Cho Cho San | Potts Point

It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a lazy panda whose only talents are eating and taking the occasionally decent picture. Thus, imagine how excited I was when I received the opportunity to outsource the writing for for this post to someone who is possibly the most talented food writer I know.

He’s Isaac from iFat – Food Chronicles, and he’s just a little bit fancy. We hope you enjoy this production, as much fun as it was for us to create!

Notes: pictures are mine, words are his, unless I have specific addendums which start with my name.

Date Last Visited: 30/8/14
Address: 73 Macleay St Potts Point, NSW 2011
Recommended Dish(es): eggplant miso, hokkaido scallops, king crab omelette, beef tataki, soy glazed angus beef, banana soft-serve (yeah there’s a lot)

Isaac: before wanting to be a writer, there was only one career path I ever wanted to embark upon.

I wanted to be a Power Ranger.

I wanted to defend the Earth from invading monsters. I wanted to pilot a gigantic robotic dinosaur. I wanted to make karate noises after every slight movement I made.

Most of all, I wanted to be part of a team.

My favourite Power Ranger episodes were always the ones in which the rangers from a previous season would return and team up with the current rangers to form a super team (there was also an awful episode in Power Rangers in Space where the rangers teamed up with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. A buddy of mine refers to this episode as the death of his childhood innocence).

Watching these episodes as a kid were some of my favourite memories. Familiar faces, awesome dialogue between the past and present and all- round action.

I tried to replicate that buy uniting a bunch of familiar faces in the Sydney food blogging community which would create some awesome dialogue about the past and present and result in some all-round action.

It’s time to Cho Cho Power Rangers – featuring Shirley from The Hungry Foodtech, Irene from Irene’s Getting Fat, Annie from The Random Foodie, Yvonne from Caramel Love, Amy from Milkteaxx, Vanny from Nessy Eater and last but not least, The Lady herself.

Cho Cho San Sydney

An expensive bar area for those non-bookers

So Cho Cho San has been getting more buzz than a hive of angry bees. I thought it was finally time to check it out. Also, the name ‘Cho Cho San’ just reminded me of the Simpsons episode where Ralph gives Lisa a Valentine’s Day card. It’s almost inevitable that I would cho-cho-choose it as a place for all the food blogging rangers to unite.

Speaking of cho-cho-choosing, let’s look at the dishes we chose; Or Michael chose, sorry, this won’t be the last time I take credit for something he does.

Michael: with head chef Nicholas Wong, of Rockpool, Bodega & Kylie Kwong at the helm, we knew we were in for a sumptuous feast. Bring it on.

Cho Cho San Sydney

Fried miso eggplant ($10)

The first dish to be plopped in front of us was the miso eggplant. I’m a huge fan (I’m just big boned) of eggplant and was really keen to see Cho Cho San’s take on it. Me and a couple of the early comers just stared at this dish as we awaited the arrival of everyone else. It was excruciating; it was the restaurant equivalent of not being able to talk to the hot girl at a party because you’re in a relationship.

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5589/14894794927_fd354060ee_b.jpg

One is never enough

The batter was surprisingly light and really let the soft, almost gooey, texture of the eggplant with in to shine through. I’m not going to name any names, but we had a few folks who weren’t fans of eggplant prior to trying this dish. I’m delighted to say they are now true believers in the church of eggplant where I’m a high level priest.

Michael: I had three, but I wanted the entire plate. I’m greedy like that, but who can blame me? Blame my taste buds and Cho Cho San – they should be married.

Cho Cho San Sydney

Fried chicken ($14)

Isaac: even though we had seven chicks on our table, I knew my chances with all of them were extremely low. I had to hedge my bets.

The flaky exterior is what stood out for me. I’m not sure if it was the batter or if it was just seasoning but it just worked for me. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If only I could say that about my savings account as well.

