Rekodo, the new Japanese-inspired listening bar at Barangaroo House

The jazz kissaten, or listening bar, is a concept that emerged in post-World War II Japan as a place to drink whiskey, smoke and, most importantly, listen to records. In many listening bars, the chairs were arranged in semicircles facing the record player; some were so serious about the “listening” aspect that talking was totally forbidden.

At Rekodo, the new Japanese-inspired restaurant and vinyl bar from Matt Moran and hotel group Solotel opening tomorrow on level one of Barangaroo House, there is no code of silence. The vast room, a modernist temple dressed in traditional Japanese curtains and natural linens, is arranged around an altar-shaped DJ stage and the gigantic Klipsch La Scala speakers that frame it.

“When you hear the difference in sound [with the La Scala speakers] it’s really noticeable – crisp and clear,” said Solotel CEO Elliot Solomon. Large format. “We’re inspired by the listening bar concept, but it’s by no means a silent dining experience. We want it to be loud, fun and vibrant. You don’t just go to a restaurant or a bar and eat amazing Japanese food. You will also listen to amazing music that will sound phenomenal.

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The band has announced a curatorial program that will begin with nominated artist Aria Meg Mac, who will include music from Amy Winehouse, Dusty Springfield and local band Telenova in its set list.

Chef Paddy McDermott (ex-Pirata Group Hong Kong, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong) can’t believe it. Not only does he love serving Japanese-inspired dishes, but he also describes himself as a vinyl geek and audiophile.

“Being a music lover goes hand in hand with being a chef,” McDermott said. Large format. “We are detail-obsessed neurotics. It’s a huge win for me – I’m going to be working in the kitchen and seeing some of the best DJs in the country every night at the same time.

McDermott designed a playful menu. There’s the okonomi-temaki – a homemade hand roll with tuna belly, avocado and egg. “Okonomi means ‘do it your way,'” McDermott says. “We invite guests to make their own temaki and have a little fun at the table.”

A kingfish nori tart seems unassuming, but the familiar flavors of sushi are mixed with untraditional jalapeno and fermented rice for the funk. McDermott says the highlight of the menu is the snapper karaage – the whole fish is fried and served with a sweet and sour sauce, bean sprouts, pickled ginger and seaweed. Guests can also choose to “leave it to the chef” with two omakase options of dishes chosen by the chefs on the day.

Sake takes center stage behind the long bar. Solotel Beverage Manager Pauric Kennedy and his team have been educated by a sake samurai and will serve over 20 different types at the table, in flight or as a cocktail. The bar also houses a library of over 50 whiskies.

Regarding the upcoming vinyl schedule, which will see a new musician curate the music each month, Solomon says it won’t be aligned with any particular genre. “Once we heard about our speakers, musicians came to tell us they wanted to play here, just to hear that sound.”

The lineup will continue with synth-pop artist Donny Benét in October and dance-pop duo Lazywax in November, with more to be announced. Resident DJs including Ayebatonye, ​​Adi Toohey and the Soul of Sydney DJs will play Thursday through Sunday.

Level 1, Barangaroo House, 35 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo

Tue & Sun noon–10 p.m.
Wed to Sat noon to midnight

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