With a raw bar set prominently in the centre of the room, it’s no surprise that sushi and sashimi are some of the best reasons to visit Raku, an elegant Japanese fine diner in the heart of Civic.

Sit at the counter and watch the masters at work, deftly slicing raw seafood, hand-shaping nigiri and occasionally brandishing a blowtorch to sear fatty slices of tuna and salmon belly. Behind them is a robata charcoal grill, lined with skewers of chicken thigh yakitori and hunks of high-grade Wagyu beef.

The menu is extensive, featuring tempura, raw and hot items, plus entire sections devoted to vegetables and seafood. Also, there’s an emphasis on premium produce: the luxe signature nigiri range might see Taiwanese eel lashed with foie gras butter and imported Hokkaido scallops paired with truffles. While the sheer variety can be intimidating, there are multiple set menus to help narrow your choices, from an express lunch to a degustation by head chef, Hao Chen.

As well as a broad wine selection spanning Europe and Australia, there are more than 20 sakes available by the glass and a range of Japanese whiskies and Australian gins. The lengthy cocktail list is designed to complement the food, with Japanese ingredients such as yuzu and shiso featuring heavily.

Raku is named after the Japanese art form, where hand-crafted ceramics are fired in a kiln and left to cool in the elements, resulting in unpredictable shapes and textures. That philosophy speaks to the elegance of the space, with blond timber accents and moody lighting throughout.

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Updated: June 24th, 2022

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