By Rosie Panetta
Lovers of Shōbōsho on Leigh Street in the city, clear your diary — and your belly — because she has a little sister who is making the family proud!
Her name is ShoSho and she’s been frying up some seriously good fun in Hyde Park over the past few months … and by ‘frying up’ I am very much, not-so-subtly, alluding to the fact that tempura is king on this exciting new menu.
Chefs Adam Liston and Yumi Nagaya have taken to the suburbs for their latest venture, this time inspired by Japanese Izakaya, which are casual drinking spots where small plates are served to help complement a few drinks. And tucked away at the top of King William Road, that is the vibe they’ve 100% nailed: a fun, upmarket-casual spot, which will have you hooked day or night.
An open kitchen welcomes you to the restaurant — filling the indoor dining area with the divine smell of wood-fired goodness — while spritely, knowledgeable staff are eager to help.
The menu is largely made up of Japanese-inspired snacks, tapas-style small plates, and are all best shared. Shallot pancakes infused with Laughing Cow cheese — yes, cheese! — are a must from the snack selection, as is the ‘potato scallop’: a crumbed scallop topped with thinly ribboned fried potato and a chickpea miso mayo.
Other highlights include a crab udon served with crab dashi butter & kizami nori; a wonton crisp with whipped edamame & grilled nori; and in the ultimate display of cultural food-fusion, a crumbed prawn sando with salt & vinegar mayo & kizami nori. Seriously, it’s the most photogenic sanga you’ll ever enjoy.
The woodfire is key to some of their larger dishes like the delectable char siu pork; the chargrilled porterhouse with miso bearnaise; and the too-good-to-share ShoSho wagyu cheeseburger, which comes complete with roasted tempura nori, shredded cabbage and smoky tomato sauce.
But the star of it all — as designed — is certainly the tempura, which you’ll find sprinkled right across the menu. Lightly battered and cooked to delicate perfection, whether you choose the tempura green beans, tempura okra, tempura mushrooms, tempura sand whiting or the super light and very crispy tempura perilla & scallop dumplings (just to name a few!) there’s no wrong choices to make here.
Also on the menu; dumplings, noodles, a selection of raw seafood and a choice of ramen available for lunch.
And you’ll be glad to know that the Japanese saké bottles creatively scattered around the venue as decoration are on the menu too, alongside an impressive list of umeshu, yuzushu and wine to satisfy whatever your palette and budget.
A special mention must also go out to the playlist; seriously, the back to-back old school tunes had our table singing along, even before the wines were poured.
From the menu to the venue, everything here has been beautifully and carefully considered, right down to their stunning custom-made crockery. ShoSho is a fun food experience that absolutely warrants a few visits (at least!) to soak up every moreish bit.
You’ll find ShoSho Izakaya at 164 King William Road.