Sydney’s Japanese dining scene is continuously reaching ever-greater heights. And pre-lockdown the city was treated to a spate of new Japanese diners, each very different from the others – and all places we’d like to spend a lot of time at once we’re allowed. Here’s five newbies doing takeaway – from boxes flush with sashimi to a pint-sized omakase eatery doing 13-piece platters you have to order via text message, and an all-you-can-eat Japanese barbeque diner offering barbeque-at-home sets and bento boxes
Simulation Senpai, Haymarket
Chase Kojima has been showing Sydneysiders the multiple dimensions of Japanese cuisine for some time now – from sophisticated Sokyo in The Star to cult sushi burgers at Gojima (with which he is no longer involved) and Japanese adaptations of Chinese dishes at Chuuka. His latest venture is Simulation Senpai, in Darling Square’s sexy spiral Exchange building. There, it’s all about super-fresh sashimi and chirashi (sushi rice topped with sashimi). It’s been open throughout lockdown. Pop by for the 15-piece hosekibako (jewel box), which might include bonito, tuna, uni (sea urchin), scallops, salmon belly and ikura (salmon roe), depending on what catches Kojima’s eye at the markets that morning.
“It’s the treasure box from the sea,” Kojima tells Broadsheet. “I personally hand-pick fresh fish and seafood of the day in one box, with lots of my secret garnishes and sauces.”
You can also grab zenbu don (12 slices of tuna of varying fattiness served over rice); tuna and salmon sashimi platters; and seared Wagyu with sea urchin and “secret” egg sauce, served over sushi rice.
Order here or in person for pick-up.
Kisuke, Potts Point
It’s hard to get a seat at Kisuke – it’s only got six of them. Punters wait months for their chance to dine at this omakase restaurant run by Yusuke Morita, whose loyal diners have followed him from venue to venue for almost 30 years. But if you’re quick during lockdown, there’s a way around the waitlist: it’s doing sushi-box deliveries (but, like its seats, there’s only a limited number available each week). What’s included in the 13-piece, $65 box is entirely up to Morita, depending on what he reckons looks good on any given day. And while you won’t get the full omakase experience of watching Morita work his magic behind the counter at Kisuke, it’ll be a taste of what’s to come when you finally make it to the top of that waitlist.
Kisuke currently delivers to a different area each week (this week it’s the north shore and northern beaches). Follow on Instagram for delivery areas and instructions on how to order.
It’s hard to replicate the all-you-can-eat model for takeaway. But that’s no reason to stop you from ordering a meal from Rengaya, which usually serves an $88 yakiniku (grilled meat) buffet menu. Of particular note is the luxe Wagyu Sushi Bento Box – it’s loaded up with multiple pieces of Wagyu nigiri, as well as Wagyu sushi rolls and Wagyu topped with salmon caviar. If you prefer a more classic grilled-meats experience, the yakiniku platter comes with a range of meats and sides to cook on your home barbeque. There are also platters of hot food (including chicken karaage, Takoyaki and fried prawn), bento boxes and sashimi platters.
See the takeaway menu here. It’s free delivery within five kilometres for orders over $150 (or when you order the Wagyu Sushi Bento Box), or within 10 kilometres when you spend over $300. Delivery on Saturday only. Pick up available Tuesday to Sunday.
This intimate, moody eatery is all about rare Japanese whisky and exciting snacks – think Cajun-spiced soft-shell crab tacos and Wagyu kare pan (hot, crisped bread filled with curry), from Raita Noda, considered one of Sydney’s top omakase chefs. Nodaya’s lockdown menu is no less interesting – and, like others on this list, you’ll have to order via text message. Get those tacos and kare pan, as well as chilli cod roe and stracciatella with sourdough crusts for dipping, and rice bowls topped with aburi salmon, Wagyu or teriyaki chicken. You can even get the kare pan frozen for reheating as you please. It’s also doing a superlative Basque cheesecake.
Find the menu here and text your order to 0417 275 891 before 4pm Thursday to Saturday for pick up or delivery with 10 kilometres.
Keita Abe is one of Sydney’s most well-known Japanese chefs and restaurateurs. And like at his other diners, Chaco Bar and Chaco Ramen, his newer venue – the tempura-focused 12-seater Haco – is doing takeaway. There’s one, very luxe, item on the menu: an 18-piece temarizushi (ball-shaped sushi) and tempura set that’ll feed two. It includes four pieces of temarizushi, assorted tempura, blue swimmer crab chawanmushi (egg custard), 10 pieces of dessert and more. Similarly, there’s just two drinks options: house-made yuzushu and house-made umeshu.
Order here for pick up if you live within a five-kilometre radius, or delivery if you live between five and 10 kilometres away. Wednesday to Saturday.