As luck would have it, the slow moving paw of a beckoning cat caught my attention as I cruised this little back street for a park. The bar drew me in with moody, new minimalist décor. The barely lit room seduced us with intimacy - spread along the stark, cement-rendered table, three couples murmur over sharing plates of modern Japanese.
The antidote to all this formality arrives with an enchanting peal of bell-like giggles. Our soft-footed waitress is bearing Warm Mandarin Honey Sake ($9.50/180ml), and a trio of Flavoured Sake Testers ($12.00/3 x 60ml), bested by warm Vanilla and Caramel.
Extracting her delighted recommendation - tasty Yokohama Shiumai ($12/4 pieces) dumplings filled with pork and prawn and set off by Karashi mustard – elicits more melodic merriment, stifled by her hand and softly ducking head.
Equally joyous char-grilled Asparagus and Zucchini with Wasabi Aioli ($8) bursts wetly in my mouth.
A tangled medley of mushrooms in the beautifully handled Kinoko Lover ($15) entices us to savour slippery shimeji on our tongues.
Sated we roll a solid sphere of ice in a smooth-drinking tumbler of Kicchomu Delux Shochu ($14/60ml). Charmed anew, I resolve not to another year slip by before returning for a Seasonal Teishoku Set ($24).
15 Brisbane Street, Surry Hills
Ph: (02) 9261 3524
See my earlier visit back HERE.