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Yakikami Is South Yarra's New Japanese Barbecue Fine Diner With an Intimate Chef's Table Offering

A head chef with Michelin cred, a dedicated yakitori station and menus featuring some of the world's most covetable beef.
By Libby Curran
June 29, 2022
By Libby Curran
June 29, 2022

Emily and Roy Yu are no strangers to plating up top-quality produce with a Japanese-accented finesse, as you'll know from their restaurants Wagyu Ya and Niku Ou. And the duo are throwing their hat into the same ring, albeit with a little extra fire, for their latest flame-focused eatery Yakikami.

Now open in South Yarra, the 70-seat diner is delivering two different upscale food experiences, both embracing Japanese barbecue and built around some pretty exceptional meat. It's a study in Japanese flavours and technique, with more than a little French influence as far as the sauce game goes.

Yakikami's menus are the work of Head Chef Hirokazu Sasaki, who hails from Michelin-starred Tokyo restaurant Niku Kappo Black. And the Yu's are among just two Aussie restaurateur groups to hold the Kobe beef Golden Calf certification, named as a preferred supplier of the famously premium marbled meat.

Diners in the market for some of that top-grade beef will want to make a beeline for the chef's table offering, which sits just 10 at a time over two nightly sessions. Here, you'll get a front-row seat to the action as Kobe beef is cooked on the Josper grill, the high temperatures of which are thought to best bring out the meat's umami flavour.

It starts on a $285 set menu, alongside plates like the A5 Wagyu tartare with smoked caviar, Japanese snow crab paired with hapuka, grilled wild mushrooms, and a nine-hour chicken bone ramen with ox tail and clams.

Meanwhile, Yakikami's izakaya-style component centres around a yakitori station and heroes Nomad's premium pasture-raised Sommerlad Heritage chicken (Adelaide) beside an array of other quality proteins. You'll find a slew of things cooked over binchotan — think, garlicky wings, ginger chook hearts, chicken fillet with leek and spicy miso, and king oyster mushrooms finished with unagi tare.

Kingfish carpaccio is dressed in yuzu, 'chicken skin rice' comes with sugar snaps and an onsen egg, and there's a hefty range of top-shelf steak and seafood options; from lobster in a 10-hour slow-cooked sauce to a $185 Kagoshima sirloin.

If you were hoping to match your deluxe feed with some equally memorable tipples, you're in luck. A wide-ranging vinous selection has been curated by wine expert Phillip Rich, while the sprawling sake lineup tops out at a cool $1350 for a 1.8-litre bottle of the Juyondai Honmaru. Signature sips like the Sayo's Delight — a riff on a whisky sour starring Nikka From the Barrel, passionfruit and sake — is well worth a look-in.

Find Yakikami at 150-152 Toorak Road, South Yarra. It's open from 3–10pm Wednesday to Sunday.

Images: Griffin Simm

Published on June 29, 2022 by Libby Curran
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