What is your comfort food? Ice cream? Chocolate? Big bowl of pasta? For myself, whenever I’m having a difficult day, I would turn to sushi. When I received an email about this new sushi place, Soko, I was intrigued. A search on Instagram had me realise that Soko is not your typical sushi restaurant serving the usual sushi rolls, but sushi rolls re-invented.
Let me take you through the dishes I tried when I visited Soko on two occasions.
Soko is located amongst a number of Vietnamese eateries along Victoria St, and can only be identified via it’s big ‘SUSHI’ signage. It was upon closer inspection of the window signage that I realised I was at Soko!
Stepping into Soko you will notice that it’s not your typical Japanese joint where everyone yells out ‘Irashaimase!’, but a bright, minimal and ‘serene’ atmosphere. Whilst I waited for my friend, I studied their detailed three page menu, one for their ‘new world’ sushi, second for traditional japanese food like ramen and dons and the drinks list.
The first item we shared was the spicy kingfish sushi soup. It’s a beautifully plated onigiri ball covered with puffed rice and garnished with dill and served with miso soup. To eat this, we divided the onigiri up and added spoonfuls of miso soup over the onigiri. The chilli oil that’s already present in the onigiri, made this bowl of sushi soup ever so tantalising and heart warming. I also loved the addition of the puffed brown rice as it gives a lovely crunchy texture.
Spicy Kingfish Sushi Soup – Sushi Rice, Chilli Oil, Pulled Kingfish, Puffed Brown Rice, Miso Oil
Soko offers an array of ‘new world’ sushi dishes, and one of them is the much hyped sushi donut. There’s a few joints around Melbourne that offers sushi donut, all of which are beautiful, however the ones that Soko offers, is a lot more elegant. Each of the sushi donuts are made with fragrant black rice and served with different toppings. This visit, we chose the rainbow sushi donut and the ocean fruits sushi donut.
The rainbow sushi donut is topped with slices of salmon, tuna and kingfish, with thinly sliced avocados in between. It is then topped with salmon roe and piped with cream, cream cheese and wasabi. I love the fragrance that the black rice offers, and overall this rainbow sushi donut is light and fresh with added creaminess from the cream cheese.
The ocean fruits sushi donut on the other hand is topped with anchovies, cooked oysters and fresh salmon. The anchovies did overpower the delicateness of the added fresh salmon pieces. If you’re a lover of anchovies, this could be for you.
Sushi Donut – Rainbow Sushi Donut – Black Rice, salmon, tuna, kingfish, avocado, cream cheese, dill
The next two dishes are larger dishes made for sharing, but you can easily eat alone!
The gorgeous multi coloured sushi dango served with kingfish sashimi and salmon roe is a play on the traditional Japanese sweet dango which is a stick of multi coloured (green, pink and white) mochiko balls. The ‘dango’ here at Soko are naturally coloured rice balls (black, green, white and purple) that is served in a bouquet of kingfish sashimi with salmon roe placed delicately in each roll of kingfish sashimi. Visually spectacular, and equally tantalising.
Whilst I loved each and every dish I had at Soko, my favourite dish would have to be the Mille Feuille. This dish is a play on the well known French pastry, which is layers of puffed pastry and custard. At Soko, their Mille Feuille, is made up of layers of crispy puffed brown rice, salmon tartare and topped with slices of salmon sashimi and cream cheese. The textures of the crispy brown rice, the creaminess of the salmon tartare and the freshness of the salmon sashimi made it so palatable and I would definitely return to Soko for this dish alone! Highly recommended.
Sushi Mille Feuille – Black rice, salmon tartare, smoke cream cheese, crispy brown rice cracker sheet, salmon sashimi
To finish our amazing lunch at Soko, we treated ourselves with raspberry kitkat nigiri. Little balls of fragrant black rice topped with raspberry flavoured kit kat that is wrapped with nori strips.
Raspberry KitKat Dessert Nigiri – Black rice, Japanese edition raspberry kitkat, seaweed
A few weeks after my initial visit to Soko, I arranged for second visit to Soko with my girls. After long deliberation over their extensive menu, we decided to start off with two dishes:
Rocklobster crispy rice and sushi rubiks cube.
The rocklobster crispy rice was the perfect starter dish for our lunch. Crispy rice pieces topped with creamy mix of rocklobster, spicy mayo, chewy pieces of squid topped with salmon row and shredded nori.
Rocklobster Crispy Rice
Our other starter dish, is Soko’s play on the rubik’s cube with multicoloured rice cubes arranged to look like a rubies’ cube topped with freshly sliced pieces of salmon, tuna and kingfish. I love the artistic arrangement of the dish, and the flavours didn’t disappoint either. The use of the black rice added subtle fragrance to the dish.
Sushi Rubik’s Cube
Sushi Rubik’s Cube side view
As we had a tough time choosing from the menu, the lovely waitress bought over a dish for us to try. Had she not have done that, we would have missed out on this delicate and artistic dish – kingfish carpaccio. The dish is made up of thinly sliced cucumber, radish, kingfish that’s beautifully arranged and topped with mixed salad leaves, seaweed and wasabi and cucumber gelato. The wasabi was subtle in taste, however I enjoyed the refreshing taste of the cucumber. Once the gelato melted through the kingfish sashimi, cucumber and radish, it added a beautiful creamy taste without overpowering the delicateness of the kingfish sashimi.
Following our starters we shared a plate of rainbow sushi rolls and softshell crab nama harukami. The rainbow sushi roll is your typical sushi roll that you will find at a Japanese restaurant. I couldn’t find anything with to fault here.
The next dish, the soft-shell crab nama harukami, was the dish that had us interested. It’s a plate of lightly battered and fried soft shell crab served with rice paper rolls filled with shoots, jackfruit and dressed with spicy mayo and garnished with salmon roe. This dish was visually appealing, but also an interesting dish thanks to the juicy sweet pieces of jackfruit. I wasn’t sure whether I would like the addition of the jackfruit, but ended up liking it. The soft shell crab was crispy and did not taste oily at all.
Softshell Crab Nama Harukami & Rainbow Sushi Roll
Softshell Crab Nama Harukami
Rainbow Sushi Roll
We finished off on a sweet note with a sticky date sushi. Here we see the use of the fragrant black rice again, but this time used for dessert. Pieces of juicy jackfruit, Japanese red sticky dates were used as the filling for this dessert sushi roll. It is then cut into bite size pieces and topped with creamy red bean and topped with whip cream. If you’re not a sweet tooth, then this dessert would be perfect for you as I found the sweetness to be well balanced.
Sticky Date Sushi
If you’re looking for an innovative sushi joint in Richmond, I would highly recommend Soko. On both occasions I had a great experience and found all dishes be high quality and the staff to be very attentive. I would like to thank the Soko team for their hospitality and wouldn’t mind going back for a third visit!