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HOT: Cocoro Japanese Pottery & Cafe, 117 Smith St, Fitzroy

P1050355v1 HOT: Cocoro Japanese Pottery & Cafe, 117 Smith St, Fitzroy

Japanese. Jazz. Tea. Pottery.

Who would have thought all those elements could work together so successfully in one place.

Cocoro is first and foremost a lovely restaurant which serves high quality Japanese food. The prime position is the leather couch by the bay window, but if you’re dining it’s probably better to sit upright in the small dining area which features a wall displaying ceramic dishes and teapots for sale. The background jazz is soothing rather than obstrusive and gives the whole place a warm and cosy vibe. I want to move in.

The menu is extensive – covering entrees, soup, salads, sashimi, sushi, fish, meat, chicken, vegetable, tofu and noodles – and the focus is on providing healthy and fresh options. I think the choices we made were perfect and highly recommended.

First up, edamame ($7) – but not as you know them. Rather than salty pops of unpodded beans, Cocoro‘s version is boiled soybeans served in a chilled dashi stock and soy sauce marinade. You  scoop out three or four at a time with a pretty carved wooden spoon which holds just a dash of stock. Really delicious and unusual.

P1050361v1 HOT: Cocoro Japanese Pottery & Cafe, 117 Smith St, Fitzroy

We then tried the tuna and salmon sashimi selection ($28). This was some of the best sashimi I’ve had in Melbourne – really fatty and silken pieces of very fresh fish, beautifully presented in a crescent dish.

P1050367v1 HOT: Cocoro Japanese Pottery & Cafe, 117 Smith St, Fitzroy

For mains we shared a huge sun-dried hokke fish fillet (mackerel), grilled butterfly style and topped with a radish and citrus ponzu sauce ($27), a superbly warming winter dish of diced beef and tofu stew simmered in soy sauce, sake and miring broth ($16) and agedashi tofu in a soy, mirin and wasabi sauce ($15), all served with white rice. They were homely yet sophisticated dishes at the same time and certainly a move away from chicken teriyaki (which does appear on the menu).

P1050379v1 HOT: Cocoro Japanese Pottery & Cafe, 117 Smith St, Fitzroy

P1050373v1 HOT: Cocoro Japanese Pottery & Cafe, 117 Smith St, Fitzroy

P1050375v1 HOT: Cocoro Japanese Pottery & Cafe, 117 Smith St, Fitzroy

As you’d expect, everything was beautifully presented in Japanese pottery dishes of varying colours, sizes and textures.

Cocoro is the kind of place that you just want to cuddle up to on an autumn day, and with such fabulous food I will definitely be returning to try out the rest of the menu.

Smith Street has so many Japanese restaurants and I’m working through them one by one. Check out my reviews of Wabi Sabi Salon , Peko Peko and Wood  Spoon Kitchen.

minilink HOT: Cocoro Japanese Pottery & Cafe, 117 Smith St, Fitzroy

pixel HOT: Cocoro Japanese Pottery & Cafe, 117 Smith St, Fitzroy

Discussion

6 comments for “HOT: Cocoro Japanese Pottery & Cafe, 117 Smith St, Fitzroy”

  1. Looks delicious! I’m definitely on a bit of a Japanese kick at the moment. I’ll keep this one in mind :-D
    .-= Esz´s last blog ..Quick figures #2 – Linework =-.

    Posted by Esz
    Twitter: kittysdrawings
    | May 20, 2010, 7:13 am
  2. Yep, I cannot rave about Cocoro enough! I can’t believe I’ve waited so long to visit. Definitely my favourite local Japanese at the moment.

    Jetsetting Joyce

    Posted by Jetsetting Joyce | May 20, 2010, 12:12 pm
  3. Mmm, I keep salivating over all the Japanese restaurants you review in Fitzroy/Collingwood. The edamane is so fascinating!

    My bus always goes by this area so I really have to get off sometime!
    .-= Ashley´s last blog ..Going into the Cabinet… =-.

    Posted by Ashley
    Twitter: squeewubs
    | May 21, 2010, 11:56 pm
  4. I love Cocoro! I’ve been dining there a couple of times a year since 2005ish. I love to go there for a special occasion. It’s so romantic and very, very delicious.

    Posted by Anna | May 23, 2010, 3:40 pm
  5. Got food poisoning from this restaurant. I am sure because me and my girl ate together and both got sick for a day. Also the fish is not so fresh. They didn’t even have tuna which made me cry.

    Posted by Warwick | July 28, 2010, 10:57 pm
    • Hi Warwick

      Oh no, did you ever tell them you got sick? I’ve eaten there several times now, with husband, parents and friends, and never had problems with the food and in fact would highly recommend it. I understand that one bad experience is enough to taint a restaurant though.

      Jetsetting Joyce

      Posted by Jetsetting Joyce | July 29, 2010, 5:37 pm

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