Ready? Set? Click. And pray. This is what Monday morning is going to look like for Perth diners hoping to score a reservation during the quarterly release of bookings at Nedlands’ bento-box-sized Japanese restaurant, Marumo.
At 10am on Monday January 15, Marumo will begin accepting online bookings for reservations in March, April and May. Tables can only be booked online and rarely last longer than 15 minutes.
If past releases are anything to go by, competition for seats will be fierce, not least because this season the restaurant will be closed between March 1 and 19 as well as on March 27 and 31. Expect social media lamentations from your more food-obsessed friends if they miss out.
Admittedly this book-and-hope process can be maddening, but the reward repays the risk: chef Moe Oo’s value-packed $70 omakase (chef’s selection) offering is a seasonal seven-course romp of deft Japanese cooking that runs from elegant raw seafood, to wilder offerings such as uramaki (inside-out) sushi rolls with prawn tempura and seared salmon belly. It’s value and then some, not least because the restaurant is also BYO.
“Any advice for those trying to land a booking?” Most of the tables in the restaurant are set for twos and fours, so keeping your party size small should help your chances. Flexibility with dates is another plus: veterans will tell you to head straight for the mid-week tables and leave the arm-wrestling for in-demand weekend – and indeed, long weekend – reservations to others. And finally, have a back-up plan. Demand overwhelmingly exceeds supply at Marumo but, thankfully, Perth is home to a handful of other notable omakase dining options.
Tsunami Ko, the kappo (counter) restaurant attached to Mosman Park’s Tsunami, for one, offers a range of tasting menus and – from Tuesday to Thursday – one of the city’s better Tokyo-style sushi omakases. Just make sure you’re booking via the Tsunami Ko website rather than through the izakaya’s main site.
South of the river there’s the $60 (two days’ notice required) menu at Ichirin – intriguingly the same restaurant that Marumo started life in – while way, way, way south is Miki’s Open Kitchen, a specialist tempura restaurant in the surfing hamlet of Margaret River. Three hours of driving, admittedly, is a serious commitment for a single meal – we know of people who organise their Saturday night reservation at Miki’s before their accommodation – but for fried seafood this elegant and keenly priced (menus from $60), a long trip down the freeway mightn’t be such a silly idea.