When Broadsheet broke the news about the Ume team opening a Japanese pasta restaurant last November, it caused quite the stir. “Yeah, it went viral; it was great,” says Kerby Craig over the phone.
Kerby, along with Joe Siahaan (the head chef at Ume Burger and Ume Bar) announced they were going to be tenants in the architecturally striking Kengo Kuma-designed Darling Exchange building in Haymarket, which looks like a hurricane made of wooden ribbons.
They’re now back with more details about the exciting project.
The licensed Japanese pasta joint will be called Pasta Wafu (wafu translates to Japanese-style western dishes) and will be co-owned by Craig and Banksii Vermouth Bar and Bistro owners Hamish Ingham and Rebecca Lines. Craig says there are a couple places around town serving Japanese pasta but those tend to have more of an Italian bent than Japanese. This will be the opposite.
“We are really going to emulate the Japanese pasta places, which are pretty unique. When I first went to Japan I hadn’t tried it; an ex made me tarako spaghetti, it’s got cured cod roe and nori [plus soy sauce and melted butter] and it’s delicious – lots of umami. Then I explored more of it and it became something I cooked at home.”
The pastas, and as many of the ingredients as possible, will be made in-house, and there will be no more than three or four dishes available at any one time. They could be things such as miso bolognaise, uni (sea urchin) cream pasta and mentaiko (chilli-marinated roe) tagliatelle.
Lines will be responsible for the drinks list, which Craig says will be similarly succinct – a couple of wines and beers.
We're told the restaurant will be in a hawker-style market that will house different operators (Craig hints at the site also including a well-known patisserie and booze supplier). “You'll be able to grab a bottle of natural wine and some cool beers, grab a uni cream pasta and a cake, maybe some fish too, and go outside and drink and eat in a nice communal space.”
Asked how his partnership with Lines and Ingham came about, Craig says, “We’ve been pretty close for a while. I felt like some support would be good – we both have a bit going on – and I mentioned it one day and he said yes. We both have similar cooking styles and it just fell into place.”
The only catch is the timing – you’ll need to wait until spring 2019 for Pasta Wafu. It looks to be an exciting dining precinct. Golden Century announced in September it is opening a modern Chinese restaurant in the same building.
Pasta Wafu is slated to open in spring of 2019.