A typical traditional breakfast in Japan consists of steamed rice or okayu (rice porridge), miso soup, natto (sticky and pungent fermented soybeans which you’ll either love or hate) and tsukemono (pickles). Sometimes it’ll also include a piece of fish, eggs or tamagoyaki (omelette). I fell in love with the nourishing nature of Japanese breakfasts 9 years ago on my first visit to the land of sushi and I can’t tell you how excited I am that this concept has now reached Sydney, at none other than where Sydney meets Tokyo: Sokyo.
A full continental breakfast ($28) at Sokyo includes tea or coffee but the most popular option by far is the packaged deal which includes the full continental buffet, an ‘a la carte’ dish and tea or coffee ($38). As the prices suggest, breakfast here is an occasion that you plan your day around, so don’t expect a run-of-the-mill hotel buffet.
We start with The Purple smoothie ($4, 200ml or $8 400ml), a rejuvenating concoction of blueberries, acai berry, agave and milk, and champagne with strawberries, because, why not!
As soon as our a la carte orders have been taken, I hit the buffet floor. The transformation from night to day is magnificent. The space is basking in sunlight from the large windows and despite the dark decor, I’m awakened and refreshed.
The sushi counter has been converted into a strikingly glorious royal display, plate after plate filled with irresistible morsels. This is like a Japanese breakfast version of the magical banquet scenes from the Harry Potter movies. I just want to feast on it all!
The dashi-stock Okayu is the most flavourful rice porridge you’ll ever taste. Kept warm over a flame in a cast iron pot, there are seven different condiments to choose from – make sure you add some of the deep-fried bread sticks and marinated enoki mushrooms.
There’s also smoked salmon, cheeses and cured meats, but the pastries, oh, the pastries, is where my heart lies. Chocolate croissants are the perfect golden hue, the distinct folds of buttery pastry just beckon to be unraveled. The black sesame muffins and green tea muffins are probably two of my most favourite Japanese flavours, and just as well, they’re slightly larger than bite-size so one of each is a feasible task. But if you decide to only go for one thing, and one thing only, don’t miss the luscious yuzu, white chocolate and berry pastries. They’re just the right amount of sweet, tart and gluttony.
The end (or the start depending on how you look at it) of the buffet is ablaze with colour; the fruit platter and yoghurts are replenished frequently. There’s passionfruit which are in season at the moment, strawberries, watermelon, orange, honeydew, rockmelon, kiwifruit, pineapple and it’s always nice to see fresh blueberries, a rarity with buffets.
And how adorable are these juices in sake jugs?
Back at the table, restaurant manager Alex takes such good care of us that he insists we try 4 main dishes. And thus this turns into the never-ending brunch!
Today’s omelette of the day is spanner crab and there was lots of it! The omelette itself is flawless – it has a souffle-like smoothness and the colour, as per classically-trained French chef standards, is a soft gold, not browned.
The traditional choushoku breakfast features miso soup, grilled fish of the day (salmon today), steamed Hokkaido Yumepirika rice, nori, edamame beans, onsen egg and Japanese pickles. Just like in a traditional ryokan, all of the elements are individually plated, enabling you to assemble each mouthful as you wish.
You can get almost anything for breakfast in Japan and curry udon at any time of day is always a good idea! Thick bouncy udon noodles are coated with a fragrant Japanese beef curry soup, pork neck, potatoes and onions.
Even the eggs benedict has a Japanese spin with the addition of edamame and miso hollandaise. Served on brioche with a poached egg, the umami from the steaky bacon and miso makes this probably my favourite from the four dishes we try.
Other breakfast main dishes include a sumo breakfast (choice of eggs, grilled bacon, Japanese sausage, sautéed mushroom, edamame, roasted potato, tomato, avocado, toasted ciabatta), healthy breakfast (poached egg, sautéed mushrooms, edamame, tomato, feta, avocado, toasted ciabatta) and the pancake (banana purée, Nutella, walnut crumb).
Breakfast at Sokyo is a memorable affair that truly gives you the best of both worlds.
Level G, The Darling, The Star 80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont NSW
Phone: (02) 9657 9161
I Ate My Way Through dined as guests of Sokyo
Update: 24 May 2015
New additions on the menu:
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