Before it moved in August to another home in Surry Hills to merge with its sister restaurant Wyno to become Bodega X Wyno, Bodega was a long-time Commonwealth Street resident loved for its modern Latin-American cuisine. Next week that space will welcome a new tenant – one that will keep that Latin-American legacy alive, but in a very different way.
Nikkei is a term for Japanese emigrants and their descendants, and the fusion of Japanese and Peruvian food that’s developed over a century. It melds Japanese techniques and flavours with Peruvian produce such as corn, potato and aji amarillo chillies.
The restaurant is owned by Jason Ang, who also runs Tokyo Bird, Osaka Trading Co and Bancho. Nikkei will be led by Lucas Cerullo David, who was most recently head chef at Osaka Trading Co. He’s bringing his Brazilian background and experience cooking Japanese izakaya-style food to a restaurant staffed by people who have worked in both Japanese and Latin-American diners.
Nikkei’s menu will be formed by share-style dishes such as ceviche and tiradito (seafood sliced sashimi-style). Other plates will blend native Peruvian vegetables such as corn, potato and tomato with locally sourced seafood and meat. The restaurant has sourced Peruvian ingredients including aji amarillo and aji rocoto chillies, huacatay (Peruvian black mint), and Andean sunrise potatoes (which have a buttery flavour).
“Nikkei cuisine’s amalgamation of Japanese flavours and techniques with Peruvian ingredients has a long history in Peru,” venue manager Marco Oshiro Giron (Osaka Trading Co, Tokyo Bird, Lucky Suzie, Black Bar & Grill), said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to adding some Latin American spice to the delicate Japanese style Sydneysiders love.”
Sommelier Phil McElroy (The Source Restaurant, Mona, Firedoor, Sokyo) has selected more than 40 wines from Australia, South America, Spain and France. They’re all linked by a coastal or maritime influence. Behind the bar will be Xander Ramirez (Tayim, Lucky Suzie, Bentley). He’s crafted a list of eight Peruvian-inspired cocktails, with flavours such as pisco, anisado, chicha morada (an Andean purple-corn drink), oregano tea and quinoa milk.
Ang says the venue will tie together Tokyo Bird’s Japanese influences and the legacy of Bodega and will seat 55 people, including 12 at a communal table made from a slab of camphor. It’ll be open for dinner from Tuesday to Saturday and Friday lunch.
Nikkei is slated to open next week.