New Japanese-Peruvian bar and restaurant: Nikkei

The team behind Tokyo Bird is excited to announce the 19 November 2019 opening of their newest venue, Nikkei Bar & Restaurant in Surry Hills.

Nikkei will offer a modern, shared style of its namesake Japanese–Peruvian cuisine, alongside a 40-strong wine list and cocktails influenced by the flavours of Peru and Japan.


“Nikkei refers to Japanese immigrants living in foreign countries,” said owner Jason Ang. “But more specifically in Peru it also refers to the food of their Japanese immigrants, which has developed over more than a century using Japanese cooking techniques and flavours with local Peruvian produce.”


Nikkei’s kitchen is headed by Lucas Cerullo David, recently head chef at Osaka Trading Co., whose Brazilian background and Japanese izakaya style will set the tone for a modern drinking and dining menu. He is joined by Justin Kim, who brings more than seven years’ experience in sushi and Japanese dining to the seafood-focused menu.


The menu features Peru’s national dish of ceviche and tiradito, a quintessential Nikkei dish where seafood is sliced in sashimi style. Larger dishes highlight vegetables native to Peru, like corn, potato and tomato, with local produce featuring in seafood and meat dishes served to share in tapas or izakaya style. “Some dishes will be familiar to Peruvians and others familiar to Japanese,” said Lucas. “But overall, we’re going for bright, delicious dishes that are fun to eat.


“The team have been excited to source Peruvian ingredients, like aji amarillo and aji rocoto chillies, huacatay Peruvian black mint, Andean Sunrise potatoes and seafood that’s common between Peru, Japan and Australia,” he said.


The restaurant will be led by industry veteran Marco Oshiro Giron as Venue Manager (previously Osaka Trading Co, Tokyo Bird, Lucky Suzie, BLACK Bar & Grill), whose Japanese–Peruvian heritage partly inspired the concept. He is joined by Group Sommelier Phil McElroy (previously at The Source Restaurant at Tasmania’s MONA, Sydney’s Firedoor and Sokyo), Reuvin Lim (previously Tayim, Tequila Mockingbird, Saké Double Bay, Cho Cho San) on the floor and Xander Ramirez (previously Tayim, Lucky Suzie, Bentley Restaurant + Bar) in the bar.


“Nikkei cuisine’s amalgamation of Japanese flavours and techniques with Peruvian ingredients has a long history in Peru,” said Marco. “We’re looking forward to adding some Latin American spice to the delicate Japanese style Sydneysiders love, with some progressive wines and cocktails to match.”


The 40+ wine list features Australian, South American, Spanish and French wines, most with a coastal, maritime influence; tying in with both Japan’s and Peru’s affinity with seafood and the sea. The eight-drink house cocktail list features uniquely Peruvian flavours including pisco, anisado, chicha morada (an Andean purple corn drink), oregano tea and quinoa milk.


The idea for Nikkei was born when the Commonwealth Street space that was home to Latin American pioneers Bodega for 13 years was offered to Jason and the team. “We were surprised but very excited to be given the space earlier this year,” said Jason, whose first venue Tokyo Bird is located around the corner on Belmore Lane.


“Tokyo Bird always had a great synergy with Bodega, since we first opened our doors about five years ago,” he said. “Guests would come for pre-dinner drinks and come back for post-dinner drinks, or yakitori and drinks if they couldn’t get in to Bodega. We hope to be able do justice to the amazing legacy that Joe, Elvis and Ben have left in Commonwealth Street.”


Of the Nikkei concept, Jason describes it as a coming together of Tokyo Bird and the legacy of Bodega. “We’re combining our Japanese approach with their Latin American legacy for something new and different in Sydney,” he said, pointing to the growing global trend for Nikkei cuisine across the US and Peru in particular.


The 55-seat venue comprises a bar entry on one side with a feature wine cabinet wall adjoining the dining room, which has an open kitchen, counter seating and a 12-seat communal table made from a slab of camphor.


Jason and his team, including wife Tina Wing Kee and brother Christopher Ang, are also owner-operators of Tokyo Bird as well as neighbouring café Sando, Tramsheds modern Japanese eatery Osaka Trading Co. and Chinatown cocktail bar Banchō.


Nikkei Bar & Restaurant will be open Tuesday to Saturday for dinner from 5pm to 10pm and Friday lunch from 12pm to 3pm.


Nikkei Bar & Restaurant

216–224 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010



Images: Bruno Stefani