Cayrole is a part-time couch potato, part-time Sydney wanderer and full-time foodie, armed with her iPhone and a love for all things sweet.
Published August 14th 2013
Sushi, sake and skateboards
In recent years, the Bondi esplanade has transformed itself into an eat street with a smorgasbord of fine dining options from various cuisines dappled amongst its iconic backpacker lodgings.
One of the hidden gems is PaperPlanes, a trendy Japanese fusion bar restaurant brought to you by the Barge8 Hospitality Group. You can find it tucked away down the laneway beside Hotel Bondi, which also houses Miss Chu's.
If you are an admirer of quirky interiors like me, your iPhone/camera will have a field day as soon as you step into the dimly-lit interior. Origami paper cranes hang from an impressive ceiling covered in skateboards fashioned as 'paper planes' - click, click, click!
Almost instantly though, it's the finer touches that set the tone. Deep house music playing in the background, a slice of cucumber adding a freshness to the jar of tap water being served and the menu folded like a paper plane.
With an extensive menu of fine food coupled with an even more extensive list of sake, wine and cocktails, PaperPlanes simply begs for you to return.
At the suggestion of the friendly waiter, I opt for the Harajuku Girl cocktail, a chilled martini of watermelon, coconut water, St Germain and Bombay Sapphire garnished with a sprinkling of coconut. It was strongly sweet, just the way I like my cocktails, and the coconut added an interesting fluffiness to it.
We start the meal with the PaperPlanes pork belly bun, which immediately won us over with the punch of the jalapeno mayonnaise. The spider tempura soft shell crab sushi rolls were not so impressive though as they lacked flavour and that crunch that I look for.
Pork belly bun (From PaperPlanes facebook page)
The highlight, however, was the main - sake flamed teriyaki chicken. The sauce was to die for, as it oozed out of the chicken and the sautéed wild mushrooms. Once the chicken was gone, we mopped up the rest of it with rice... and I still wanted more.
The dessert menu certainly reflected the quirky vibe of the entire restaurant and we opted for the odd-sounding Tokyo Pop Plant. Served in a mini pot, it was a lemon cheesecake overlay with a layer of lemon curd mixed with popping candy, just for fun. All this was disguised beneath a coat of crushed Oreo as the 'soil' for the mint leaf 'plant'. This unconventional cheesecake was a light and delicious way to end the meal.
Overall, PaperPlanes offers a good atmosphere, good service and good dining however, for a similar Japanese restaurant, it is slightly pricey. That being said, I would personally return again and again for that teriyaki chicken.
PaperPlanes also offers takeaway and home delivery, as well as bookings for group functions and event catering.