Anticipated Japanese omakase restaurant and bar TakashiYa opens at Emporium Hotel South Bank
If there’s one culinary adventure that everyone should embark upon once in their lives, it’s an omakase feast. This lauded fixture of Japanese fine dining is hailed as the cuisine’s luxurious peak, where master chefs utilise razor-sharp skills to craft mouthfuls almost too perfect to eat. TakashiYa is a brand-new restaurant and bar that specialises in this exquisite form of gastronomy. Overseen by Takashi Nami – a chef known across town as one of the deftest hands at slicing sashimi, crafting nigiri and other technical wizardry – TakashiYa is looking to ignite a local passion for omakase-style fare, fanning the flames with delicate flavours, fresh ingredients and more than a touch of showmanship. Read on to find out what’s on offer …
Five years ago you’d be hard pressed to find authentic omakase dining in Brisbane, barring the odd service at one or two established restaurants. Eagle Street eatery Saké has long boasted an omakase-style offering, while Sono in Hamilton is also known for its tasting menu of delicate sashimi, nigiri and other assorted morsels. Things look quite different these days, with an influx of small and intimate restaurants (think Joy in Fortitude Valley, Butterfly in Woolloongabba and Tenya in The City) offering epicurean experiences that closely resemble the artfully planned and orchestrated odyssey that is omakase. Those in the know will point to Hokkaido-born chef Takashi Nami as one of the main proponents of omakase dining in Brisbane – a champion of the dining style with skills honed over a 40-year career. After stints working across Brisbane’s finest Japanese restaurants, the heralded chef broke out on his own in 2019, opening 12-seat sushi degustation restaurant Shishou on Brunswick Street in Fortitude Valley. Although short lived, the concept was widely regarded by many foodies as the best representation of omakase- and kappo-style dining Brisbane had seen to date, with chef Takashi building a fanbase off the quality of his product and his warm personality. Takashi pivoted into the realm of private dining throughout 2020, taking over home kitchens across town to serve carefully crafted morsels to degustation-loving die-hards, all while simultaneously searching for a site to establish a new omakase restaurant. That journey reached its destination on Sunday September 5 when Takashi opened the doors to TakashiYa, his namesake omakase restaurant, casual eatery and whisky and sake bar situated at the base of Emporium Hotel South Bank.
TakashiYa is a much more multifaceted venture when compared to Shishou’s straightforward single-room layout. Here, the format is designed to not only accommodate a quintessential omakase experience but also cater to those unfamiliar with this particular aspect of Japanese fine dining, giving them a chance to sample elements of the menu without committing to a multi-course affair. Guests are greeted upon entry by the 24-seater casual bar area – a colour-soaked space featuring
Beyond the bar towards the rear of the venue sits TakashiYa’s 12-seat private omakase room – the restaurant’s beating heart. Minimal and chic in contrast to the colour-soaked bar space, the white and blonde-timber palette serves to draw attention to the action-packed prep area and picture-perfect product plated before you. Here chef Takashi and his team of chefs flex their culinary muscle, crafting a premium procession of dishes ranging from one-bite tasters and fresh sashimi to flavour-rich soups and hand-sliced, assembled and presented nigiri. The multi-course indulgence, in which you place control of your taste buds in Takashi’s capable hands, is the opulent pinnacle of Japanese cuisine. Local and imported ingredients at their seasonal peak are utilised in ingenious ways, with traditional techniques bringing out the best flavours, textures and aromas to tantalise sensory receptors. A course of melt-in-your-mouth sashimi is followed quickly by glazed toothfish, which falls apart at the touch of a chopstick. Moreton Bay bug and uni isobe-age sit in a delicate pool of slurp-worthy broth, while spanner crab-infused tamagoyaki (a form of omelette) is coated in flakes of shaved West Australian truffle (Takashi plucks these jewels from within a special Louis Vuitton chest). Soon the dishes start coming thick and fast – West Australian scampi and uni nigiri is backed up by a flame-torched aburi Hokkaido scallop nori hand roll, which is then followed by a trio of nigiri focusing on the most prized portions of bluefin tuna (the meaty akami, tender chutoro and deliciously fatty otoro) served with a dollop of nose-filling wasabi sourced from a commercial farm in Tasmania. Finally, chef Takashi pulls out the torch once more for his signature dish – Kagoshima A5 wagyu and foie gras aburi nigiri that is coated in truffle flakes for an extra boost of umami. A final duo of dishes – scampi-infused miso soup and matcha nama chocolate – ease you out of gastronomic ecstasy and back to reality, leaving an indelible memory you’ll be recounting for years.
TakashiYa is now open to the public. Head to the Stumble Guide for operating hours, contact information and booking details.
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