Chiaki is by Alicia Feng (Calere), Mo Zhou (Gaea) and Kantaro Okada (Hareruya Pantry, Leonie Upstairs, Le Bajo Milkbar, 279). Mornings here are for coffee and ochazuke – a Japanese dish that sees a broth traditionally made with tea poured over a bowl of rice and toppings. Here, they swap out the tea for a dashi-based broth with chicken stock, roasted sardines and prosciutto. Coffee comes from Five Senses, with owners also sourcing from guest roasters in China and Japan. The team imports Japanese tea such as sencha, hojicha and genmaicha.

When the sun goes down, Chiaki transforms into an izakaya inspired by Australian wine bars. Its evening menu includes snacks and small plates such as savoury shiso leaf madeleines; oysters with mirin dressing; Wagyu tartare with tuna mayo; whipped salmon and cod roe on shokupan; and potato salad with jalapeno, prawn and potato crisps. While bigger dishes include barramundi with mussels cooked in sake; and pork scotch fillet with a mushroom dan dan sauce.

Although beer and wine are available, most of Chiaki’s drinks list is taken up by sake. You can order them neat, with the menu moving from approachable light and fruity styles to more complex and full-bodied bottles for the seasoned sake drinker.

All the cocktails are sake-based too, like the Natsu with banana cognac, junmai sake, fig leaf cordial and shio koji caramel. The Oden is a take on the Bloody Mary, using strawberry sake, tomato water, cordial, Cocchi Americano and chilli tincture, while the Kasumi highball lets the flavours of Roman Junmai Ginjo sake shine through.

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Updated: October 3rd, 2023

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