Reki Reinantha spent the last six years behind the sushi counter at Lucas Group’s Japanese restaurant Kisume. There, Reinantha, originally from Indonesia, honed his Japanese culinary skills and developed a love for the country’s dining culture.

Since leaving Kisume in October 2023, Reinantha has started izakaya pop-up Rei, kicking off with a December residency at Fitzroy’s Bonny. Then, in February, he launched Sachi, a casual pop-up concept specialising in chirashi bowls and nigiri sushi, at Kantaro Okada’s tiny sake bar, Leonie Upstairs, in Carlton.

“There’s a saying in Japanese, ‘umi no sachi’, meaning ‘treasures of the sea’,” Reinantha tells Broadsheet. “Sachi also means ‘joy’ – it’s at the core of the restaurant’s philosophy.”

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The new pop-up is a joint effort between Reinantha, who is currently jack-of-all-trades (“I’m front of house, back of house, bookkeeper, marketing, customer service – I do it all”), and chefs Jin Oon (who worked with Reinantha at Kisume) and Ida Bagus Palguna (ex-Cumulus).

Both Oon and Palguna bring fine-dining backgrounds to the table, but they share Reinantha’s vision of providing an accessible, casual setting for high-quality seafood and sushi. “I’m so inspired by how simple and casual sushi and sashimi restaurant culture is in Japan,” Reinantha says. “I want to bring that to Melbourne.”

After a successful residency at Leonie, Sachi is now in the former Shizuku Ramen space on Burwood Road, Hawthorn. It’ll stay there until October, when the team moves to a more permanent restaurant space at 179 Queen Street in the CBD, with plans for a walk-up sushi bar.

Chirashi don remains at the core of the menu: bowls of vinegar-seasoned rice with thick slabs of sashimi arranged flower-like around a cured egg-yolk heart. It’s served with seasonal tsukemono (pickles) and nori, and patrons are invited to sip a fish bone soup alongside their meal.

Beyond sushi and chirashi don, the Hawthorn pop-up also offers marlin burgers with spring onion relish, ocean trout katsu, and grilled swordfish topped with Yarra Valley caviar. The expanded menu also includes a sushi and sashimi omakase option for $150 per person.

Inspired by Leonie Upstairs – and his new friendship with Leonie’s venue manager, Sean Then – the drinks menu at the Hawthorn pop-up contains some premium bottles. Sake from producers like Noguchi Naohiko and Banjo Jozo sits alongside green tea umeshu, yuzushu and Japanese beers including Yoyogi pale ale and Kirin craft lager.

Sachi Pop-Up
64 Burwood Road, Hawthorn

Hours:
Wed to Sun 5pm–late

@sachi.melb
sachidon.univer.se