HACO: The truth about this great Japanese restaurant

HACO dishes up good quality Japanese food with a spin.

5 Min Read
King crab in a light jelly broth and roe.

HACO means theatre in Japanese, and you’ll enjoy an outstanding food show at this intimate Japanese restaurant in the heart of Sydney.

The team at HACO aims to serve the best Japanese cuisine using the best ingredients – whether they’re from the “land, sea or sky,” according to head chef Kensuke Yada.

The menu respects tradition but embraces alterations and the ways of other cultures – although not to the point of fusion.

“Nodding to tradition, yet untethered from it.”

HACO

“HACO subscribes to ideologies of purity and coherence,” its website says. “Nodding to tradition, yet untethered from it. Sauces and accompaniments are served alongside to complement the tempura components; not distract or mask them.” 

The HACO experience

Our evening starts with an aperitif of sparkling Dassai sake at a small drinks table. The evening takes on a jovial tone as we raise our glasses and kampai. But then we move to the dining area, which is a u-shaped counter, surrounding the open kitchen so we can watch the chefs at work.

Out comes fresh oyster dressed with lime and amaebi or sweet shrimp sandwiched between wafer thin crackers. HACO pairs this with Dassai 23 junmai daiginjo sake, a floral drop, which features 23%-polished yamada-nishiki rice.

Head chef Yada wants his guests to better understand Japan’s popular rice wine, and he even gives us each a card containing different polishes of rice in airtight bubbles to help. The less polished the rice, the more intense the flavour. Meanwhile, a greatly polished rice produces a lighter, delicate flavour.

This starter quickly follows with shaved jamon and cheese, and satiny lobster, topped with a dash of uni (sea urchin).

If that isn’t enough indulgence, just wait for the king crab dotted with roe and chilled jelly broth. We enjoy it with a smooth, juicy Dassai 39.

King crab and roe at HACO Japanese Restaurant.
King crab in a light jelly broth and dots of roe.

We chase this with a crisp prawn tempura. The tempura gives a satisfying crunch that contrasts nicely with the encased soft prawn flesh and works well with the Dassai 45 sake. It’s a fruity junmai daiginjo made from rice polished to 45%.

Prawn tempura.
The perfect prawn tempura.

But we are not done with seafood yet. Next comes scallop, which soaks up a rich, spice-filled curry. Then we have snapper laced with caviar to supercharge its marine flavour.

Snapper and caviar at HACO Japanese restaurant.
Snapper and caviar – what more do you need?

We pair this with ‘Future with farmers’ Dassai, which is a sustainably produced sake that’s made with Togai rice.

Mains

If you like a good dose of protein, you’ll love the Aylesbury-Pekin duck (a cross-breed duck, bread for its delicious meat and fat) and Munakata wagyu, a high-grade beef from an island in Japan’s Fukuoka Prefecture. They are excellent quality and Mr Two Chat Food thinks they hit the spot.

Wagyu beef at HACO Japanese Restaurant in Sydney.
HACO serves only the best quality wagyu beef.

Dessert

After a little break to let us digest our mains, we move on to dessert, featuring shiso-flavoured sorbet and ice pebbles. Shiso is an aromatic herb (also known as perilla) that’s popular in Japanese cuisine, and it’s a fresh way to finish the evening, just the way Mrs Two Chat Food likes it. Even though Two Chat Food prefers richer, heavier desserts, he still enjoys it.

Shiso sorbet dessert at HACO Japanese Restaurant.
Shiso for dessert.

Tonight is full of exceptional quality ingredients and craftsmanship. And the chefs are all too happy to tell you more about the food and their philosophy if you ask.

If you love Japanese food but are still open to new creations, and you enjoy sake or want to learn more about it, then there’s a good chance you’ll have a great evening at HACO.


HACO
102/21 Alberta St
Sydney

Experience more culinary adventures at Two Chat Food and follow us on Instagram: @twochatfood.

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