purpose of going to Sopra at Fratelli Fresh, so I was delighted when it opened on Bridge Street in the CBD.  I recall when it opened without too much fanfare or advertising, in an underground not-so-visible basement, and wandered over 3 days after thinking a table would be no issue – they don’t take bookings – and the place was already packed. Doesn’t take long for the word to get out.

Roll on 18 months and not much has changed – if you want a seat at lunch, its best to get there at 12pm, no later, or opt for a late lunch at 1.30pm, otherwise generally be prepared to wait.  The reason for the popularity is simple – its good quality, fresh, accessible Italian food at very reasonable prices.  There’s also a pizza and mozzarella bar. Come here over Jamie’s Italian any day of the week.

I’d be suprised at anyone who didn’t find something they like on this menu:

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I love the bolognese ragu here, its on my list of must have pasta dishes, though that particular day it was underseasoned, which I hope was just a one off.   Make sure you have the zucchini flowers if they are on the menu, and their tiramisu is also excellent. You can easily eat here for under $30, which is yet another drawcard. Have a quick pasta on your own at the bar, or share a few antipasti with friends.

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Cafe Sopra, 11 Bridge Street Sydney, ph (02) 8298 2701

Café Sopra at Fratelli Fresh on Urbanspoon