Ichirin is a tiny Japanese restaurant in a former fish-and-chip shop. Nipponese trinkets adorn the window, timber counter and sparse, cream-coloured room. The restaurant’s menu covers suburban Japanese takeaway classics. Chicken katsu. Teriyaki salmon-beef-tofu. Tuna, California, vegetarian and chicken teriyaki sushi is available by the roll and platter.
Its point of difference is the $60, six-course omakase – a set-menu ode to seasonal deliciousness. Chef Shiro Okuchi’s resumé is impressive. He’s worked at a specialist fugu (pufferfish) restaurant in Osaka; done a spell at defunct Vic Park Japanese favourite, Fuji and worked seven and a half years at Kailis Brothers Leederville to learn about local fish species. This combination of East and West informs his set menus.
The omakase menu changes regularly but in the past has included rosy slices of duck breast served with a smudge of grapefruit miso: fermented soy paste brightened and lightened with a flash of citrus. And translucent tiles of kingfish served usuzukuri-style – essentially sashimi that’s been cut extra thin, a nod to our man’s years working with fugu – with a vinegary apple ponzu sauce.
Okuchi’s cooking mightn’t be traditional – those who want more historically accurate tastes of Japan’s Kansai region should give his lunch-only Japanese chicken curry udon a spin – but it’s important the food he serves is a reflection of himself.
Keep in mind the restaurant needs two days’ notice for omakase bookings. The $60 price includes corkage, miso soup and rice.