Note that for the following review, PaperPlanes was aware that I was reviewing at the time.
A few weeks ago I reviewed LL Wine & Dine in Potts Point. For those who read the review or who have been to LLW&D, PaperPlanes represents the Japanese sister of this pair of restaurants. Embracing the traditional concepts of sushi and Japanese dishes, PP ignites the dining experience with some new flavour combinations and a contemporary, exciting atmosphere.
When I think “Tokyo”, I think of vibrancy, technology, sushi and ancient culture & traditions. It’s a lot to mix in but the city makes it work and so does PaperPlanes. I arrived before opening time on Sunday to take in the sights of sushi-grade salmon being expertly sliced, the DJ unpacking his kit and cocktail shakers being prepped for another busy SushiPlanes event…
This was only the second SushiPlanes event that PP has held (see the end of the review for details about the third SushiPlanes, next weekend.
11:30AM to 4PM, $30, all you can eat sushi and other Japanese dishes. That’s the essence of SushiPlanes events at PaperPlanes.
Throw into the mix discount jugs of cocktails in one of the downright coolest interiors I’ve come across and you have the ingredients for one outstanding Sunday pick-me-up.
No matter whether you’ve abstained in anticipation, already eaten an early breakfast or have only just surfaced after a rather raucous Saturday night, SushiPlanes is an event that shouldn’t be missed. Enough about the background though, let’s enjoy the feast…
For a definite “wow I needed that” start to proceedings, my guests and I went straight to the cocktail jugs ($25 each). The Chee Chee Mule contains vodka, lychees (lots of them which I loved), lime, cinnamon and ginger beer. The Tokyo Pop was a favourite with Pimms and St Germain with lychee, lime and raspberries.
We also loved the PaperPlanes Bloody Mary which adds a dash of wasabi into the mix! We didn’t sample the final cocktail which is the Sangria-La (red, white or rose wine with sake, tequila, Bombay Sapphire gin, lychee and house made vanilla).
The staff were bountiful and always on hand for whatever we required. Service was faster than the typical à la carte weekday experience at PP so we didn’t get as much of a personal interaction with the staff but simply watching the influx of people and the amount of food being served, one can completely understand!
For next weekend’s SushiPlanes event, PP will be adding fresh juices and infused Japanese iced teas (spiked or not) to the offerings which I can only commend (the fresh juices especially as they’re a necessity for Sunday brunch).
And so began the procession of dishes from the kitchen. The staff were efficient and on-the-ball. If there’s a dish you want to skip, send them on. If there’s a dish you want again, let them know or request a docket that you can write quantities on yum cha style.
In order of appearance, the edamame was fresh and a good place to start. The salmon & avocado roll was great with a decent amount of quality salmon. A slightly smaller amount of rice would have made them more manageable for some of my guests to eat in one mouthful.
We received two plates of gyoza. The pan fried chicken gyoza and pan fried pork gyoza are both served with ponzu dipping sauce. For me, the chicken was, for me, clearly the better of the two. Vegetarian gyoza are also served.
Prawn wontons served in a way I haven’t seen before; in a chilli and vinegar broth. These were fantastic, definitely a favourite. The rice noodle casing soaked the broth up nicely. The teriyaki chicken roll is also filled with avocado, cucumber, sesame and mayonnaise. Combine so many complimentary ingredients in one tiny package and you know you have a winner.
The tempura seafood basket is served in a very cute, colourful colander and comprises of flathead, chilli salt calamari (which was stunning), prawn and mixed vegetables. The batter was lighter than I anticipated and the basket is also served with a light soy sauce and yuzu aioli (both of which were scooped empty by the end)! A completely vegetarian basket is also possible.
There was a chopstick battle between friends for the yaki soba Japanese fried noodles which have chicken and vegetables mixed through. The battle was only withdrawn from when another plate arrived!
PaperPlanes pork belly buns, my favourite of the morning. The soft bun melted in my mouth and each serving featured a decent slice of tender pork belly with jalapeno mayonnaise.
As popular were the panko whiting tacos which are also filled with Japanese coleslaw, avocado salsa and more of the jalapeno mayonnaise. The whiting was super crispy yet flaky inside and combined superbly with the other ingredients.
As soon as we tasted the spicy tuna rolls we ordered a second plate. The hit is provided by the togarashi chilli but you’ll also find green apple, mayonnaise and chives inside with toniko (roe) on top. Small but packed with flavour.
Served in a miniature skillet, the Okonomiyaki Japanese pancake represents the flavours well of this popular dish. Mixed with the omelette which traditionally contains egg, flour and cabbage you’ll find also find cuttlefish, shrimp, carrot, mayonnaise and BBQ sauce. Topped with seaweed flakes and ginger, you’ll instantly be transported to Tokyo.
Let’s finish off with a trio of dishes. The only beef dish on the menu, this donburi of teriyaki beef was topped with tender strips and shallots. Slightly sweet and very enjoyable.
A perennial favourite (in the western world anyway) is the cooked tuna and mayonnaise roll and this rendition didn’t fail to impress. Served with ginger and filled with cucumber, it was a good pallet cleanser…
as was our final dish, the tuna tataki salad which is based on mixed lettuce with capers, tomatoes and a lemon ponzu dressing. This is all topped with ever so slightly seared, sesame crusted tuna strips. Light and a fantastic blend of textures.
There were some dishes I didn’t get to try and some that I did but have held back from the review. They will simply have to be part of your own PaperPlanes adventure.
Just as LL Wine & Dine does with China, PaperPlanes takes the best elements of the food, beers, cocktails and cultural influences of Japan and fuses them into a perfect visual, taste and olfactory extravaganza.
The Sunday SushiPlane events are extremely enjoyable when shared so I can only encourage you to gather friends and family for one amazing Sunday treat.
Clear your calendars because the third SushiPlanes is on next weekend Sunday 8th June with live music supplied by Myall High.
Bookings can be made for groups of eight or more people: 9300 0673
Overall Rating: 21.5/25
Website: http://www.paperplanesbondi.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/PaperPlanesBondi
Phone: 9300 0673
Address: Shop 15, 178 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach, 2026
Payment Options: Credit cards, EFTPOS, cash
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