Okay, I admit that I have a little crush on the Barge brothers and the delectable cocktails and dishes they bring to the scene. Teamed up with Phil Capaldi, the boys have a new addition to the family in a hidden, reformed alleyway along Campbell Parade. Walking in, your eyes are casted to the 400 and something skateboard roof, flying origami cranes and an enticing long bar at the back.
We kick off with some chilled beverages and in true LL Wine & Dine style, there’s an innovative cocktail menu. Tonight I’m on the Tokyo Pop, a fruity mix with a cheeky popping candy rim. The boys are on tap beer, Orion, which is of course Japanese.
The menu is designed to share and there’s a mix of old and new Japanese. The entrees and mains are a modern take, while the sushi menu keeps it simple but offering good ol’ favourites with a sprinkle of PaperPlanes magic.
Entrees kick start with dishes of edamame, gyoza and salmon nachoes. The homemade gyoza is limited each week and are served with a chili oil and ponzu mix; the ponzu adding the perfect amount of tartness. Th salmon nachoes are kept cool in a wooden bath of ice and served with crispy prawn crackers.
There’s a selection of sushi and sashimi to choose from; my favourite is the spicy tuna with the refreshing inclusion of apple while the spider roll has a firey kick with hidden fresh wasabi.
The mains are hearty and keep us warm from chill and rain – the sake flamed teriyaki chicken is deceptively flavoursome and perfect with a bowl of rice and the sauteed mushroom mix. The braised beef short ribs are perfect for the lazy as they are off the bone swimming in a sauce of yakiniku (sake, mirin, soy) – all balanced with the sourness of pickled vegetables.
The desserts are adventurous. Our Tokyo POP plant is a lemon cheesecake in disguise, all of which would have been complete if there was a super crumbly biscuit base which we were all digging for! The black egg on the other hand, is delectable. It is a layered “egg” of macadamia nut oil, coconut milk curd and a floating disc of chocolate sauce (there’s not much, so you have to fight for it!).
Follow the lighting strike and have a cocktail, or two.
178 Campbell Parade
Bondi Beach, Sydney