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Chidori Japanese Bistro

Restaurants, Japanese Crows Nest
4 out of 5 stars
 (Photograph: Helen Yee)
Photograph: Helen Yee
 (Photograph: Helen Yee)
Photograph: Helen Yee
 (Photograph: Helen Yee)
Photograph: Helen Yee

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Sink your teeth into juicy Japanese crumbed pork and Wagyu beef at this cosy Crows Nest local

So you love a schnitty, but have you eaten the Japanese version called 'katsu'? Unlike pounded schnitzels, katsu (meaning cutlet) uses thick slabs of meat. The breadcrumbs are different, too: bigger, fluffier flakes known as panko crumbs that create a noisier crunch.

Tonkatsu, or deep-fried pork cutlet, is the most popular katsu. At Chidori in Crows Nest, they’re so committed to maintaining its succulence, they cook the pork in a water bath (sous-vide) before it’s crumbed and deep-fried to golden and tender bliss.

As is Japanese tradition, the tonkatsu is served on an elevated wire rack so the bottom never gets soggy. Genius! It also doubles as a stage, which we think is fair enough given its star billing. Dip your ready-cut tonkatsu into katsu sauce (like a fruity Worcestershire) or savour it with a sprinkle of salt. You'll find the usual accompaniment, finely shredded cabbage, on the side – which is sweet and a refreshing palate cleanse. All this clocks in at $18, or you can upgrade to the set for a fiver, which includes rice, pickles and miso soup.

The tonkatsu is good, but the gyukatsu, or beef cutlet, is even better. Chidori uses Wagyu, and cooks the well-marbled beef to a juicy, perfect pink. There’s a terrific contrast between the soft, buttery meat and the golden fried coating. Dunk it in the sweet soy dressing and just try not to sigh at first bite.

There’s more to Chidori than what you see at first glance, too. For a start, the compact ground floor dining space is triple the size upstairs. And the laminated menu out the front only shows a fraction of the full offering, ordered from a tablet at your table.

Weekends are particularly busy, filled with young families and groups of friends revelling in the comfort of omurice, fried rice covered with a tornado-like swirled omelette, or slurping up bowls of ramen (the charred soy base is our pick). Ramen comes in half-portions, too, ideal for smaller appetites or for those who want a mini banquet at every meal (guilty).

By: Helen Yee



Address: Shop 4, 29 Holtermann St
Crows Nest
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 11.30am-3pm & 5.30-9pm
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