Nomidokoro Indigo is a brand new Japanese Izakaya just off Liverpool Street in Darlinghurst. This tiny izakaya has a cheap and cheerful menu designed to complement sake with some really interesting and unusual options.
The three owners of Nomidokoro Indigo are Tin Jung Shea, Mitomo Somehara and Chris Wu who make up the Hatena group that also own Yakitori Yurripi, Crows Nest and Nakano Darling in Steam Mill Lane. This is their first opening in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs. Chris says that they sought out a location on the edge of the city, "It’s an area that is traditionally filled with lots of family run or small restaurants that we wanted to be a part of. The location is probably smaller than what we had imagined but we feel like we’ve made it work. It’s possibly the smallest restaurant in Sydney? We can’t think of too many others that are smaller." Monica and I arrive at 5:30pm on a Monday and already it is bustling with people and the inside that seats just 12 is getting full. We have a booking at an outdoor table.
There are two four seater outdoor tables and there's another couple sitting at the table next to us but they're friendly and we get some hints on what to order from them. The sake menu is printed on the sake bottle on the table with tasting notes and features 20 sakes with a focus on harder to find sakes. The menu isn't like a typical izakaya menu. It was designed under the guidance of Hatena Group’s executive chef Hide. "It was all about small dishes that were affordable (except for a few, all dishes are under $20), fresh and go well with sake. It’s very homely and classic," explains Chris.
We are trying sake pairings with our food and each sake works like wine- some are sweeter, some more fermented, some served warm. All of the staff are Japanese and are very accommodating and knowledgeable and explain the dishes and sake to us. For non-sake drinkers there's also a selection of beer, shochu, highballs, cocktails and Japanese whiskeys.
Salmon Belly Sashimi $18
Monica and I both love the creamy texture of salmon belly sashimi and this is wonderfully fresh and simple. I also particularly like the senchu sake that this is paired with.
School Prawn Karaage $15
The tempura school prawns are a fantastic start to start on as they are crunchy and well seasoned and coated with a tempura batter. I enjoy the Asakiyama sake that this is served with.
Dashimaki Tamago $15
The only dish that we didn't really go for was the dashimaki tamago omelette. It's a huge serving but the omelette is quite wet inside and is a bit too subtle of flavour. This was served with Gokyu sake heated to 50C/122F.
Aji Fry $18
A lot of izakaya food tends to be deep fried as it goes well with beer and this aji fry was perhaps my favourite deep fried item. It's yellowtail split in half and filleted and then coated in panko crumbs and deep fried. It is served wtih a mentaiko gribiche style sauce as well as bulldog sauce which both go well with it. The fish is hot and crunchy against the rich, nubbly textured sauce and piquant bulldog sauce.
Sake Clams $18
The sake steamed baby clams are delicious, the sake enhancing the flavour of the sea in the clams. They are served with a really interesting warm Mansaku sake heated to 40C/104F.
Miso marinated Cream Cheese $11
There's a section of 5 miso marinated items (crema cheese, wagyu tongue, beef brisket, chicken thigh and salmon) and these are marinated in a mixture of miso, sake, mirin and sugar. One of the most unusual but delicious items is miso marinated cream cheese. I did a double take when I saw this on the menu and asked about it and it is actually just cream cheese. The cream cheese is marinated for 1 day and it is infused with that wonderful sweet, salty combination from the marinade and then lightly torched and served. The cream cheese texture is slippery and the heat from your tongue melts it in the mouth. It's a surprisingly good textural and taste sensation.
Miso marinated Salmon $18
We actually preferred the miso marinated cream cheese to the salmon as we both tend to cook salmon on low heat so that it stays luscious inside and this salmon is a bit more cooked than we like.
Slow Cooked Duck Breast $25
Monica and I don't usually go for duck breast but they recommended it to us and it ends up being one of our favourite dishes of the night. The duck breast is seared, then sous-vided for 2.5 hours before being marinated for 24 hours. It is beautifully tender and thinly sliced so that it tastes like a cured meat. Be sure to grab some of the thinly sliced onion underneath to cut through the richness. Or perhaps a sip of the Tochigi Sawahime Tokubetsu Junmai Sake!
So tell me Dear Reader, are you much of a sake drinker? Have you ever tried cream cheese served like that?
NQN and Monica were guests of Nomidokoro Indigo but all opinions remain her own.
393 Liverpool St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010 Hours:
Wednesday to Monday 5–10:30pm
Phone: 0460 650 061