Edition Coffee Roasters

Recent winners of the 2018 Time Out Food Award for Best Café, Edition Coffee Roasters is known on the Sydney food scene for its artful contemporary pairing of Scandinavian and Japanese cuisine. But we wouldn’t expect anything less from Chef Shin Hasegawa, whose impressive CV includes Bentley Restaurant and Bar and Bondi’s most famous haunt, Icebergs.

With Edition Coffee Roasters, he’s on a mission to make great modern dining more accessible; bringing two seemingly disparate cultures together on a plate in a way that makes us irritated we hadn’t thought of it sooner.

Perfect pairings
Case in point, the 12-hour slow cooked pork cheek, served with charred kimchi, and apple and elderflower gel. Here, the kimchi is charred to order, providing the perfect little hit to break up the fattiness of the pork. The addition of sweet apple and elderflower gel is the final anointment to ensure the dish really sings on the plate.

Careful culinary collisions
When explaining the inspiration for the deceptively simple and straight-forward menu (of approximately only eight main dishes), Shin Hasegawa explains, “There’s a lot of similarities between Japanese and Scandinavian food. They both use clean, simple flavours and rely on quality fresh ingredients as well as some rather clever cooking techniques.”

Smoked, cured and pickled
The techniques he’s referring to recur right across Edition’s plates, and include smoking, curing and pickling — “the flavours that are released when you smoke a piece of meat or pickle a vegetable are incredible,” he explains. And we couldn’t agree more. This is a menu full of tasty surprise and delight moments.

Donburi-to-go-go
Takeaway Donburi bowls also find a home at Edition Coffee Roasters for those hunting flavours on-the-go. There are 12 traditional Japanese Donburi options to choose from, and they change every month. Chef Hasegawa did mention also that there really is “something for everyone at Edition Coffee Roasters,” and for once, this isn’t an overstatement.

You can find Edition Coffee Roasters at 60 Darling Drive, Haymarket NSW 2000.
For more information, visit editioncoffeeroasters.com.

Bang Bang

Before Kokubo Yuji became head chef at Bang Bang, a neon-lit whisky and craft beer bar on Steam Mill Lane, he was known for his work as an executive chef in Roppongi Hills Tokyo, where you’ll find a few of the world’s greatest encounters of the culinary kind.

Yuji explains, “Roppongi Hills is known as the city within Tokyo City, where the top-ranking and ‘must-go’ restaurants are located.” Lucky for us, he credits his time here as the period that allowed him to fine-tune and reinterpret the award-winning dishes he’s now creating today, in more casual fare for Bang Bang.

Sydney via Shinjuku
Inspired by the lively back-alley drinking culture of Tokyo’s Shinjuku district, his new izakaya offers a lunch menu with an array of Japanese favourites, including omelettes, udon, curries, signature donburi and the noteworthy ‘Bang Bang Tebasaki’ — a tower of double fried chicken wings doused in a peppery, soy glaze.

Karaoke me away
As the daylight hours fold in, Bang Bang’s dinner menu adds edamame, gyoza, robata, sushi, sashimi, tempura, salads and a selection of doria gratins, noodles and rice to the line-up — all of which are designed for sharing and best consumed with a strong cocktail before a long night in the restaurant’s karaoke room.

A salaryman’s haven
While Bang Bang captures all the energy of Shinjuku, Yuji explains that it’s been appropriated in a more refined way. “Tokyo’s Shinjuku district is a salaryman’s heaven (corporate and businessmen). It’s where a lot of small eateries exist with very affordable prices, high quality food and a homely atmosphere. It’s one of those places I would go after my shift in Japan, and instantly say ‘sayonara’ to my stress.” For Yuji, the most important element of a dining experience is just that — “having a chat and a laugh with friends over good food and good drinks.” As head chef, he assures the atmosphere is set inside his kitchen amongst staff whose vibe can dictate the entire feeling of the restaurant.

Choice selection
His go-to dish? “It would have to be the Bang Bang Tebasaki. I can drink ten schooners of beer with this tower of chicken wings.” Ten schooners may seem a stretch for some, but never fear, there’s also his specialised whisky menu to whet the palette in between spicy noms. He explains that in Japan, “People don’t really drink whisky neat or on the rocks. We mix it with soda or freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and call it a Japanese High Ball.”

“Because Japanese people work from the early morning to late at ni­ght, I believe drinking like this gives them control and reduces the hangover the next morning. It’s the working culture that’s informed the dining and drinking culture, not the other way around.” Let that be a lesson for us all.

You can find Bang-Bang at 14 Steam Mill Lane, Haymarket NSW 2000.
For more information, visit bang-bang.com.au.