The Empty Plate: The omakase trend

Omakase is to not be confused with OsmoLax. One is a refined Japanese banquet through which the chef will serve you a collection of small, handmade dishes that showcase method, talent, expertise, texture, creativeness, freshness and seasonality. The different is a product that relieves constipation by … by no means thoughts, let’s simply stick with omakase.

Credit:Drew Aitken

The most charming definition of omakase is, “I will respectfully leave it to you to decide what’s best”, which additionally means leaving your preconceptions and ordinary orders on the door as in the event that they had been footwear at a temple.

In reality, an ideal omakase joint is much like a spot of worship. You sit at an altar (counter) in celebration (of fine meals), and it’s a must to pay a tithe of 10 per cent of your revenue. Or thereabouts. It’s not an inexpensive night time.

For a eating motion through which solely eight to 12 friends are served at a time, omakase is among the largest traits we’ve seen in Australian eating in a decade, with the dear seats typically booked six months upfront.

In reality, an ideal omakase joint is much like a spot of worship.

I at all times felt omakase was a membership to which I may by no means belong, its secret rituals as mysterious as Masonic handshakes. Ironically, nonetheless, with extra omakase eating places springing as much as meet demand, the expertise is changing into extra accessible.

Some experiences are formal and serene, like Minamishima in Melbourne’s Richmond. Others are tiny diners like Kisuke in Sydney’s Potts Point and Hideaki Fukada’s Kuon in Darling Square. Chase Kojima’s Senpai in Chatswood specialises in ramen amid music and neon, whereas specialist tempura omakase is on the rise at Tempura Hajime in South Melbourne and Haco in Surry Hills.


One of probably the most bold is Yoshii’s Omakase, an unique, 10-seat counter in a nook of Barangaroo’s Nobu overseen by veteran sushi chef Ryuichi Yoshii. For $350 per particular person, the 16 programs may embody lobster wrapped in child whiting, or expertly chiselled uncooked squid harking back to Lalique crystal. Another is Warabi at Melbourne’s new W Hotel the place, for $245 per particular person, the standard dashi broth is as thrilling because the high-status caviar, gold leaf and wagyu.

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