Chanoma Cafe, Sydney

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It’s been a while, Chanoma Cafe. Over a whole year has gone by since my last vis­it (thank you, George Street clos­ures!). And so much has changed at Regent Place, but Chanoma Cafe still looks the same with its ever trendy wooden interi­or and splash of green.

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Its menu (click to enlarge), though, has under­gone an over­haul. Old favour­ites are still there, like the matcha based drinks and desserts, but they’ve now added spe­cial lattes and kakigori for the sum­mer months as well as monthly spe­cials like matcha octopus fries with yuzu mayo or matcha cheese chips.

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To sat­is­fy my dango crav­ing, I revis­it the Japanese Dango ($5.00), two skew­ers of dango, with anko and kinako powder. I’d prefer if they grilled the dango longer so that they’re more golden brown and crispy on the out­side, rather than just gooey without the deli­cious toasty fla­vour. That said, the anko goes well in provid­ing fla­vour, tex­ture and sweet­ness, while the kinako adds a pleas­ant nuttiness.

And now for the many drinks –

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With ever the soft spot for black ses­ame, here’s the Black Sesame Soy Latte (hot) ($6.50). There’s a very good black ses­ame smell and fla­vour that reminds me of the 100% organ­ic black ses­ame paste I found at TokyoMart in Northbridge. It’s creamy, lightly sweetened using con­densed milk with an enjoy­able lay­er of foam. It comes in only one size equal to that of a large cof­fee cup, which I found to be a bit much for one sit­ting, although I’d have expec­ted no less for the price. So, per­haps a reg­u­lar size for a lower price?

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N goes for their sea­son­al item for spring, the Sakura Float ($6.80, +$1.50 for a skew­er of shiratama dango), a milk frappe with half azuki and half matcha, topped with soft serve with half azuki and half matcha. It’s not some­thing entirely new, being a com­bin­a­tion of two exist­ing items on their menu, but deli­cious all the same.

With a crav­ing for a good matcha, I try their Iced Matcha ($5.00). This is unsweetened, although sug­ar syr­up is avail­able upon request. Its fla­vour is bright with nat­ur­al sweet­ness and depth, and a pleas­ant hint of astrin­gency at the end of each sip.

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And this is the Honey Yuzu Frappe ($6.50). Initially, N and I were turned off yuzu fla­voured drinks at Chanoma after see­ing them squeeze gen­er­ic brand lem­on juice into our hot yuzun­ade, but it’s been over a year since so we’re will­ing to give it anoth­er go. While this frappe also has a lem­on-cit­rus fla­vour to it, we can taste the slight sharp­ness from the yuzu. It’s sweetened with honey, though, so it would’ve masked the sweeter yuzu fla­vours, but non­ethe­less an enjoy­able and refresh­ing drink.

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Now for some more dra­mat­ic dessert! What deli­cious­ness does that white cloud hide?

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For some time dur­ing late 2016, Chanoma brought out these Matcha x Wasabi Fries ($7.90). The fries and soft serve sit in a cup slot­ted into the top half of one of a frappe cup that’s filled with liquid nitro­gen mostly for dra­mat­ic effect and per­haps more prac­tic­ally, to keep the ice cream from melt­ing amidst the hot fries. I’d have enjoyed more fries to dip into the soft serve.

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The chips are fried until their extra crispy before seasoned with was­abi and sea­weed. After my pleas­ant exper­i­ence with Wasabi KitKat by Nestle Japan, I’ve no doubt that was­abi can work as a dessert. Here, the was­abi adds pleas­ant spurts of spicy heat that pares well with the crispi­ness and salt­i­ness of the chips and the sweet­ness of the cold matcha soft serve, which is pleas­antly bold in matcha fla­vour and restrained in its dairy notes. I find the spicy heat in was­abi to be enjoy­able as it dis­sip­ates quickly so that every bite remains pleas­ant, which is unlike the numb­ing heat from chilli that lingers and builds with every bite.

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After the smoke dis­sip­ates, we’re left with a cyl­indric­al slab of ice at the base of the cup.

These vis­its reminded of just how much I enjoy Chanoma Cafe. After a year, it’s still one of my favour­ite cafes.

Chanoma Café is loc­ated at Shop 1, Regent Place Arcade, 501 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000.