Michael: while the fried chicken itself was the stuff of legend, the batter was on occasion quite hard and chewy. That’s the nature of its texture, though don’t expect crumbly fried chicken of the likes of Korean Fried Chicken, or its Western counterpart. You may know it as KFC.

Cho Cho San Sydney

Silken tofu in tomato dashi ($4 each)

Isaac: I like tofu but I never go out of my way to order it when I’m out. This silky tofu demonstration has made me re-evaluate my prowess with the menu. I loved the tomato dashi. It’s lightness was reminiscent of tea.

Coming to T2 in 2015: Tomato Dashi Tea.

Cho Cho San Sydney

Tofu flower power!!!

Michael: this silken tofu in tomato dashi was really refreshing – highly recommended as a palate cleanser. The tomato dashi is sharper than you will expect!

Cho Cho San Sydney

Tempura pumpkin ($12)

Isaac: pump some more into me please.

Michael: Isaac pretty much sums up the tempura pumpkin with those six words. This tempura is so fluffy and light, yet still crunchy with every bite. Yes, the oil oozes out, but it’s just so moreish – it’s got a bit of a sweet soy taste to it, no doubt helped by the dipping sauce. I would highly recommend this for the more adventurous.

Cho Cho San Sydney

Tuna, avocado, pickled eggplant ($22)

Isaac: I’ve got to talk about how ridiculous the creamy avocado was. I would’ve been happy if they had given us a bucket of avocado to just dip anything we wanted in.

Michael: the tuna w/avocado & pickled eggplant also happens to be amaze. How could I visit a Japanese restaurant and not have me some of that goodness? It’s a more unique spin on tuna than most restaurants – you’ll really want to mop up all the avo and eggplant.

Cho Cho San Sydney

Hokkaido scallops w/corn puree & house-cured katsuobushi ($18)

Isaac: for people who have never read my work before; never, ever forget that I’m an idiot. I completely missed the corn that provided the foundation of this dish. I was way too eager and just stole a scallop whilst everyone else was taking photos of the other dishes. The seasoning on top of the scallops was the relish equivalent of every right decision I’ve ever made in my life.

Michael: that corn puree……quite possibly half the reason why we ended up ordering this again. Yes, we’re fat and we’re proud. Hokkaido scallops, you’re in.

Cho Cho San Sydney

Petuna ocean trout, black pepper, wasabi ($20)

Isaac: once again, I’m not going to name any names but there were a lot of ignorant food bloggers that thought the friendly Cho Cho staff had just plopped some salmon in front of us. Alright, it was me. Someone had to remind me that it was ocean trout.

This was a pretty sweet. The underlying pepper flavour smothered into the sashimi was what won me over. 

Cho Cho San Sydney

Beef tataki, wild rice, ginger dressing ($18)

Isaac: when the beef tataki arrived, I thought that all of poor Cho Cho San’s stoves had stopped working. I think it was Michael who said that folks who had never had tataki before tended to underestimate how much it could bring to the table. As always, Michael was right.

Cho Cho San Sydney

A treasure chest of carbs mmmmm

Michael: now this is a textural experience. The melty fattiness of the tataki is balanced out by the plentiful puffed wild rice beneath, and gingery notes tie it all together. A dish I would happily reorder.

Cho Cho San Sydney

The damage so far

Michael: please, we’re only getting started.

Cho Cho San Sydney

King crab omelette, Japanese curry ($28)

Isaac: this was one of the consensus favourites amongst all the rangers. I’m pretty sure we all decided we were ordering a second helping of this before we even tried it. The tantalising smell of the curry served as a precursor of how good it would taste.

There were two distinct layers of egg; the crispy base that comes with creating an omelette AND the runny yolk layer you see in egg porn shots. What kind of sorcery is this? You throw crab into the mix as well? The chef must be a Hogwarts graduate.

Cho Cho San Sydney

Yes. We had two.

Michael: could this king crab omelette get any better?

