Spe­cialised Ja­panese

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.

Qantas - - QSPIRIT. - Story by KEN­DALL HILL

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

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