The new subterranean izakaya from the Sesh Mafia Group (Shui) has locals scrambling for a booking – and with good reason.

“Traditionally in Japan, a lot of venues are sort of under buildings and not in open spaces,” culinary director Chase Weber tells Broadsheet. “So, we really tried to create a similar underground spot in Perth that’s welcoming, warm and fun.”

The expansive restaurant is dimly lit with a fit-out inspired by Japanese designs. It’s one part neon dream and another part modernist chic with wooden furnishings and low booth seating.

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“We want this to be a place where people come after a long day to blow off steam and enjoy themselves,” says Weber. “It’s designed for people to share food and drinks and just have a good time.”

The menu is seafood heavy and leans on generous large plates and smaller snacky shares.

“We’ve got some interesting products on there,” says Weber. “We’re using fresh, local seafood, including Cambinata yabby, which I haven’t seen on many menus in Perth.”

The hiramasa kingfish – wrapped in radish, dressed in green garlic oil and sesame, then finished at the table with smoked soy ponzu and served alongside a little teapot full of smoke – is the chef’s favourite. Serious mains like slow-roasted short rib with sukiyaki sauce, ginger and scallion sit alongside smaller dishes like nigiri plates, oysters and temaki.

Groups are encouraged to pre-order special shared mains including bougie caviar tins, a kilo of crayfish tempura, or whole roast ducks.

“We can cater to larger group bookings, which is, I think, not something many venues have the space to offer,” Weber says. “We’ve got three large-sized dining rooms and a lot of extra-large tables to fit big groups.”

On the dessert front, the dark chocolate katsu sando with coconut and vanilla yuzu marmalade is vibrant and fresh.

An extensive drinks list includes sake and fruit liqueur (including a string of imported drops), fruity spritzes and highballs, and three takes on the classic Martini. Signature drinks include the Papi Slipper, its take on the Japanese Slipper with yellow chartreuse instead of an orange liqueur. The beer offering includes Japanese labels Kirin, Sapporo and Yebisu, as well as homegrown brews including Margaret River Beer Co, Swan Draught on tap and Beerfarm. Katsu’s extensive wine list is enough to impress any CBD diner.

Papi Katsu
125 St Georges Terrace, Perth
(08) 6255 9889

Hours:
Mon to Fri 11am–2.30pm, 5pm–11pm
Sat 5pm–11pm
Sun closed

www.papikatsu.com/
@papi.katsu