SYDNEY | It’s hard to believe that Chaco Bar has been around since 2014. When owner/chef Keita Abe opened his Darlinghurst restaurant his aim was to introduce Sydneysiders to a side of Japanese food that they weren’t familiar with. In particular, the yakitori of his hometown of Itoshima, Japan.
In 2019, the restaurant moved into a new, bigger space in Potts Point. The original location still remains, but is now Chaco Ramen, a space dedicated to ramen. Has the move of the main restaurant meant that some of its charm has been lost? Absolutely not.
The space might be larger, but the layout means that it still feels intimate. Low lighting, attentive but not overbearing service, and a refined attention to detail.
The menu has expanded, but still has the same yakitori focus as the original. Abe and head chef head chef Dinqi (Chris) Xin work the grill with finesse, and it’s worth nabbing a seat overlooking the kitchen if you can. You can order a-la-carte on Tuesday to Thursday, or the tasting menu, which is your only choice on the weekend.
Chicken skewers are of course a highlight. The tsukune (chicken meatball), with onsen egg is brilliant, as is the hay smoked corn fed chicken thigh. Things other than chicken get the skewer treatment too, to great effect. A yakiton of Barrowdale free range pork belly with yuzu kosho, is divine.
Away from skewers, it’s still all class. Maguro Tarutaru – tuna tartare with mentaiko and crispy potato, is a particular highlight. The Yaki Onigiri Chazuke – grilled rice ball with snapper and dashi, is brilliant too.
For drinks, it’s sake, highball cocktails and a small but diverse wine list.
186-188 Victoria Street
New South Wales 2010
Tue – Sat: 5:30pm to 10:00pm