Chaco Bar – 3 October 2019

Yes! Chaco Bar! I’d only been once before for ramen, but this time I really wanted to check our their yakitori for dinner. When I ate here, Chaco Bar and Chaco Ramen were still the same place and ramen was a lunch time only thing, but since then they’ve been super successful and split into two different venues!

This little joint is amazing. First of all, a starter! A seaweed salady type thing, very refreshing!

Chawan mushi time! This featured some delicious crab! I love the way the custard was flavoured, it was rich but not overpowering!

Spicy tuna belly salad with sansho. Woah. I wasn’t expecting it too look like this at all! For some reason I imagined this to be a cold raw dish, but instead it was grilled and served warm. And. Woah. That. Numbing!! It’d been so long since I’ve eaten numbing chilli that I actually had no idea what was happening to me when I ate this – it was spicy, but not that spicy, I could eat it, but it was tingling, it was sort of spicy, but not, and I couldn’t stop eating it?!?! That was pretty much my train of thought as I ate it. It was so good! Woah! So addictive! Definitely something you don’t find anywhere else!

They had a special on, which was a Hokkaido scallop! Yeeah I love scallops so I had to get one!

Ok, onto the sticks! I love offal and it’s so hard to get good stuff. I ordered all my favourite bits, including this giblet! Oh. Yes. Oh. No wonder people love this place so much. This was served still pinkish inside and sooooo good! And so much flavour, whatever salt they’re using on this makes it taste amazing!!

Hearts and okra. I’ve never been much of a hearts person but I always feel I should eat it, and honestly, it’s quite tasty! These were also still a bit bleedy on the inside and that makes it AMAZING!! I will keep raving about each stick because they’re all so good! This is how all yakitori should be served!

This one’s even called “pink centered liver” ahahaha. And omg yes I love liver that’s been cooked perfectly and isn’t over and crumbly!

I feel like I’ve been gushing about the “undercookedness” of these skewers, since I think a lot of people would be concerned about chicken this pink. I did a bit of reading on raw chicken a while back, because I was curious about how Japan can serve chicken sashimi safely. I think it’s one of those things where you need existing gut flora to be strong and healthy, but also needs to be exposed to raw chicken to build up the bacteria to be able to eat it? But that’s only half of it. The other half is actually the existence of salmonella itself. It’s naturally occurring in chicken but it’s the super fresh and safe preparation of it that makes the difference. Supermarket chicken is no good because even if the “wrong” bits of chicken make contact with other bits (eg. offal to flesh, feet to flesh etc), that’s when you start increasing the risk of poisoning. When prepared correctly so that all parts are kept separate and don’t touch each other, the risk of poisoning goes down drastically, which makes this stuff safe to eat – hey, I get poisoned more from beef tataki than I do from undercooked chicken at home, so… that’s not a good example LOL.

Anyway, that was my efforts in explaining the food safety of raw chicken, and I probably didn’t explain it very well. There is heaps of stuff online about it, so I recommend reading up on it yourself to develop an understanding on chicken preparation, because you can appreciate a larger range of food as a result!

Next up, the godly gyu-tan. YES. WAGYU COW TONGUE. Oh man this was soooo good. It came with a hefty price tag too at I think $15 a stick? But it was definitely worth it! When tongue is grilled right it’s so soft and tender! And the marbling! Woah cow tongues can have marbling too. Yum!

Ok back to chicken. This time, cartilage! I love crunchy cartilage and this was no exception! So good, though, to be honest, this was the least interesting out of all the sticks I ordered. Not to say this is bad, it was still better than all the other yakitori I’ve had, it’s just that the other offal was all so next level!!!

And finally dessert. Mascarpone matcha mousse, red bean paste, strawberries! Okay, so usually I don’t like matcha but this one was actually done nicely and wasn’t too bitter! I really enjoyed this and it had a good, light texture! I love the messy look of this too, I love messes as much as I love perfectionism, so I enjoyed this so much!

Chaco Bar is just so good at everything – all the entrees were superb, the skewers were top notch and even dessert was delicious! Yes! Definitely come here for the perfect Japanese yakitori dinner!!!

But wait, there’s one last thing I have to post, and that’s the lunch time ramen. This was a quail sansho special. Even after having the tuna sansho salad, it didn’t occur to me that sansho pepper is the numbing thing! I’m so ignorant sometimes it hurts. I really wanted the quail aspect and this was so good! The quail sausage thing itself was interestingly gamey (moreso than normal quail), and that numbing effect has such an addictive quality about it! There’s some smudges of stuff on the side of the bowl – this is intentional. Those blobs on top right are yuzu kosho, a super intense concentrate of salty peppery lemony goodness. The waitstaff explained that it’s not meant to be mixed in with the soup, and that the proper way to consume this was to spread a bit on the noodles only, just before you eat it. Nice! Packs a punch and so tasty!

Man, everything about this place is just so good. So good. SO GOOD. I absolutely need to go abck! Just have to wait for my next Sydney trip so I can fill up on chicken and ramen goodness again! It’s like a real Japanese izakaya outside of Japan! I love Sydney so much!