In Japanese, “Haco” means theatre. And that’s exactly what you’ll get at this tiny omakase restaurant of the same name by Chaco Bar’s Keita Abe and head chef Kensuke Yada.

To look at, Haco resembles the kind of high-end omakase diners you’d find in Tokyo’s opulent Nishu-Azabu neighbourhood. An American-walnut counter dominates the space, and the 12 settings around it are illuminated by hanging spotlights to cast a light on each bite-sized course, presented on limestone plates hewn from a single stone from the Hunter Valley.

The unlikely star of this show is tempura, and a dish rarely seen outside Japan called kushiage: panko-crumbed, deep-fried skewers of meat and vegetables. It’s a specialty from Yada’s hometown of Osaka. He and his team of highly-skilled chefs use two different oils (pork lard and extra-virgin sesame oil) to not only cook the skewers to crisp perfection, but to season them as well.

Aside from deep-frying, the menu celebrates myriad other techniques, flavours, temperatures and textures. It lists 20 main ingredients – perhaps eel, Wagyu, lobster or banana – with no descriptions. That’s because the preparations will change daily depending on market availability. In a month’s time, the offering will be completely different to what it is today.

To drink, there’s sake by the glass and a few fancier ones by the bottle. There’s also house-made umeshu and yuzushu, plus a couple of beers by Japanese brewery Kawaba and a solid list of European white wines. Settle in with any of the above and enjoy the show.

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Updated: April 15th, 2024

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