November 28, 2021

Upscale Japanese restaurant in South Bangsar

Author’s presentation: As someone who enjoys the occasional conveyor belt sushi, I’m not really willing to fork out the cash for top quality sushi from fine Japanese restaurants. During the blockages I actually didn’t eat sushi as it is always a worthwhile experience for dinner parties.

After its launch on March 31, 2021, premium Japanese restaurant Umi Omakase decided a month later to bring its sushi to customers. Not just through take-out and delivery, but by enticing its sushi chefs to visit customers’ homes for a unique experience. omakase experience, preparing the dishes fresh in front of them.

Omakase is a phrase that literally translates to “The choice is yours”. It is most often used in Japanese restaurants where the customer leaves it up to the chef to select and serve their current seasonal specialties.

Be done at home

Everything is prepared by the chef at your home / Image credit: Umi Omakase

The restaurant calls their private dining experience Homakase, a coat rack of the words home and omakase. Mr Liow, the restaurant manager, told Vulcan Post that the idea of ​​launching Homakase stemmed from the unease some Malaysians felt while dining at the restaurant during CMCO earlier this year.

“It’s another way for people to have the chance to experience omakase at home, ”he shared.

Reservations must be made 3 days in advance so that the restaurant can determine how to distribute its kitchen team and prepare the necessary equipment. The team will also ask customers about their food preferences and allergens to avoid, such as specific seafood or shellfish.

The chefs will then start packing their ingredients in a cooler that includes whole fish, cooked sushi rice, seaweed, and other types of seafood like United (sea urchin).

On the predetermined date, the chef will arrive at a client’s premises one hour earlier than the agreed time. They will then begin to set up their station, using all of the restaurant’s packaged materials.

Their take-out and delivery packs / Image credit: Umi Omakase

“We will be doing everything in front of the customers, like cutting the fish, shaping the rice, packing the seaweed, etc., just like how they experience the experience in our restaurant,” Liow explained.

Even the plates and cutlery are prepared by the chefs, using dishes from the Umi Omakase restaurant. The entire Homakase experience lasts 3 hours, after which the chefs will pack up all leftover fish, dishes and equipment before leaving, leaving their customers’ homes spotlessly clean.

Fresh from the ocean

Hinoki wood, which is a popular and well-known lumber in Japan, is used for its interior decoration / Image credit: Umi Omakase

Umi Omakase claims to source fresh seasonal seafood from the oceans of Japan. Meanwhile, the design of his restaurant is described to keep Zen philosophy in mind. Just looking at the photos of the restaurant, it’s clear that a lot of thought and care has gone into it; one can only imagine being there in person.

From their menu, omakase is served as restaurant lunch and dinner packages, which can cost between RM 150 and RM 480 and RM 450 to RM 1,180 respectively, depending on the ingredients used.

The chefs of the restaurant are led by Chef Shiga who has established himself as a omakase cook in Japan. He is regularly invited abroad to places like Shanghai, Phuket and KL to teach the art of omakase.

Its executive chef, Chef Weikim, is a Malaysian sushi chef who has spent 15 years training in the art. As the experience involves many interactions with the diners, Chef Weikim likes to display his humorous character to entertain customers.

Chef Shiga (left) and Chef Weikim (right) / Image credit: Umi Omakase

Adapt to the times

There is no doubt that Homakase presents a different experience for the chefs of Umi Omakase. If a client’s apartment had a faulty elevator, chefs would have to carry heavy equipment and a cooler full of ingredients.

When it comes to the preparation, however, there isn’t too much of a difference between what happens in the restaurant and with Homakase. Light grilling is involved during the experience for some sushi, while other dishes are mostly served raw.

A customer would pay 2,000 RM for lunch or 4,000 RM for dinner, and since Homakase’s prices are not based on the number of people, their omakase the chefs cook for 2, 4 or 6 people, the prices remain the same.

It’s not a light cost, but Homakase would attract a certain type of clientele: those who want to indulge themselves during the pandemic and are willing to pay those prices.

When confirming each reservation, guests must pay a deposit of 50% of the total bill to minimize last minute cancellations. This is an understandable precaution, considering that chefs will spend extra time and effort bringing Homakase to customers, and last minute cancellations would also render 3 days of preparation unnecessary.

Due to the implementation of OCAF in June, Homakase was actually shut down, but the restaurant continues to serve its take-out and delivery sushi.

Although the Umi Omakase team has yet to confirm whether it will offer this service again once the pandemic is over, it could serve as an additional source of income for the restaurant if there is enough demand for it.

Conclusion: One advantage of Homakase is that it solves the problem of delivery times which can reduce the freshness of sushi. The chefs come to your house to create the dishes from scratch, much like in a restaurant, so the food preparation can’t get any fresher than that.

  • You can read more about Umi Omakase here.
  • You can read about other Malaysian startups we’ve covered here.

Featured Image Credit: Umi Omakase

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