Mu Omakase is the first restaurant of its kind in Canberra, where diners are served a seasonal degustation of precise Japanese dishes in an intimate, counter-style setting. Literally meaning “I leave it up to you”, omakase is a pillar of Japanese dining culture, placing heavy emphasis on technique and market-best seafood. Mu is exemplary in many ways, but it’s also putting a contemporary spin on the form.
The low-lit space revolves around the central wooden bar, big enough to seat a dozen guests. Behind it, chefs prepare and serve around 10 courses hinging on seasonal produce, with plenty of seafood in the mix. When Broadsheet visits, there were Hokkaido scallops with XO, and toothfish with miso and Davidson’s plum. Also, robata-grilled quail glazed with juniper butter and Cantonese master stock.
Mu is also serious about sake. For first-time drinkers, there’s a short, approachable list available in 100- or 200-millilitre serves. For those chasing something more advanced, there’s a longer list available on request. Similarly, the wine list includes a short selection by the glass and a wider range by the bottle featuring Japanese winemakers such as Yamanashi de Grace.
The entry point to Mu Omakase is through Cicada Bar, also by the Chairman Group (Lanterne Rooms, Chairman & Yip. Here you’ll find cocktails with a Japanese twist, served in a moody interior lined with old Japanese movie posters that nod to the Canberra Theatre nearby. Even if you’re not doing dinner at Mu, Cicada is still a great pre-show stop.