Dining | Paper Planes Bondi

Paper Planes is a Tokyo Pop themed establishment, drawing inspiration from the vibrant energy of Japanese Pop Culture – colourful, fun and entertaining.  If there was ever a time to embrace the light, bright Sydney summer, that time is now, and a visit to Bondi Beach’s most colourful Japanese restaurant by far is bound to put any Sydneysider and their out-of-town friends in the right frame of mind.

The décor is great, from the funky skateboards adorning the ceiling (so wonderful it got instagrammed) to the tiles on the walls made to look like origami paper.

The menu was prepared with care and creativity, and it definitely shows. There will be more than a few “oh really?” moments in your time here, and it will be an experience you’ll enjoy.

We started with Edamame Beans with Sea Salt and Chilli Salt ($6), served fresh and warm (actually one of the few times I’ve had it served to me as warm and fresh and it was). Our starting drinks were the Longview Whippet ($9) and a Ponte Pino Grigio ($9). Both were fairly smooth drinks – the perfect starter for your evening of dining, or if you just want something a little lighter to drink in warmer weather.  

We were then served a selection of Sashimi (get the mixed platter of at least 10 pieces for $25 to get more out of it), which may include salmon, snapper of sea scallop. These went exceptionally well with the wines.

We also had the King Fish Carpaccio ($15). Infused with ginger and a hint of tobiko chilli oil, it was a tad on the spicy side, which I wasn’t used to, but it was fine. Gave it a bit of a kick but certainly didn’t take away from the flavour.  

The Spicy Tuna Rolls ($14 for 6 pieces) were made with apple, togarashi chilli, mayonnaise and chives. They’re great for those summer evenings when you want something small before your big meal. They’re light, but all the flavour is still there.

My favourite entrée was the Salmon Ceviche ($16), made with coriander, mint, avocado, and lime juice, naturally. Again, there was that extra kick in there thanks to the wasabi tobiko but all the elements melted in your mouth with every spoonful. I devoured this one.

Next up was the Duck & Bamboo Shoot Gyoza ($14 for 5 pieces). The duck essence really comes through in this dish,, and it was crunchy and surprisingly light. These are also a firm favourite amongst regulars here, so you have to try them.

For something more substantial, try the Pork Belly Bun ($6.50). When the waitress came out with WET WIPES, my concern grew.  If you were on a date, you’d probably freak out. Isn’t Japanese food supposed to be delicate, and therefore ideal date food? What was served were little cushions of white rolls, filled with pork belly pieces, jalapeno mayonnaise and veggies.  If you are on a date and they can’t handle seeing you cramming a Pork Belly Bun into your pie-hole, then they don’t deserve you.

We also had the  Kushiyaki Eggplant Skewers ($6 for 2 skewers).  These are deceptive little things. They look like they’re pieces of meat on the skewers, but just as the name suggests, they are eggplant skewers.  Marinated with miso and sesame, the flavours are strong and the perfect lead-in to the mains. Again, remember to share.

For the mains, we had Braised Beef Short Ribs ($29). We were told the meat will fall right off the bone, and we were not disappointed. Soft and juicy, this was served with a side of brown rice.

Our dessert, called the Tokyo Pop Plant ($14) was served to us in a little terracotta pot. Had the kitchen staff gone bonkers?  This was created with a layer of lemon cheesecake, lemon curd, oreo crumble and popping candy. Yes, popping candy, and yes, it will pop in your mouth, if the zest of the lemon doesn’t hit you first.  This was perfectly in keeping with a restaurant whose theme surprised, amused and excited me all at once.

I left the venue absolutely stuffed, and so will you.  Paper Planes is the ideal place to bring a date, your old uni friends who hung out in the Vis Comm. blocks or your kooky Japanese flatmate.

Many menu items are suitable for vegetarians, and a wide range are served gluten free, soy free or dairy free. Chat to your waiter/waitress about your options.

By Erica Enriquez

Paper Planes
178 Campbell Parade
Bondi Beach, NSW

For more information visit www.paperplanes.com