It's a little pain sometimes when you plan for something to happen and it doesn't happen. Or the plan falls through, as it did for me last week when I was hoping to have Japanese at one particular place on Smith street. However, we rocked up, every table was full.
Le sigh. What to do but walk down Smith Street and have the new problem of having a million more places to choose from?!
Fortunately it didn't take us long to find a new dinner spot, as other lovely dinner spots such as Easy Tiger, Wood Spoon Kitchen and Wabi Sabi Salon were all across the road, but Cocoro happened to be right next to us and fairly quiet. I know some people take as a bad sign, but it's kind of hard to judge when you have so many eateries firstly and especially on Smith Street with so many trendy eateries, competition is pretty fierce.
As the name suggests, Cocoro Japanese Pottery and Cafe offers both a fine selection of light homemade Japanese cuisine, in the surroundings of their exclusive hand crafted Japanese ceramics and pottery collection. It's quite gorgeous, very earthy and very zen, with soft jazz music playing through the cafe, an odd juxtaposition for a Japanese restaurant one may think, but it works well here. It was a very soothing and calming atmosphere to be in.
We opted to sit outside, since it was quite a lovely night.
We started with some sake, served in some of the pottery, isn't it just gorgeous? Was quite tempted to get one for myself...I can't remember the original name of the sake, but the translated name was 'Devil killer' or something like that. It was quite dry, which I enjoyed.
We decided to try not to over order (as we often do) and went with two dishes. This was the deep fried eggplant (which I can never, ever, ever resist) topped with finely grated radishes and sitting in a miso/ponzu type sauce. Ah, the eggplant was soft enough as it just soaked up all the sauce, the radishes adding a nice refreshing bite, along with all that spring onion. It was really quite a bit larger than I expected, I think the eggplant was just about as big as my hand span! A generous serve for $18 in my opinion.
And then we got this to share. Whilst I was tempted by the 'Salmon Sushi Carnival' (isn't that a great name?!), we decided the deluxe sushi and sashimi platter would be more interesting to share. 4 fresh slices of raw bonito, 2 natural ponzu oysters, 4 salmon sashimi, 3 salmon sushi prepared in different ways (raw, one raw and minced and one slightly grilled), 2 crab sushi and 2 vegetarian sushi. This was so enjoyable and surprisingly filling as we slowly took our time to eat everything. The oysters were lovely and refreshing and so was the sashimi. The fish was so tender and sweet, the slightly grilled salmon sushi in particular was just gorgeous. And crab sushi, actually with crab! And a whole lot of mayo, but it's nice not to see red crabsticks! This was a really good size to share between two!
And me being the big chai latte fan I am, I thought I would give the green tea latte a go. I was at first puzzled when the waitress dropped off the sugars with the green tea latte. Whoo boy, was I glad she did though! This was really made with true matcha and bitter as anything! Two sachets of sugar later and this was much easier for me to get past my taste buds! It was definitely interesting though, I loved how creamy and pretty it did look and was probably twice as big as any latte I've seen before!
Whilst Japanese food is always typically seen as being quite light and healthy, I feel like you can feel that love for it at Cocoro, in the ambience they've created and of course through their food, exemplifying homemade authentic Japanese food. It's interesting to read that everything is hand made and I am quite keen to come back and try more of the food here another day, the menu is quite extensive!
More opinions? Read Hot Or Not's review!