Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Omakase at Shira Nui

I really should start deciding if I want to just go with the restaurant name with my blog names or attempt to come up with something witty...


Last night as my birthday treat, Brad had booked a spot for us at Shira Nui for the Omakase. We had both read quite a number of reviews about the place and I had (maybe him too) had drooled over pictures in other blogger's posts. And hey, it was close to his place, so all the more incentive to go!

We had originally booked the 8:30 session, but then decided to change to the 6pm session, even if we would get kicked out at 8 for the next seating. 2 hours seemed like it would be long enough to gobble down sushi though!

The place is really in an obscure spot, and was a bit more spacious than I expected. There was the sushi bar that can fit about 12 people and a couple of tables for the strange people who didn't go for the omakase.

The longer I spent in Shira Nui (and maybe the more warm sake I had), the more I felt myself be transported back to Tokyo, the chef and the waitresses bantering back and forth to each other in Japanese, the professional yet warm nature of the chefs and just the way the place was done up, I didn't feel like I was in Melbourne for a little while.


He said his name was Jimmy/Jimi(?) but I highly doubt it. But I will call him Jimi-san anyway because I think it sounds cute. He served us our sushi all night. The way the omakase works (for those who haven't already had the chance to read on other blogs) is that they have the black plate up on the counter and you pretty much get seated and the chefs decide what you eat. They give you two of each sushi each time and tell you whether or whether not to have it with soy sauce.

Good to see Jimi-san practice good OHS with that blow torch...

I've read that it's at your own tastebud's peril if you disobey the chefs, so I opted to follow the rules.

We started with the King Dory, with lemon and salt, no soy and oh my! What a little wake up call this one was, the lemon was really very strong, but in a good way, it really woke up and cleansed out my palette. Funnily enough, having a bite and combining the lemon and wasabi used to adhere the fish to the rice, made for a great and interesting flavour combination as well. I found after this sushi, everything tasted so rich and wonderful, so whilst maybe a little too much lemon for my liking, as I didn't feel I could really get a taste for the fish, I think it was a great way to start the night.

Just lightly grilled/torched salmon. This again was eaten with no soy sauce and gosh, it really didn't need anything. It was simply amazing, only just cooked around the outside, with the inside still tender, raw and pink, it just melted in your mouth. Just amazing fatty salmon goodness. Oooh...the thought of it...

Mackerel with spring onion and sheet of sweet seaweed, devoured with soy sauce. I was absolutely thrilled when this was presented, mackerel is one (but not THE ONE) of my favourite sushi fish, which I find I can get quite often in Asia. I usually get it as a sashimi when in my favourite Japanese restaurant in the Philippines. However, in Australia it seems to be a completely different matter. Although it is quite a fishy fish (if you have the fish it makes sense), there's just this amazing sweetness to it, which is what I love.

Barbeque beef, or if you know Japanese, yakiniku. I'm going to start sounding like a broken record here, but again, amazingly soft and tender and oh so rich! The flavouring they used really brought out the taste of the beef.

Oops! Got a bit too excited and ate one before taking a picture! This was arc shell, also known as red clam, the only other sushi to be had with soy. A nice little breather after the richness of the beef, had the lovely slight crunchiness of shellfish, but otherwise yet another one that went down amazingly.

Lightly seared tuna steak. Like the salmon earlier, this was so rich in flavour and another amazing melt in your mouth texture protein. I really need to broaden my vocab.

Oh god. Oh god. Can I just say, even before this hit our plate, I was eyeing through the fish cabinet at what the chefs were torching out of curiosity...and when I saw it, I must have shivered with delight, gripped excitedly onto Brad's knee and gaped and 'oh-my-god-i-hope-that's-for-us'-ed until it was put on our plate.

This my dear friends, is Anago. In English, sea eel. Yes it is different to Unagi and yes, it is about 20 times more amazing. This is probably my absolute favourite sushi fish and again, is super hard to come across in Australia (I have never seen anywhere else that does it), heck anywhere other than Japan really! So you have to understand how excited I was. Whilst I have said the other sushi melted in your mouth, this was the epitome of it. When you took a bite, it literally just melts in your mouth like warm butter, BUTTER! It tastes rich like butter too. Well not quite, but you get the idea. This is sushi heaven.

Following the amazing, was the kingfish belly. It was after having this, that I realised how well planned out the omakase was. After all the richness of the beef, tuna steak and anago (OH MY GOSH THE ANAGO), the kingfish was delightfully, cool, crisp and refreshing. A perfect injection to let the palette rest before serving up...

The grilled oysters. I should've asked what sauce or toppings they had on it, warm sushi is something that seems odd, but sometimes it just works so well. Like this one. A totally rich, strong taste, yet, whilst melting in your mouth, it still had the slimy texture of the oyster which I personally love.

It was after that we decided to concede defeat, although I was a little jealous that some of the omakase customers could still squeeze in the torched sea perch.

I would've also loved to have gone for dessert, the green tea brulee and black sesame brulee certainly tickled my fancy, but for the life of me, I was just way too full.

We were instead complimented with a sorbet with fruits, Brad and I were trying to figure out the flavours in it. I personally thought it tasted a bit like plum wine...

For those curious, our meal, including a flask of sake came to approximately $180, which I thought was very reasonable, considering the quality of the produce we got.

Whilst Brad quietly ate and savoured his sushi next to me, as I made a bit of an idiot of myself, very vocally oohing and aahing and 'oh-my-god'-ing at everything I put in my mouth, we both came to the conclusion that omakase really is amazing and completely lived up to all the hype we had both read.

And although I would love to go back and have the anago every day of my life, I think I might keep it as a special occasion place, or maybe I might just go back to satisfy my sweet tooth and try out those brulees.

247 Springvale Rd
Glen Waverley VIC 3150
(03) 9886 7755

Shiranui on Urbanspoon


  1. looks so delicious!! i want to try the yakiniku sushi!

  2. I really like those places when they have the raw ingredients and you can pick them up from their and they will cook them for you.