Crane Sydney is a recent addition to the eclectic dining strip along Bayswater Road in Potts Point. Located at the site that was once Bayswater Brasserie, the restaurant/bar/late night venue with a 24/7 license serves innovative Japanese cuisine with western influences and is already proving popular with the night crowd.
Crane Sydney, Potts Point
AstroTurf lines the front section of the venue with a mix of Japanese and western influences seeping into the décor, an area that kicks on with a DJ after the restaurant is closed.
Hand-painted cherry blossoms
Inside the dining room which also houses the central bar, the fitout is kept simple with hand-painted cherry blossoms on the walls that add to the classic mood.
The Atrium is where the late night action takes place. It’s a large courtyard with a smoking area, a distinctive tree protruding through the roof and a staircase from the Great Gatsby doubles as a DJs booth. Adjacent to this beer garden, another bar is soon to open offering beer on tap.
DJ Booth from the Great Gatsby
The bar is designed to cater for many tastes without a specific spirit focus. You’ll find a range of Japanese beers, such as the well-known Asahi and Sapporo along with the less familiar Echigo Koshihikari and four Japanese whiskies. The wine list is modest and Junmai sake is available by the bottle and by the glass.
L-R: Myagi Mule and Ume Margarita
The cocktails take on a Japanese flavour with the use of yuzu (Japanese citrus) in many drinks such as the Ume Margarita ($16), with ume, a tart Japanese plum muddled with Cointreau, tequila and green tea smoked salt on the rim. For the perfect drink before a meal, the Miyagi Mule ($16), designed by Simon McGoram during his Bayswater Brasserie tenure has a vodka base with cucumber, homemade ginger beer and wasabi. You get a sweetness at first which finishes with a kick of wasabi and makes a great palate primer before dinner.
Chef Taichi Ito
Chef Taichi Ito has created a share-style menu with dishes served sequentially in order to appreciate their nuances. Originally from Osaka in Japan, he had spent 11.5 years in Brisbane working at Stamford Plaza, Sake and Zuri Lounge and has cooked for many celebrities such as Snoop Dog who declared his chicken kaarage as the best. Not bad for a chef who started peeling apples at age five in his mother’s kitchen and worked as sushi chef in his teenage years.
L-R: Hatsumago Tokusen Tokubetsu Honjozo, Konaki Cho Karakuchi cup, Oyagi Ginjo Cup
Sake is the drink of choice with the meal. Whether it’s the sake cups such as Konaki Cho Karakuchi Cup ($17) or Oyagi Ginjo Cup ($23) (which you get to keep) or Hatsumago Tokusen Tokubetsu Honjozo ($12 a serve), the staff can advise on the best sake match with your menu order.
Start with the spicy edamame ($8) made with seven ingredients, white pepper, seaweed, sesame seed, orange peel, white sesame, Sansho Japanese pepper and finished in truffle oil. The aroma of the truffle is noticeable and the beans have an earthy flavour followed by a kick from the heat.
Sea barramundi with white soy
From Western Australia comes the sea barramundi sashimi with white soy ($17). White soy is light in colour but imparts a strong flavour, chef Ito explains. The sauce is mixed with grapeseed oil, yuzu juice which gives the dish a subtle citrus taste with sesame. The freshness of the fish makes it a delightful palate primer that sets the tone for the rest of the menu.
Sashimi new style
Sashimi new style ($20) is presented with alternating pieces of kingfish from Port Lincoln in South Australia and ocean trout from Petuna in Tasmania wrapped around daikon (Japanese radish), red radish, carrot, in sesame and grapeseed oil and seaweed.
Searing the sashimi
The sashimi has tozazu jelly on top, which is Japanese seafood stock with a nori purée underneath. Lightly seared, the fish has a lovely smoky flavour that goes well with the combination of seaweed and salt.
Kangaroo Tataki ($22) typifies Japanese fusion and can be dubbed as “kangaroo pizza“. Thinly-sliced seared pieces of meat are topped with a soy, mirin, ginger and garlic sauce, mayo, and sprinkled with deep fried garlic. This is a cold and filling dish served on pita bread, which you can eat with the bread or just pick at the meat. The kangaroo is perfectly cooked, tender and strong on flavour – a dish better savoured without the pita bread.
Nasu miso cheese
Eggplant, sweet miso, Napolitana sauce and cheddar cheese make up the Nasu Miso Cheese ($18), a combination of ingredients similar to a parmigiana but with eggplant. Served with red and green pickled cucumber, and Japanese style of basil called Oba, it has an unusual mix of flavours. The sweetness form the miso goes well with the eggplant but the texture has us divided as to whether the it should be cooked for a little more to get the maximum flavour from the dish.
From the mains, the Lamb dish ($38) consists of four cutlets coated with sweet miso is cooked with seaweed shallots, seared with a blow torch and served with a daikon salad with yuzu dressing. Simply pick up with fingers and enjoy the delicious combination of flavours.
Order the Fire Crunch ($19) and you may never be able to eat takeaway sushi again. This dish challenges other tuna sushi with the softest of rice, bursts of flavour from the spicy tuna, a little heat from seven spices (see edamame) topped with deep fried onion and red spicy fish roe, and mayo – a dish to order again and again.
Scallops with miso and onion sauce
Chef Ito offers a dish off the menu while he prepared the next course. Queensland scallops with miso and onion mayo has a serving of plump scallop meat with a prominent onion flavour, as you find in a sauce soubise.
Truffle Honey Duck with Citrus Salad
Also from the mains menu, Truffle Honey Duck with Citrus Salad ($36) combines the gamey flavour of duck with a sweetness of honey and finishes savoury and earthy with truffle oil The duck breast is tender and succulent and the combination of truffle and honey is perfectly balanced – another favourite dish that deserves an encore.
Green Tea Tiramisu, Milky Brûlée with Yuzu Sour Cocktail ($16)
You may not have room for dessert so the Yuzu Sour ($16), made with a gin base, elderflower liqueur and a touch of Pernod is refreshing and palate cleansing which makes it the must-have digestive cocktail to get you prepared for dessert.
The green tea-infused tiramisu ($12) is light in texture,and made with a sponge mixed with green tea powder and mascarpone. For the Milky Brûlée ($16), Chef Ito wanted to recreate a particular taste from his childhood. Milky is a sweet, soft candy in Japan, and while the dessert is akin to a crème brûlée, it has a different flavour with a softer and slightly runny consistency. Mini macarons of black sesame and green tea with a chocolate ganache put a sweet end to the meal.
L-R: AJ Scott, Nick Kuche, Maria Tarantello, Chris Dengate, Thiago Santos (Manager)
Crane Sydney surprises and delights. This is not another Japanese restaurant serving the same dishes. Chef Ito’s cuisine succeeds in bringing a Japanese fusion to the table with dishes that celebrates the produce, techniques and flavours. The sake cups that line up the bar invite you to try each one and start a collection. The cocktails are innovative and leave a good impression while remaining accessible.
Crane Sydney caters for discerning diners, and as the night kicks along with smooth DJ beats, the venue appeals to party-goers and the hospitality crowd looking for a an alternative to night clubs.
Crane Sydney is featured in our guide to Sydney’s Best Japanese Restaurants.
32 Bayswater Rd
Potts Point, NSW
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