Gaku Robata Grill
Darlinghurst’s Gaku Robata Grill is slinging some of Sydney’s best Japanese food. You’ll have to get in quick to nab a bowl of their rich and hearty ramen come lunchtime with only 40 bowls on offer, but it’s undoubtedly worth the effort. Pull up a pew overlooking the grill and slurp down some spicy chicken tonkotsu or duck yuzu ramen as loudly as you can (loud slurping is seen as a great compliment to the chef in Japanese culture). Paired with a Japanese beer or cider and followed with Gaku’s delicate matcha cremoux, you’ll have plenty of fuel to last you to dinner time.
When the clock strikes 6pm the chefs fire up the robata grill. White oak bincho tan (charcoal) adds the perfect robust flavour to everything that’s grilled at Gaku. The charcoal grill menu is divided into seafood, meat and veggies and covers off delights like grilled oysters with miso cream, free-range pork rack with a black garlic crust and corn with french cultured butter to portobello mushroom with a truffle dressing and slow-cooked lamb covered in a spicy miso glaze. Once you’ve filled up on grilled goodness there are plenty of other dishes to try and you’ll likely notice some French and fine dining flair thrown in thanks to the background of the chef owners Haru Inukai and Shimon Hanakura. But don’t go thinking Gaka Robata Grill is stuffy—its food might be on the fancier side, but the atmosphere is relaxed and modern. Some truffle edamame will keep you going as you wait for the burrata yakko with bonito flakes and kara-age chicken with ponzu to land on your table. You can fill whatever room is left in your tummy ordering from the sushi and signature hand roll bar. Everything on the menu is fresh, seasonal and crafted to perfection. Definitely don’t skip the dessert at Gaku. The banana banoffee with dolce de leche and houji tea ice cream cannot be passed up. Wet your whistle with the Darth Vader cocktail featuring activated charcoal, vodka, tonic, mint and lime. The rest of the drinks menu features the usual Japanese bevvy suspects, including whisky, shochu, beer and sake, as well as wines and softies.
While you can’t book for lunch you most definitely can for dinner, and we highly recommend you do.
Image source: Instagram.