Cho Cho San Sydney

Udon noodles, pork, chilli ($15)

Isaac: spoiler alert – I don’t think we had a bad dish all day. The udon noodles were the only dish where there was some division. I for one enjoyed the soft nature noodles and the chilli kick that it provided. Also, it had mushrooms. How can you not love something with mushrooms (disclaimer: I rocked a standard mushroom haircut as a child and I was extremely lovable).

Michael: while not everyone enjoyed this dish, it simply meant MORE UDON NOODLES FOR ME. I personally loved the starchiness of the noodles, and the chilli oil is something I grew up on. Bad life choices? Nah, that’s just how I roll.

Cho Cho San Sydney

Grilled calamari w/lime ponzu ($16)

Isaac: ponzu’s just so fun to say. Before the year is up, I will hit someone with the following line: “I want to be on you like ponzu.’ It just rolls off the tongue.

Speaking of, I had no intention of letting the ponzu soaked calamari roll off my tongue. This was a really underrated dish on the day because we only got one serving. I just loved the lime tang.

Cho Cho San Sydney

Hard at work. The struggle is real

Isaac: this would’ve been the perfect time to steal our wallets.

Michael: and that’s why I always go card #FoodBloggerProblems

Cho Cho San Sydney

I sea food

Michael: move aside turf, this is surf-only territory. The calamari & lime ponzu might be a bit sour overall due to the underlying citrus flavour, but it’s a wonderful way to cleanse the palate once more for dishes to follow.

Cho Cho San Sydney

Miso cod, celery, ginger ($40)

Isaac: this is definitely better than playing COD on XBOX Live and getting told that I need a girlfriend after beating a fourteen year old. Screw you, fourteen year old. I like being single and making horrible puns!

Michael: while the miso cod is a decent piece of fish, at $40, it was a bit hefty, and given there are plenty of other places in Sydney that do a fantastic job at Miso Cod, I could pass on this one next time.

Cho Cho San Sydney

Soy glazed angus beef ($36)

I’ve got beef with anyone that didn’t like this dish. Heh.

The charred flavour that came from the grill was just next level like Super Mario World.

Cho Cho San Sydney

No seasoning required

Michael: soy glazed angus is The Lady’s favourite dish, and darn if it it isn’t one of my favourites too. The texture is perfect, the flavour is perfect. It’s very Asiatic, given the soy, but somehow it just works with the beef. I regret not ordering this again. I didn’t speak while eating this – only moans could be heard. Yeah, it got a bit steamy in here.

Cho Cho San Sydney

Banana soft-serve, cone, peanut, caramel ($7 each)

Isaac: much like it’s savoury eggplant counterpart (they’re about as related as I am with George Clooney. Just give me this one); there were some non-banana fans that were instantly swayed with the introduction of this picturesque dessert.

Cho Cho San Sydney

4 wasn’t enough. 5 more will do

By the way, I love wafer cones. I remember the first time I had one. It was a complete game changer: I just can’t go back to the non-crunchy cones that Maccas use with their soft serves.

Cho Cho San Sydney

Mmmmmmm

Michael: I used to share ice cream cones with The Lady. The banana soft serve reminded me why we stopped doing that. It’s okay – ’twas a mutual decision. Well worth it.

Cho Cho San Sydney

Cho Cho snow ($10)

Michael: if I could name one dish that I actively did not like, it would be cho cho snow. It’s like a shaved ice, with custard apple. Sounds good, but there was a weird, savoury bitterness to the dish that just didn’t resonate with me.

Sure, it was refreshing, but that’s all it was. One downer in an otherwise impressive menu.

Cho Cho San Sydney

Steamed yuzu pudding ($12)

Isaac: I think I just have an affinity for all citrus based desserts. The yuzu really shone through here. I know a lot of people raised their eyebrows at the sour cream on top but I think it was more for the texture than the flavour.

Michael: that warmth, that texture…an exemplary winter’s dessert. Order this while it’s still hot!

