Rather than trying to be a jack of all food styles, these eateries strive to be a master of one, whether it’s ramen, sushi or soba.
001 MINAMISHIMA, MELBOURNE
Koichi Minamishima toiled for two years washing rice at a neighbourhood sushi-ya in Nagoya before being elevated to the kitchen brigade. Now, at Minamishima (minamishima. com.au), his eponymous restaurant in Richmond, he devotes himself to creating perfect sushi with morsels of rice and seafood (including toro, sea eel and uni imported from Japan) for diners at the prized bar seats.
002 Hakata Gensuke, Melbourne
The queues outside ramen specialty restaurant Hakata Gensuke (gensuke.com. au), on Chinatown’s fringes, testify to Kousuke Yoshimura’s 12-hour tonkotsu (pork bone) stock, perfected in his native Fukuoka. The chef’s Australian outlets — four in Melbourne and one in Perth — use only local ingredients (except the special soy sauce). Each lucky chef is required to eat a bowl of ramen daily to ensure the impeccable standards.
003 RAITA NODA, SYDNEY
At Raita Noda (raitanoda.com. au) in Surry Hills, a tiny eightseater seemingly straight out of Tokyo, master chef Raita and his apprentice, son Momotaro, craft an omakase dégustation of 10 surprise courses with optional matched sakes and wines.
004 SHIMBASHI SOBA & SAKI BAR, MELBOURNE
Making great noodles is a labour of love – you just have to ask Taka Kumayama of Shimbashi Soba & Saki Bar (shimbashisoba melbourne.net). He grinds 20 to 30 kilograms of Tasmanian buckwheat a day and spends another three to four hours hand-cutting soba – a skill he spent three years learning in Japan – to satisfy the crowds hankering for his exceptional noodle soups.
005 TEN, GOLD COAST
Ten at Broadbeach (teppanten. com.au) combines Gold Coast glamour with consummate Japanese cuisine in a high-end omakase course that needs at least 24 hours notice to prepare and might feature melting fillets of 72-hour miso-marinated black cod and prime cuts of Wagyu beef.
006 SHO, ADELAIDE
The little sister of Adelaide’s acclaimed ShŌbŌshŌ, eightseater ShŌ (shobosho.com. au) opened earlier this year on the street level of the same building to serve authentic yakitori for a select audience seated around the horseshoe grill. Chef Adam Liston turns organic South Australian chickens into multi-course yakitori skewers. Try the offal-infused tsukune.
Black tonkotsu ramen at Hakata Gensuke