Monday, February 19, 2007


Koko is a fairly high class Japanese restaurant located on level 3 in the Crown Casino Complex. On Saturday, Kin, Jo, Paul and I decided to treat ourselves to a special meal there since it was Chinese New Year.

We got there at exactly 6pm since initially we were told the booking was for an hour and a half. I felt this was a little disappointing, but it turned out they did not try to push us out the door.

As an aside, here is Kin, myself and Jo sitting outside waiting to go into the restaurant. It looks like we purposefully posed for this photo like a fashion ad, but we were really just sitting there talking. It just shows you that the natural photos are the best. I really like this photo.

We were seated in a table that was a bit far from the stunning water feature pond in the centre of the room and the window views. However, it was still comfortable, with the lighting just right, not too dark but still with some ambience. The plates and cultery were quite nice, with only the embossed paper place mats a bit out of tune with everything else.

Upon being seated, we were offered a drinks menu. We decided on the Umeshu, which at $43 for a bottle was on the low scale compared to all the other wines. It was a plum type wine, which was delicously sweet at the start, but got a bit too much at the end of the meal.

For entrees, we ordered the Chinese New Year special of Oyster Miso Yaki, which was a beautifully presented set of oysters on a bed of rock salt. The oysters were covered in a mustard miso sauce with "Fat Choi" black moss mixed in. The flavours were rich and very interesting. I quite liked it.

The Wagyu Sashimi was thinly sliced wagyu beef seared on the outside. The sauce was a sharp soy type sauce. The beef layed on a bed of thinly sliced onion. Eaten all in a mouthful, the textures and flavours were perfect. I always love the yukke at most Japanese restaurants, but this beef was even nicer.

The tuna tataki was also a special for Chinese New Year. It was similar to the Waygu Sashimi in that the sauce was also a tangy sauce, but slightly different. The tuna was quite firm and seared as well. It too tasted good, but I liked the texture and flavours of the beef more.

For our sushi and sashimi order, we firstly got the Chef's Special Sashimi Platter. My favourite sashimi was the squid and this white fish, which had a very firm texture and strong flavours. The seafood was extremely fresh and flavoursome. I forgot to ask what types of fish they were though, must do that next time.

For the sushi, we got the Koko Special. The colours were stunning, and so was the flavours. The rice had just enough vinegar in it, and had a fairly firm texture without being dry and clumpy. My favourite sushi from this platter were the fish roe roll. The little red roes just burst in my mouth and filled it with flavour.

The final sushi dish we got was the Spider Roll, which was filled with crispy soft shell crab. This was the best dish of the night in my opinion, just edging out the Waygu Sashimi. The flavours in this roll worked so well together, with each bite producing so many sensations in the mouth, the crispyness of the skin and crab, the softness of the avocado, the slightly chewiness of the nori and rice.

For mains, we got the Gyuniku Sanshoku, which is beef cooked three ways. The pan fried beef with a similar miso mustard sauce to the oysters was good. The teriyaki beef rolls with aspargus had its own nice flavour. The braised beef belly was a bit plain and was probably the only disappointment of the whole night.

The Kaisen Yaki Udon was stir fried udon with seafood and vegetables. It was better than other seafood udon I've had, but still not something I would order for myself normally.

The last savoury dish of the night was the Ten Zaru Sumi Udon, cold charcaol noodle served with tempura sweet potato. This dish was again magnificently presented, but again its not something I would order. The noodles are nice enough with the sauce, but not something you would eat for a mains by itself. It worked well at the very end of the meal to help clear the palette a bit.

With just enough space to share a couple of desserts, we got the Triple Chocolate Box. The chocolate ice cream wasn't good. The chocolate pudding with white chocolate sauce was rich and quite good. My favourite though was the panacotta with chocolate crisps inside. Very interesting mix of texture and flavours. The berry sauce just made it all the more interesting.

The last dessert was the Mach Crepes, green tea crepes. The crepes were not made of green tea but instead had a hot green tea filling. That part was ok but the highlight was the ice cream accompanying it. The ice cream tasted like it was Rafaello chocolate balls crushed up and mixed with vanilla ice cream. It was totally addictive as I love Rafaello's normally but they tasted even better in this ice cream.

The service throughout the night was top class. Our plates were changed regularly, especially when going from entrees to eating sashimi where you want a clean plate so other flavours don't contaminate the sashimi. Our waitress was very attentive, regularly filling up our tea pot and wine glasses. She also made sure we knew what the progress of the dishes were and remembered every request we made. I guess when you want quality service, you have to pay for it.

Overall, it was a fantastic meal. The atmosphere was great, the conversations were interesting, and the food was very good. There weren't a whole lot of WOW dishes in terms of original mixtures of food, but everything was done to a very high standard, both in presentation and flavours. I loved the spider roll and the waygu sashimi the best and recommend you try them. I would definitely go back to Koko for another meal, but due to its fairly high price, about $100 each including wine, I don't think I will have to opportunity to go back too regularly. However, it is great for special occasions or just when you want to indulge yourself in some fine dining.

Overall Rating: 17/20, Everything was great.

Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20: Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.

Koko on Urbanspoon


  1. Oh wow

    I'm eating at that place everyday for lunch and dinner

    I finish work my shifts at Maccas at around 5pm so I should be ablt to make it.

  2. Anonymous, you'll have to serve a lot of fries to constantly be able to eat at Koko. Good luck with it though. :-)

  3. This place is great!!
    My dad owns this place so I get to eat there for 10% off.