Sydney's cheap eat scene recently welcomed the addition of Chanoma Cafe to Regent Place (where Azuma Patisserie used to be). Matcha green tea is the focus of the menu here - there's green tea soft serve ice-cream, green tea lattes, green tea frappes, green tea espressos and a range of quirky parfaits that are very photogenic on Instagram ;)
Matcha drinks range from $4.90 to $6.90. The iced yuzu green tea ($5.50) is straight iced green tea with yuzu juice, a Japanese citrus I absolutely adore. Ask for your sugar syrup on the side so you can control the sweetness.
Chanoma is designed like a fast food restaurant so don't be surprised that your hot beverage is served in a takeaway coffee cup even if you're dining in. The matcha cappuccino ($4.50) is beautifully frothy and smooth but it's disappointingly small for it's price.
Although not obvious on the menu, the shaked chips ($4.40), which make a tiny appearance on the bottom corner (whereas over two thirds of the menu are beverages), are a must-order. Reminiscent of Maccas' shaker fries, these are available in distinctively Japanese flavours such as wasabi, teriyaki, soy butter & dried seaweed (the best!) and chilli & garlic.
The matcha shiratam parfait ($9.50) is matcha soft ice-cream with rice cakes, sweet red bean paste, Pocky chocolate biscuit sticks, cornflakes, fruit, whipped cream and green tea syrup! The presentation looks like child's play in an appetising sort of way. I envy the cook who gets to make these all day, I'd love to dunk green tea ice-cream cones upside down into a cocktail of Japanese sweets and watch it ooze everywhere; maybe Chanoma should introduce a DIY version!
I return a week later with a strong hankering for the Japa-dogs, a North American fusion Japanese trend that consists of hot dogs with Japanese toppings.
The hot dog buns are soft and fuffy with a slight bite, they're much nicer than the standard flimsy hot dog buns. The spicy meat lovers dog ($5.50) is a choice of Slovenia kransky, German blutwurst or Spanish chorizo with spicy miso pork mince, white beans and mayo; and the tonkatsu dog ($6.20) is a Slovenia kransky wrapped with ham and deep-fried with a panko breadcrumb crust.
They're a little small for dinner, but with a drink and a side of chips each, we make a meal out of it.
Although... Tenkomori is only just next door. Japadog for starters, ramen for mains, then back to Chanoma for dessert?
Regent Place, 501 George Street, Sydney NSW
Phone: (02) 9767 5465