Ichoume is Sydney’s new number one for contemporary Japanese

Ichoume Darling Quarter

New-fashioned retro is a thing in Japan, and it’s also now a thing in Sydney’s Darling Quarter with the recent opening of Ichoume. We love a vintage vibe and this place is full of colour and genuine hospitality. Giant designs worked with co-owners Yuki Ishikawa and Ari Kondo to create a Japanese diner atmosphere to feature their take on contemporary Japanese culture and cuisine. Maroon cushioned booths run down one half of the restaurant under lively 60s era Japanese advertising artwork and a kitschy covers playlist is streaming. There is some legacy coming through on the walls which also showcases the co-owners other venues including, Jazushi, Sushitrain and Yebisu Bar.

Sake cocktails

Sake sommelier Chiaki Komura has constructed a lean but inspired Sake and Shochu list which is the place to kick off. The Chilli Vodka Martini is strong and spicy. The Sake French 75 is fresh and juicy and wakes up the palate. And the clear, dry and crisp Jukusei Jozen Mizunogotoshi Sake is selected to accentuate the subtle flavours of the seafood starters.


Executive Chef Akiko Takenaga took time to design the modern-traditional menu for Head Chef Tomohiko Kimura to work with. At the heart of Japanese culture is restraint, the essence of less-is-more is how Japanese seafood can be so exquisite. There is an abundance of options, go all in fish to start. The sashimi plate of Salmon, Tuna, Blue Cod and Kingfish is A-grade. Dress the delicate slices minimally in soy, fresh wasabi and pickled ginger for a near perfect dish. The wagyu beef marble score 9+ sushi topped with Ikura (roe) and Foie Gras is an exciting take on the sushi ‘ship’.

Luxe Wagyu ‘ships’

Sommelier Ned Goodwyn, one of very few Masters of Wine in the world, has expertly curated the wine selection to align with the simplicity and elegance of the dishes to embellish, not outshine. The smooth and mellow Australian Maker Master Merchant Shiraz works beautifully with the rich Tantan Tsukemen Noodle. This is not a dish you would typically find in Australia, the Okinawa noodles have more texture and bite than ramen, the curry is complex and intended merely to dip the noodles and vege but it’s so delicious that we are caught slurping it out of our bowls.

Tantan Tsukemen Noodle

It’s Japanese so compulsory to have the wagyu. The Striploin served with a demi cream sauce is tender and a total umami bomb. The Spanish DIT Cellars Selenita Negre Garnatxa chosen for this dish, brings out the best in both the Wagyu and the side of Crunchy Eggplant Sticks. This eggplant is luscious, it disintegrates as you bite into the crispy shell. All of the mains are outstanding representations of fusion Japanese cuisine.

Wagu & wine

We went hard early so the best we can do is flirt with the Japanese version of churros and matcha cheesecake, they look impressive so we’d best come back and pace ourselves next time. Ari and Yuki made sure the experience was loaded with genuine Japanese hospitality, in a show of empathy for our tight pants, offer Sochu made from fermented sweet potato as a digestive. Our hosts choose the Harusame Curry from Okinawa because the meaning of ‘curry’ in this drink is ‘pleased to meet you’. Aaaww the entire team are just delightful, its been OUR pleasure!

Co-founder Yuki and Sake sommelier Chiaki

Ichoume meaning ‘number 1 district’ can share this moniker as a new number one for hospitality and contemporary Japanese in the city. Check out Spring features coming up including live music nights.

Shop TR10, 1-25 Harbour Street, Darling Quarter
Mon, Wed, Thurs 5pm–9.30pm
Fri, Sat & Sun 1130am–10.30pm
Closed Tuesdays

About the author

BIO: Meg lives, breathes and invests in leading edge tech and food innovation. Curious about what makes things work and is in pursuit of experiencing the unending trends and invention in cuisines. There’s virtually nothing she won’t eat, drink or some combination that she isn’t open to. With the benefit of having lived abroad Meg has a high bar for authenticity and delights in running a lot of taste tests.


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