Bright pop art murals on the walls. Black and white street photography in the toilets. Shelves groaning under the weight of so many bottles of good wine and sake. Tsunami isn’t your run-of-the-mill suburban Japanese restaurant. Located just off Stirling Highway, this seven-day diner is owner Brett Carboni’s spirited love letter to the eating and drinking traditions of Japan.
Whole tuna is reverently handled and cut in-house, its jewel-like flesh cast as the star of vivid sashimi and nigiri sushi. Warming sukiyaki hot pots – a Japanese family favourite – are on-hand to ward off the cold weather. Chef Tetsuya Sakamoto and his team clearly have a firm grasp on the classics, yet they’re equally proficient at colouring outside of the lines, too. Juicy house-made gyoza sees the dumplings’ usual pork and cabbage filling switched out for quail while Jap-Mex tostadas freighting tuna and salmon tartare are another instance of the kitchen’s freestyle tendencies.
Although the menu offers Japanophiles myriad options for choosing-their-own food adventure, the best eating is to be found on the omakase (literally “trust the chef”) sushi and teppenyaki menus next door at Tsunami Ko. Placing your faith in the staff’s sake recommendations is an equally rewarding move. The sake selection here is Perth’s most compelling study in Japanese nihonshu (takeaway sales are available) and includes plenty of bottles that Carboni imports himself.