Chef Chase Kojima reveals his favourite cafés, restaurants and bars to visit in this inner-Sydney gem.
For San Francisco expat Chase Kojima, Pyrmont has become home. Not only does the executive chef helm Sokyo, one of the area’s most popular restaurants, but he has also lived in the suburb for seven years now, which has allowed him to befriend many local chefs and restaurateurs.
To help those unfamiliar with the area discover some new foodie hotspots, we asked Kojima to share a food diary chronicling his favourite Pyrmont venues. Here’s what he had to say.
Before starting a busy day in the kitchen, Kojima likes to drop into The BnG Café, which is owned by friend Brian Logan, for his coffee fix. “Brian worked for me at Sokyo for many years and his coffee is very good,” he says. If you’re in a rush they also have a fantastic selection of grab ‘n go sandwiches and homemade pastries.
“My friend Derek does really nice Vietnamese street food at a café called DK’Station on Harris Street,” says Kojima, recommending the venue’s banh mi and fresh juices. “I also like walking over to the Sydney Fish Market and ordering fresh seafood. I’ll get some sashimi and eat outside overlooking the harbour (though you have to watch out for the hungry birds!).”
Kojima specialises in Japanese cuisine, which means having a go-to Asian grocer is a must. “If I need Asian ingredients, I’ll walk over to Thai Kee IGA in Chinatown, where they have everything I need,” he says. The specialist supermarket, which is only a 15-minute walk from Pyrmont, has an impressive range of Japanese, Chinese, Malaysian, Vietnamese, Korean and Filipino food. The ready-made frozen meals in the supermarket’s Restaurant Range, which are produced by some of the city’s best restaurants, are especially popular.
“Obviously I’d recommend Chuuka for dinner,” Kojima says with a laugh (he is co-head chef of the Chinese and Japanese fusion restaurant, which is set to reopen soon).
“But I also love Danny Karam’s food at BLACK Bar and Grill [think wood-fired steaks and indulgent seafood]. It’s a bit rich for me but I love going there when I can. And you can’t go wrong with Flying Fish, Fat Noodle and Momofuku. Also, have you heard of Sokyo?”
Kojima is full of praise for the bartenders at Sokyo, Chuuka and Flying Fish, though he is also a big fan of PS40, an outlandish bar with an ever-changing and experimental cocktail menu (for example, a recent drink was a spicy “taco-inspired cocktail” that included tequila, mezcal, mandarin, whey, cumin and lime).
“I’ll go see [co-owner] Michael Chiem and just have him make me anything,” Kojima enthuses. “He is amazing.”
If you prefer takeaway, the bar does that too – you can pick up both cocktails and natural wines, or have the venue’s line of sodas delivered straight to your door.