Kanade: Lux Nomade reviews Sydney’s new Tokyo-inspired day-to-night eatery
Over the past few years, Sydney’s Japanese dining scene has exploded with a slew of new venues: from sleek listening bars such as Ante and Rekodo to intimate Omakase restaurants like Joel Best’s Besuto.
Kanade – an ode to the late-night eateries of Tokyo – is offering something in between. The visually striking space, deep in Sydney’s CBD, is on a mission to “bring a piece of Tokyo to Sydney’s CBD, with a fusion of the best of east and west,” says Erick Chandra, Kanade’s venue manager. At this immersive space, expect experimental cocktails and a contemporary menu that infuses Japanese dishes with Italian techniques and flavours. We visited on a Friday night and were immediately transported to somewhere far removed from Sydney’s straight-laced polish. Drinks are served in colourful sake barrels, staff are friendly but notably laissez-faire, and sashimi is prepared in front of you by a team of smiling chefs who present their visually remarkable creations with a smile, and a shell filled with steaming dry ice.
The high-ceilinged space has been designed to mimic the historical architecture of Tokyo, with a red timber structure arching over the open kitchen in the centre of the room an ode to the iconic torii gates of Japan, and intimate curtained booths lining the side. Exposed bulbs hang from the ceiling, and at the front, there’s a bar stocked with a strong selection of sake and local spirits.
The menu is a modern, somewhat Italian take on traditional Japanese dishes, though Erick insists that it’s not Japanese-Italian fusion.
“Our chefs are trained with techniques from across the world, so the food can’t be defined as one thing – I like to say it’s modern Japanese” he explains.
The menu changes regularly, utilising the creativity and diverse expertise of the chefs. Starters might include kingfish carpaccio, motoyaki scallops or vegan gyoza, and main dishes range from wafu spaghetti (pasta prepared with Japanese flavours) to Zucchini & Eggplant miso gratin to Wagyu Sirloin with smashed kipfler, asparagus & moromimiso sauce. Side dishes, salads and sushi dishes are equally innovative, with standouts being the baby octopus tatsutaage and the colourful, generously proportioned hand rolls. But Kanade’s signature is its Japanese-Italian fusion kaiseki: a traditional multi-course Japanese meal with Italian influences, that features hyper-indulgent dishes such as seared jumbo scallops in a yuzu hollandaise and a lobster karaage with miso mayonnaise.
As opulent as Kanade’s “exquisite delight” dishes are, the Clarence Street restaurant also moonlights as a low-key lunchtime location: conveniently located in Sydney’s CBD, with a daytime menu that meets the needs of busy city workers looking to escape to Tokyo on their hour off.
Come along and you’ll be welcomed by the chefs, who will encourage you to take a seat at the bar by the open kitchen and watch them as they work, or claim a curtained booth with a group of friends and let Erick do the ordering.