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  1. A table at Callao
    Photograph: Dexter Kim
  2. Drinks at the bar at Callao
    Photograph: Dexter Kim
  3. Pineapple on the grill at Callao
    Photograph: Dexter Kim

Time Out says

Traditional Japanese dishes are remixed with Peruvian flavours at Barangaroo’s impressive new restaurant, Callao

Nikkei cuisine sees the harmonious blend of Japanese and Peruvian flavours, which is showcased at new restaurant Callao, now open in Barangaroo. The moody and handsome 104-seater – which is by the team behind the Wild Sage cafés and trendy Mexican restaurant, Alegre Bar and Dining – features textured walls, a striking backlit terracotta bar and sculptured lighting, decked out in an earthy colour palette.

"Callao is the name of the port in Peru where the first 790 Japanese immigrants docked," says head chef Jihwan Choi, who cut his teeth at Surry Hills pioneering Bar H. "For us, this destination was such a beautiful representation of the merging of these two cultures and their respective cuisines."

Here at Callao, Choi pays homage to Nikkei by taking Peruvian spices, herbs and sauces and combining them with traditional Japanese dishes. Take the scampi tartare, for instance, which is served on crispy rice with avo, pickled jalapeno and Siberian caviar. Sashimi gets a Peruvian twist with the seared bonito tiradito, served with a tiger’s milk spiked with ponzu and fresh wasabi. And wood-fired prawns are grilled on the custom-built parrilla grill before being lathered in a Peruvian-style tomato bisque, sea urchin butter and tobiko mayo.

Don’t forget about dessert at Callao. For something fun and refreshing, go for the pineapple paddle pop – a riff on the popular Peruvian dessert helado de piña – made up of grilled pineapple, pineapple sorbet and rum caramel. Take it one step further with the chocolate truffle, featuring sansho pepper, a numbing Japanese spice with a similar vibe to Sichuan pepper.

Thirsty? Callao's cocktail menu incorporates popular South American drinks with Asian flavours, like the Bellavista (Pisco Quebranta, Midori melon liqueur, Coconut Husk Rum, and pineapple juice); and Luxurious Haku (Haku Japanese vodka, cherry liquor, lemon and cranberry juice and rose syrup). If you feel like something stronger, opt for a nip of sake or a taste of Japanese whisky, before you head out for an evening stroll along the waterfront.


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Avril Treasure
Written by
Avril Treasure


2/100 Barangaroo Ave
Opening hours:
Mon-Sat noon-3pm; 5-10pm
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