The first thing you notice when walking into Chaco Bar is how intimate and hospitable the place is.
Located on Crown Street in Darlinghurst, entering Chaco Bar is like stepping into one of Japan’s iconic yakitori bars that line one of the Shinjuku laneways, known as Yakitori Alley.
Chaco Bar is located at 238 Crown Street, Darlinghurst and is one of Sydney's best Yakitori offerings.
Chaco Bar continues to map Sydney’s foray into the world of small bars and eating-places; this establishment fully embraces the authentic izakaya style and exciting diners, with their modern twist on Japanese cuisine.
As with any Shinjuku yakitori eatery, Chaco Bar rolls out the standard skewers – but be warned, they’re far from being ordinary.
Chicken, Wagyu Beef, Lamb Shoulder and Pork Belly skewers are available, and sit comfortably side by side with the more adventurous offerings of chicken hearts, liver and gizzards.
Chef Abe doesn’t limit his skills to just grilling. Of the non-stick variety, there are gyoza, meatballs, sashimi and taro chips, to name but a few that were found wanting and able.
The menu isn’t extensive but it’s not meant to be. Think "light snack with a few drinks". But be warned: although the dishes are described as small and ideal for sharing, the servings are actually more than decent and, if your eyes are larger than your stomach, as ours were, you will find yourself over-ordering. However, the great folk at Chaco will help with food selections and will tactfully ask how hungry you are feeling.
My husband and I decided that date night would be spent grazing from the left side of the menu that included nibbles and zensai, small dishes. Not a skewer in sight, at least for this night!
Within 10-minutes of ordering, the food started making it’s way across to our section of the communal table.
The cold dishes were first out: Hokkaido scallops and kingfish sashimi. Both were bursting with freshness and delicate flavours.
We were just finishing licking our chopsticks clean when the hot food started making an appearance: Asparagus with Anchovy Pesto, John Dory dumplings, Taro Chips with Aonori, and Yakiyoni.
Top Left to Right - Asparagus with Anchovy Pesto; John Dory Dumplings; Taro Chips with Aonori; and Yakiyoni.
The Taro Chips with Aonori were a standout. The balls of taro were fried to a crispy perfection, but had the lightest and fluffiest centre.
The next round of hot dishes included Meatballs with 62 Degree Cooked Egg, Crispy-fried Calamari with Ink Aioli, and Spicy Tuna Belly with Pig’s Ear Tataki.
The meatballs on a stick with 62 degree cooked egg was the dish the husband was hanging for. Not being an egg fan, I left this entirely for him to devour.
With short muffled grunts emanating from his mouth, one could only assume he had struck food nirvana. He mercifully dunked the meatballs into the egg which he described as warm and silky.
Top Left to Right - Meatballs with 62 Degree Egg; Crispy Fried Calamari with Ink Aioli and Spicy Tuna Belly with Pig's Ear Tataki. Finish it all off with a 500ml Yebisu Beer
With a seating capacity of 25, Chaco Bar fills quickly so it’s best to book.
Could this be Sydney's next food trend? Food trend or not, the mostly-Japanese crowd obviously know a good place, and this is certainly one of those little gems that should stand the test of time.