Japanese sake bar and izakaya Nomidokoro Indigo is as close as you’ll get to experiencing Tokyo in Darlinghurst. The double door is purposely left half open, channelling the small bars and eateries found along the narrow alleyways of the sprawling Japanese capital. Walk through the noren (short curtains) hanging over the entrance and you’ll be greeted with a friendly “Irasshaimase!” (welcome) and handed a warm oshibori (hot towel) – just as you would in Japan.
It’s the fourth venue by the Hatena Group, known for izakaya Nakano Darling, skewer bar Yakitori Yurippi and Japanese standing bar Tachinomi YP. Owners Tin Jung Shea, Mitomo Somehara and Chris Wu have been exacting in their efforts to recreate Japan in the intimate bar, which has 11 counter seats, a semi-private tachinomi (standing bar) area for four, and a couple of seats outside for walk-ins. The menu, which is written in Japanese on one side and English on the other, is presented Japanese side up.
Cast your eyes down the page and you’ll see everything is made from scratch here. That includes the dashi (Japanese broth) that forms the basis of many of the dishes, such as dashimaki tamago (rolled omelette) and agedashi tofu. A house-made miso might be used to marinate salmon, Wagyu, cream cheese and chicken thigh, which are then grilled. Executive chef Hideyuki Kato (who has years of experience at izakayas in Japan) also has a few favourites: scallops served in the shell with soy butter and slow-cooked duck breast; and miso-marinated cream cheese. He says the latter is the perfect accompaniment to your sake.
Luckily there’s no shortage of it here. More than 20 types from various Japanese prefectures are displayed on wooden shelves behind the counter. Presented in a traditional flask, or tokkuri, they’re served cold, hot or on the rocks, depending on the type of sake.
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