2018 Cuisine Restaurant of the Year winner Cocoro is described by judges as ‘An exceptional Japanese experience to treasure’.
It has been a year of accolades for the Ponsonby restaurant that has just celebrated its eighth birthday. Not only is Cocoro the winner of Cuisine Restaurant of the Year with its highest Three Hats rating, it is also in the Metro Top 50 Restaurant with also the highest rating of Five Spoons for 2018. Its success is no surprise when you consider the thoughtfulness of the menu design and the absolute beauty of the dishes presented.
Cocoro’s signature sashimi platter (pictured) uses only the highest quality seafood mostly from New Zealand, but also feature those from Japan and other parts of the world.
“Our sashimi platter highlights New Zealand’s flavour through its 25-30 different sashimi styles. It’s also the result of my15-plus years of work in New Zealand,” explains Makoto Tokuyama. The platter requires a significant amount of preparation and there’s only limited availability each day, so advanced bookings are required. The dish has proven so popular that it is often booked out two weekends in advance.
The Cuisine judges describe dining at Cocoro as a ‘faultless experience; a place with a charm, enveloping customers in calmness and serenity’. It is consistently described by those who dine there as intimate, divine and innovative. It is contemporary Japanese cuisine at its very best.
Part of what makes it so special is the careful attention the owners Makoto Tokuyama and Ricky Lee pay to every aspect of the dining experience. Everything from the selection of wines list and sourcing of ingredients are carefully thought through.
Makoto Tokuyama believes the range of New Zealand seafood is wider than most people realise, and he has always sought ways to bring a broader variety of seafood to his restaurant’s tables.
“Until a couple of years ago, the best quality seafood was sent straight to export markets,” says Makoto, who has worked hard to develop trust and relationship with a group of local New Zealand suppliers to ensure access to the best sustainable seafood for his restaurant.
“We will never have large-scale buying power, but I am proud to have contributed to making more seafood varieties available commercially to the public and chefs throughout New Zealand,” says Makoto Tokuyama.
With the busy festive season coming up, bookings are essential. This year, besides their usual trading from Tuesday to Saturday, Cocoro will open on Sunday 23 December and Christmas Eve (Monday 24 December) for dinner only. It will close from Christmas Day and reopen again on 11 January.
COCORO, 56a Brown Street, T: 09 360 0927, www.cocoro.co.nz