Chanoma Cafe, Sydney


N and I bond over our mutu­al love for Japanese food, so when N stumbled across the menu at Chanoma Cafe on the Internet, we had to vis­it. And we’ve been back mul­tiple times. Chanoma Cafe is loc­ated where the old Azuma Cafe used to be.


N and I shared the Creamy Shrimp Croquette Dog, which con­sisted of a bed of shred­ded cab­bage in a soft bun, topped with a deep-fried crumbed saus­age of shrimp paste, and a gen­er­ous amount of tartare sauce, sprinkled with paprika and sea­weed. The sauce on this hot dog makes it dif­fi­cult to eat in a dig­ni­fied man­ner, and I was slightly dis­ap­poin­ted that the fried shrimp was more shrimp paste than actu­al shrimp, but on the whole, I was quite sat­is­fied with it — the sauce added a nice tangi­ness while the crumbed shrimp added a change in tex­ture. I could prob­ably do without the salad, though.

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So, I wasn’t impressed ini­tially with Chanoma Cafe’s sig­na­ture hot dogs. But! That’s because I hadn’t tried their ter­iyaki chick­en hot dog. A couple of weeks later, I saw H, and this hot dog had a gen­er­ous serving of deep fried and super juicy pieces of chick­en mar­in­ated in ter­iyaki sauce, on a bed of salad, and drizzled with may­on­naise and sea­weed shav­ings.

These were the shaked fries with soy but­ter and sea­weed, also the best fries ever. They were incred­ibly more­ish and crunchy and you could see and taste the sea­weed. They looked a bit oily when they came out, but it settled quickly, and now I’m crav­ing them just by look­ing at them!


Part of the fun of the soy and sea­weed shaked fries was that you could see the sea­weed flakes. With the was­abi shaked fries, you obvi­ously can’t — you have to eat them before find­ing out that they’re not nor­mal fries. But that’s okay, ’cause we gobble these up just as fast. The was­abi isn’t over­whelm­ing until you eat some­thing like 10 in a row, and then it starts to get to your head and your nose starts tingling and your eyes start water­ing a little.


And, the drinks. This is the azuki kur­omitsu latte. I was a bit scep­tic­al with order­ing a milk-based drink because I do not like the taste of milk, but I was pleas­antly sur­prised. It didn’t taste any­thing like milk, and even my aver­sion to whipped cream didn’t hinder my enjoy­ment of this drink at all. It’s per­fectly sweetened, with just the right amount of red bean and brown sug­ar. I often find red bean products to be quite cloy­ing, but I think this drink may cause me to rethink my rela­tion­ship with red bean!


This is the green tea frappe with whipped cream and dango. This drink made me fond of dango and think of dango as more than just taste­less balls of dough. It also made me real­ise that a frappe isn’t a milky drink, but just a blen­ded ice drink — the frappes at Starbucks just so hap­pen to all be cof­fee and hence have milk in them. The drink had just enough of the bit­ter­ness of matcha powder to remind me of green tea, but enough sweet­ness to counter it.

This is the iced yuzu matcha. Yuzu has fea­tured much more prom­in­ently in Australia in recent years — I’ve even had yuzu fla­voured Mentos chew­ing gum. Matcha by itself­has a hint of bit­ter­ness to it. But, yuzu is a sweet cit­rus, so it masks the bit­ter­ness some­what. It’s hard to describe the taste of yuzu, but it’s some­thing like a kum­quat (only it’s phys­ic­al size is a lot big­ger). I added a stick of shiratama (rice cakes) because I am addicted to their chewy tex­ture.

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And finally, dessert. This is the green tea soft serve with dango, azuki bean paste and agar jelly (left). The soft serve was prob­ably the best green tea fla­voured ice cream I’ve tried — every oth­er time I’ve been left think­ing it’s too bit­ter or too milky or both. But this was just right — it was the per­fect bal­ance of sweet­ness and bit­ter­ness and didn’t taste like milk at all. The azuki bean paste and the agar jelly added some tex­ture to the soft serve. I wasn’t too fond of the agar jelly though — I prefer my jelly to have lots of bounce. I left the dango to last, because they’re deli­ciously chewy and fun. The altern­at­ive with fruit (right) isn’t par­tic­u­larly enjoy­able as you can expect from canned fruit.

Chanoma Cafe is at Regent Place, Shop 1, 501 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000.