Sydney’s newest sushi omakase? Say konnichi wa to Jizakana, opening in Cammeray in late April this year. You might recognise owner and head chef Hideaki Fukada from his former stints including head chef at Masuya, executive chef at Umi Sushi and former owner and business manager at Toriciya.
The main dining room offers a la carte sushi and kushiyaki grilled skewers alongside modern Japanese dishes like charcoal grilled spatchcock quail with zaatar, popcorn lobster and baked jalapeno poppers with manchego and yuzu Mexican cream. Traditionalists will want to book ahead for the omakase sushi menu, a multi-course journey of the chef’s choice that will set you back $130.
Chef Hideaki Fukada behind the noren curtain entrance to the private dining room
One of the key highlights of the omakase here is the private dining room in which you’ll be served. The separate dining area is surprisingly spacious, and there’s a distinct intimacy that’s felt here versus the large and open main dining area. It’s even better if you convince six of your friends to join you, enabling your party to secure the entire dining room to yourselves.
Chawanmushi with ikura salmon roe
We start with elegant cups of chawanmushi egg custard, still warm and wobbly from the steamer.
Soft set chawanmushi with ikura salmon roe, prawn and mushroom
The chawanmushi is replendent with ikura salmon roe, little pops of brine that marry so well with the silky custard. We dig deep to find treasures of prawn and mushroom buried within.
Chef Hideaki Fukada slicing kingfish sashimi
While we’re eating, Chef Hideaki Fukada is already slicing sashimi for our next course. Fukada-san is quiet and thoughtful as he works, occasionally engaging in conversation with us as we chat. Waitstaff float in and out of the private dining room to attend to our drinks, topping up our sake cups and serving complimentary matcha green tea.
Chef Hideaki Fukada slicing imperador sashimi
Chef Hideaki Fukada assembling our sashimi bowls
Sashimi bowl of alfonsino, salmon, kingfish and tuna
Our sashimi bowl yields a selection of plump and firm slices of alfonsino, salmon, kingfish and tuna. It’s a lesson in simplicity, served with just a smidge of wasabi and a saucer of soy.
Scallop sashimi is equally restrained, dressed modestly so its natural sweetness shines through.
Shaving fresh Tasmanian truffle onto scallop sashimi
That doesn’t mean you can’t go baller with the addition of freshly shaved Tasmanian truffle. I take up the offer of the $20 truffle upgrade – over the course of the evening, two dishes will be adorned with truffle.
Scallop sashimi with fresh Tasmanian truffle
It’s a pairing that works. The scallop is subtle enough to allow the truffle to take centre stage, but its presence isn’t completely overwhelmed.
Cuttlefish tempura, seared imperador, unagi eel, kani miso with cucumber and raw oyster
The rectangular platter of appetisers appeals to our eyes and tastebuds. It’s a clever assembly of snacks that we’re told can be eaten in whichever order we please.
Sydney rock oyster with ponzu, unagi eel, imperador and kani miso dip with cucumber
I start with the Sydney rock oyster, its brininess tempered with a ponzu dressing. The skin of the cooked imperador is worth marvelling over – so flaky and crisp – as is the sweet and sticky unagi eel and the airy batter of the cuttlefish tempura.
My favourite has to be the kani miso dip, a little pot of crab brain goodness that needs to be savoured slowly with each cucumber stick.
Slicing ootoro tuna belly
We move onto the nigiri sushi section of our omakase. Tonight we’ll be served ten pieces of nigiri sushi, starting with one of the most decadent sushi ingredients, ootoro tuna belly.
Chef Hideaki Fukada shaping nigiri sushi
Adding uni sea urchin roe to ootoro nigiri sushi
How do you make ootoro tuna belly even more luxe? Add a petal or two of uni sea urchin roe.
Ootoro tuna belly and uni sea urchin roe nigiri sushi
Chef Hideaki Fukada serving us our nigiri sushi
Shaving fresh Tasmanian truffle onto ootoro tuna belly and uni sea urchin roe nigiri sushi
But wait. There’s more. A generous shaving of fresh Tasmanian truffles will turn your nigiri sushi into pure luxury.
Ootoro tuna belly and uni sea urchin roe nigiri sushi with fresh Tasmanian truffle
Talk about sensory overload. The earthy truffle shavings amplify the buttery briny deliciousness of sea urchin, as the richly marbled tuna belly melts into a puddle on the tongue.
Raw scampi nigiri sushi, miso soup, aburi imperador and aburi Kumamoto snapper
The raw scampi that follows might feel like a decrescendo, but its sweetness holds stead. It’s followed by miso soup and aburi (flame-seared) imperador and aburi Kumamoto snapper nigiri sushi, each torched on a portable gas stove.
Searing the Kumamoto snapper over gas flame
Chef Hideaki Fukada slicing the jabara ootoro tuna upper belly
Tuna with sesame sauce, jabara ootoro tuna upper belly and aburi Hokkaido scallop
We continue with tuna glazed with a nutty sesame sauce, jabara ootoro from the upper belly of the tuna, and aburi scallop from Hokkaido. It’s worth noting, too, the ratio of fish to rice, weighted heavily in favour of the fish that feels markedly generous.
Abalone, aburi Mt Cook saikyo salmon and anago sea eel
Cooked abalone is impressively tender, aburi Mt Cook saikyo salmon has a fatty lusciousness and anago sea eel has a noticeably delicate texture.
Chef Hideaki Fukada making temaki handroll sushi with ootoro and uni sea urchin roe
I’m just starting to struggle to continue eating when I realise we’re nearing the tail end of our omakase with the assembly of a temaki handroll.
Brushing the ootoro tuna belly with soy sauce
Chef Hideaki Fukada using special Kumamoto nori
Fukada-san uses a special nori sheet from Kumamoto for this final piece.
Sushi cone service
Ootoro, uni sea urchin roe and ikura salmon roe temaki handroll sushi
Now that’s what I call a handroll. It’s packed with my holy trinity of favourites: ootoro tuna belly, uni sea urchin roe and ikura salmon roe. The tuna belly slice is enormous too, extending for much of the length of the cone. I almost wept as I ate this. It was ridiculously good.
Tamago omelette roll
The tamago omelette roll is the traditional finish for a sushi omakase, a sweet omelette that would suffice as a conclusion for savoury aficionados or provide a bridge to dessert for sweet tooths.
Choux pastry cream puff
Our dessert is a choux pastry cream puff, presented without cutlery in a move that we discover is deliberate. “Please eat with your hands,” we’re told. It makes for several moments of chaotic fun as we try to eat the very tall puff with dignity and decorum. Icing sugar gets everywhere and one of us drops the puff onto the table, a situation that is quickly rectified with a hasty replacement. It’s an odd but bemusing finale.
There’s much to like about the omakase at Jizakana. The intimacy of the private dining area is a rare luxury, and while there wasn’t a huge diversity of fish served, Fukada-san will please fans of ootoro tuna belly, ikura salmon roe and uni sea urchin roe, depending on the season.
The omakase costs $130 with a $20 additional fee for fresh truffle when available. There are two sittings for the omakase each night. Bookings for the omakase are required.
Shop 16, 450 Miller Street, Cammeray, Sydney
Tel: +61 (0)426 233 113
Tuesday to Sunday 6pm-10.30pm
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