Chef Haru Inukai is best known for his former restaurant Blancharu on Elizabeth Bay Road. Now he has opened Gaku Robata Grill, where his far-reaching and impressive repertoire is to the fore, and with Chef Shimon Hanakura (ex-Aria) at his side, this small izakaya in Darlinghurst is as authentic as it gets.
With a seasoned team of highly skilled chefs and precise service professionals on the floor, there’s an energetic atmosphere in this small, well-managed and well-lit space, with the open kitchen a focal point.
The kingfish sashimi, with yuzu miso, yuzu skin and baby cucumber, is of excellent quality – well cut and seasoned, the yuzu adding perfect acid to the balance. The char sui, twice-cooked pork belly is impossibly tender and rich, with layers of umami – nuanced and clever. And whilst the beef tongue with shiitake, enoki, capers and yuzu is a little unwieldy for chopsticks, it is still perfectly cooked, seasoned and textured. Tender and balanced, the teriyaki quail is simply adorned with secret sauce and a small pouch of shichimi pepper.
PSST! The ramen at lunchtime is worth both the journey and your time.