If you’ve never been to Tokyo, there’s a fun way to feel just like you have. Enter through the bullet-sprayed roller doors to Bang Bang Izakaya, Steam Mill Lane’s new street-style eatery — locked and loaded with Japanese food, drinks, and delights.
You’ll walk into a neon-lit open kitchen and bar, with energetic ambience, and uber-friendly waitstaff. From the bar to the bathroom, the furnishings are chrome and bright, and the vibe is fun and futuristic.
Reminiscent of Tokyo’s gritty Shinjuku district, the street-front shows a traditional yatai stall — while deeper inside you’ll find a glass karaoke room, and wall of assorted vending machines. I even spied a traditional Tatami (floor-seating) dining area hidden toward the back.
The Bang Bang bar features a lengthy list of Japanese and international whiskies, sake, cocktails, beers and wines. My guest and I started with a Suntory Whiskey Highball, and the too-cute Citrus Bombard cocktail, served in a serrated orange, and infused with Japanese Shochu. For starters, we enjoyed the most mouthwatering Kingfish Carpaccio, drizzled with yuzu ceviche dressing, and coconut cream. It was served on a mirror-finish aluminium plate, and tasted just as pretty as it presented.
Next we sampled the semi-dried cuttlefish from the Robata BBQ menu — grilled to perfection and served with spicy aioli. Afterwards we worked through a mega-sized box of twice-fried freshly crumbed Pork cutlets, enjoyed with a house-made sauce in a shot-glass. Dinner just wouldn’t be right without ample amounts of sushi. We picked the classic Spider Roll, full of tempura’d soft shell crab, spicy mayo and avocado. A crowd favourite.
As a nightcap we ordered a cocktail each: the Outrage Royal (Bang Bang’s take on a classic Old Fashioned), and the Harajuku Fairy — complete with vodka, lychee purée, and garnished with fairy floss. It was an absolute treat. We watched on as a large group next to us shared a selection of their “Otakuastic” cocktails — served in a one-litre butler pump for a guaranteed good time.
The incredible thing about the food and drinks at Bang Bang is that they have both looks, and personality. Just like the restaurant’s interior decor, the chefs have been sure to put quirky details into every dish.
“We want Bang Bang to deliver a taste of Tokyo’s past and present,” says Head of Operations Ayako Sugimura. “We’ve woven traditional elements like the yatai stand, which is where for decades locals in Tokyo have pulled up a stool to devour a bowl of hot ramen, through to the modern-day karaoke box, which is very much Tokyo right now. In food and drink, old-school teriyaki chicken sits alongside the more modern carbonara udon. The team had a lot of fun immersing themselves in the street culture of Tokyo’s vibrant alleyways, in order to bring that to life here at Bang Bang.”
I am so excited by an authentic Japanese experience like this being introduced to Sydney, located right between Darling Harbour and Haymarket. Whether it be gathering on the floor mats in a private room, perched along the stools behind the bar, or belting classics in the Karaoke box — it’s sure to be a place you’ll want to bring all your friends along for a fun feed, that ends with a Bang Bang.
Jill is a Sydney-based journalist, who is slowly getting better at eating with chopsticks. Follow her on Instagram.
Bang Bang is open for lunch and dinner. To find out more, visit their Website.