Haco means ‘theatre’ in Japanese, and that’s exactly what you’ll get at Haco, from Chaco Ramen and Chaco Bar’s Keita Abe. No matter where you sit at this tiny Surry Hills tempura restaurant, you’ll see something exciting happening behind the centrepiece wraparound counter.
The practiced chefs work with deft precision, frying, prepping and serving the omakase (roughly translated as “I’ll leave it up to you”) menu in a style that borders on military. Chef and owner Abe brings a style of dining to Sydney that will be novel to the locals, but old hat for those who have experienced true Japanese eateries.
The counter – a solid block of American walnut timber – that dominates the space seats 12, and it’s here that you can sample some of the bite-sized meals on offer. In true Japanese fashion, oil is used as a seasoning as much as it is for frying, so expect fuller flavours from the sesame oil and lard used in the two deep-friers. Watch out though, the menu can change in an instant so don’t expect to get the same meal twice – unless you’re revisiting very soon.
To drink, there’s sake by the glass and a few fancier ones by the bottle. There’s also house-made umeshu and yuzushu, plus some beers by Japanese brewery Kawaba and a solid list of European white wines.