Aburi sushi, if you didn’t know, is when the chef carefully crafts a delicate jewel of perfect, blushing sashimi…then blasts it with a superheated flame thrower. The blue flames sear one side of the sushi, leaving the underside raw. What you get is the best of both worlds—the oily meatiness of cooked salmon, tuna or kingfish, plus the palate-cleansing satisfaction of tender raw fish.
And it just so happens to be the specialty of Melbourne’s newest sushi mecca, The Modern Eatery.
This place began a few years ago in Perth, when childhood friends Jason Tan and Edward Teh left their workaday careers behind and launched the city’s first contemporary Aburi house. Needless to say, the concept kind of snowballed. Now they’ve crossed the Nullarbor and set up shop on Swan St in Cremorne.
The new space is gorgeous (and massive). Split over two levels, and seating up to 90 sushi-mad diners at a time, it was designed by the team at Studio Equator (the guys responsible for Chalawan and Glamp Cocktail Bar in the CBD).
Now when it comes to the sushi, you should probably leave behind the soggy handroll preconceptions you have from hundreds of lightning-fast lunchbreaks. This is a considered and beautifully presented little menu, designed for sharing over a glass of hot sake or Hibiki 12-year. Flame-seared Aburi nigiri takes centre stage, but you’ll also find Salmon Oshi (compressed sushi) and a variety of ‘Craft Rolls’. Start with the Chasing Sunset (an earthy mix of seared salmon, egg omelette and sweet potato) or the Green Leaf Roll, with deep fried zucchini and cream cheese (you can take the sushi bar out of Perth…)
If you’re a certified sushi nut, you’re gonna want to give this place a try. It’s worth admission just to watch the Aburi masters in action, blow-torch flames glowing blue in the darkness.
Image credit: The Modern Eatery