Omakase Dining Experience – KAPPO, Melbourne
Ground Floor, 1 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Chef: Kentaro Usami
Yes, I had to look Omakase up before booking dinner at Kappo recently. I was so intrigued with putting my dining completely in the hands of the Chef that day and not knowing what will come next. Of course, I had the chance to decline and ingredient, but unless you have allergies, why would you? Put your faith in the skill of the chef and you will never be disappointed.
Upon finally finding the front door (how awkward) down the side lane, I was greeted with warmth and seated at the downstairs dining bar area to await my experience. It was a perfect time to arrive (at the start of the night) as I felt like I had more of a chance to chat to the wait staff and check out the restaurant.
I was shown the my pre-selected “Odoroki” (Chef’s surprise) menu for the night (nine courses), ordered a rose sake from a pretty diverse drinks menu and settled in for the evening. My waiter for the evening was attentive, polite and very focused on ensuring my dining experience was well explained, not rushed and personal. The atmosphere was muted and retrained but it added a sense of surging anticipation of what was to come.
The chef was efficient and precise with his cooking, plating and presentation and it was fun to watch him adapt his style with all the different orders right in front of me. However there was very little interaction with the chef apart from a smile and a nod.
I was offered the choice of selecting my own chopsticks before being presented with my first dish which was a beautiful selection of oyster and caviar, seasonal vegetables and walnut miso, octopus with crisp tofu skin and soy milk sauce and Sansho pepper quail. It was an outstanding start.
Highlights across the meal were the interactive-style “ocean tartare” (salmon, lobster, salmon roe, scallop) where you mix your own dish from the provided ingredients; and the sushi selection of the day – King George whiting, tuna belly ‘toro’ black garlic and seared swordfish. The choice of warm red rice as the base of the sushi was a perfect demonstration of Kappo’s deliberate difference between serving standard and serving exceptional, and the sushi was exceptional.
Kappo is not a cheap dining experience at all and if you are adventurous, you will be left wanting if you do not choose to experience the whole menu (nine courses), at $150 a head, be prepared to melt your card with drinks. This is also not a fast dining experience by any means, in fact it was almost three hours of dining by the time I finished and it still didn’t feel long at all.
My Omakase dining experience was well worth the wait and after walking out, the first thought was when I could possibly come back to see what the Chef’s Surprise would be next time!