RAKU, Civic

The hubby and I had a date at Floriade’s Nightfest recently, so we decided to go all out and tack on dinner at RAKU as well. Live and let live, right?

RAKU only opened on 21 Sept 2017, so I was chomping at the bit to give it a go, given our fantastic experiences in Japan, with their izakayas. Ben and I have a favorite izakaya in Japan 🙂 We will go back there someday, see our friendly izakaya mates and eat pork brains on a skewer (yes, it’s not a joke).

Izakayas are like an after-work stand-up gastropub. The izakaya we frequented in Japan was a yakitori stand-up izakaya, with only enough room for 10 patrons at most. The pub had a U-shaped bar, with the yakitori grill just in front of the door, and all the drinks and 3 waiters/cooks/barmen huddled inside the U. The patrons stood on the outside of the U.

On the yakitori menu – all pork off-cuts and offal. That may not sound very appealing to most people, but it was seriously good!

Anyway, back to RAKU now.

Guys.

It is not an izakaya.

They said it was. But it is not.

What it is though, is a celebration of all that is fantastic about Japanese cuisine. Ben and I thoroughly enjoyed our meal there, in fact, it has been the best Japanese food we have had in Australia. I have been to Sake in Sydney, I reckon RAKU trumps Sake. The fish was so fresh, and all their food was so beautifully presented. I also liked that they didn’t mess with the foundation of the food itself, they didn’t try to Aussie-fy it till it died and stopped resembling Japanese food.

On to my review.

Ben and I had the Tasting Menu – $80 per person.

We also had a lovely waitress, whose name escapes me, so she shall be “Cheery”. Cheery was very smiley, and altogether too cheerful. She was really lovely 🙂

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Ben had a “Lychee Cider” – made in Murrumbateman, would you believe it!? Best thing ever, it’s like drinking Lychee water. Definitely watch your intake there.
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First dish to come out was the South Australian Kingfish Sashimi – was really delicious, and very generous slices of fish
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Tasmanian Salmon tartar with yuzu miso & squid ink crackers – the crackers were so delicate, and gave that lovely crunch to offset the softness and subtlety of that salmon tartar, it was really beautiful
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Soft shell spider crab tempura with kimchi mayonnaise – so delicious, I would advise using your hands and plucking off each of the legs to dip into the mayo individually before dunking the body into the mayo. Don’t be shy with the mayo, it’s worth it.
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The sashimi santen, once again such generous slices of fish, and the tuna was absolutely to die for. Absolutely comparable to Japan.
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Japanese Hotake Scallop, truffle, ponzu (left) and West Australian Honey Bug, foie gras, truffle oil (right) – this sushi was prepared so lovingly. The scallop was really earthy, but subtle, and the daikon wrap gave it a lovely crunch. The honey bug was a raw prawn that was elevated by the foie gras, it kind of gave it a smoky meaty flavour, was really delicious.
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Duck fat confit chicken wing with smoke miso butter – They remove the bones for you! This dish looks humble at first, but don’t forget to peek under that pile of unhealthy chicken wings, there is a mound of miso butter waiting to be slathered on! The miso butter absolutely made the dish.
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Canadian scallop, jalapeno, green apple with garlic mayonnaise – the green apple mound on top was really lovely, I couldn’t really taste the jalapeno so much, but it was really lovely.
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Tender stem broccolini moromi miso and ginger dressing – they serve this dish exactly as pictured, don’t be too shy to mix that sauce into your broccolini. It had a fantastic umami flavour. I am getting the impression that RAKU just pair everything with miso on steroids.
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And finally dessert – toasted sesame ice cream with caramelised hazelnut, sticky miso caramel and matcha wafer – the dessert was really lovely, but I did not get any sticky miso caramel flavour. It might have been coating the hazelnuts, I just wish there had been more.

 

So, all in all, for service, ambience, food and drink, I would give RAKU a 9.5 out of 10.

Ben and I are going back to try the rest of their menu soon 🙂

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