I swear I didn’t do that deliberately…

Cho Cho San Sydney

Brought to you by the Asian Brady Blogger Bunch

Isaac: I’m just glad everyone had a good time to be honest. Even the Cho Cho San staff seemed amused by how nine food bloggers turned their chefs’ creations into celebrities. Cho Cho definitely lives up to all the hype.

Now if you excuse me, I’ve got to go read up on Power Ranger moving casting rumours.

Cho Cho San Sydney

Definitely coming back to this one

Michael: hope you enjoyed the collab, dear reader! As usual, feel free to leave a comment or three 😀

Liked Isaac’s writing? Head on over to his blog for the best writing this side of town.

Nah, that’s not true – he dominates the other side of town as well. Easy victory.

Awesome:

  • It is a rare occasion when so many dishes come out as winners
  • Service was quick and we weren’t left wanting

Not so Awesome:

  • Slight disappointments with the fried chicken and miso cod
  • Big disappointment with the cho cho snow dessert

8/10 Caesars

Cho Cho San on Urbanspoon

  • Editor Rating

  • Rated 4 stars
  • 80%

  • Cho Cho San
  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: September 6, 2016

Summary:

Wanna make someone else hungry? Share the love!

40 comments on “Cho Cho San | Potts Point”

  1. FFS Reply

    While I used to enjoy posts like these, they’re starting to become generically repetitive with the type of self-deprecating humour and banality associated with sophomoric scrawling. Chefs are always expected to ‘up the ante’ and ‘go to the next level’. About time food bloggers did the same.

    • Michael Shen Reply

      Hi,

      I’m glad that you used to enjoy these posts, and I am sad to see that you’re getting sick of them. Thanks for letting me know. I won’t necessarily change my style of writing as a result – you’re always welcome to take your time elsewhere, after all.

      With respect to your comment about food bloggers ‘upping the ante’ – while it may seem obvious to you, you’re not really conveying what you mean by that statement. At the very least, when I comment on the work of chefs, my feedback isn’t just meaningful, it’s also actionable. Your directive on the other hand means little to me unless you actually define what it is you want.

      Thanks for your input!

  2. jojo Reply

    love your review!!! super adorable! and so i was wondering, since you came to cho cho san with a big party, did you guys all share the food so that you can try a variety of dishes or are the dishes just so small (or so good) in size that you have to order a lot? LOL my question sounds confusing but what im trying to know is how much should i order for a party of 5-6 people 😀 thanks!!

    • Michael Shen Reply

      Hi Jojo – your question makes complete sense! It’s a bit of both – being food bloggers, sharing is definitely caring. We share everything.

      At the same time, the portion sizes at CCS are probably average, perhaps bordering on the small. For example, you can see how big the portion of the beef tataki is relative to the cutlery besides it.

      For 5-6 people, assuming you all have “normal” appetites, I would recommend ordering perhaps 8-9 dishes including desserts. No biggie if you didn’t get enough in the first place – we put through several orders throughout our meal. It’s no biggie!

  3. Padaek Reply

    This is such a great post! Both writing and photos. Excellent job guys. The food looks and sounds delicious, fresh and beautifully presented. The king crab omelette especially looks amazing! Looks like all of you had a lot of fun and Cho Cho San provided great hospitality. 🙂

  4. irene Reply

    I don’t know what I like better; the pictures or the writing. You guys can claim the victory this time; it’s like Dumbledore and Voldemort joining forces. Such awesome post! And yes, we need more yellow rangers events! 🙂

  5. Chris @ MAB vs Food Reply

    Haha this is post is too funny! I enjoyed the joint production and getting two perspectives. Looks like the Asian Brady Bunch had a helluva feast! I really enjoy the raw bar items at CCS too when I went (and yes that Hokkaido Scallop with corn puree!). Look forward to more posts from the Brady Bunch 😛

  6. forfoodssake Reply

    I LOVE everything about this post. haha..This may also be the wrong forum to express just how much of a crush I have on Nic Wong. All the food looks delicious, I cant wait to make my way there 🙂

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