Papi Katsu is a subterranean izakaya that wants to make you feel like you’re in Japan. It’s by the Sesh Mafia Group (Shui). 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.

The share-friendly menu is seafood heavy and leans on generous large plates and smaller snacky shares. 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. On the dessert front, find dark chocolate katsu sando with coconut and vanilla yuzu marmalade.

The space is set up especially for larger group bookings, with three bigger dining rooms and plenty of extra-large tables available. Groups are encouraged to pre-order special shared mains including bougie caviar tins, a kilo of crayfish tempura, or whole roast ducks.

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

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Updated: July 8th, 2024

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