Mahi Eats: Yakitori Bar Edition

Mahi K

I rate Omni, the new wine and yakitori bar based on the Price, Quality and the Quantity.

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1 November

Everyone’s been talking about Omni - so naturally I had to go.

Omni, a recent addition to the incredible eats of Dom Road has been buzzing with rave reviews. Located in a small and sleek restaurant painted with white walls and marginal seating consisting of only 25 or so seats, it exudes a minimalistic and sophisticated vibe.

From the open grill where the chefs are carefully curating your dishes, to the limited menu consisting mainly of yakitori and small share plates (which appears to evolve seasonally), to the wine selection that boasts largely natural and modest wines from smaller suppliers, Omni feels casual yet considered.

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To start, we had the Sashimi ($25) which was coated in a kaffir lime oil with salt flakes and bedded in a white soy. This flavour pairing was unprecedented as the kaffir lime oil had a slightly sour yet sweet flavour while the white soy base gave it an almost cream cheese texture and addition.

We then had the prawn toast ($17), which was a crisp toast with a slightly textured prawn spread topped with various seeds, white soy and chopped scallions on top. What really elevated this dish was the multiple textures - the crunch from the toast was met with the smoothness from the prawns while the white soy and seed provided a nutty flavour and creaminess.

Next up was the Katso Sando ($16) which is essentially a katsu chicken sandwich. This dish can not be faulted. The meat was juicy with a crispy outer, topped with a mustard tasting sauce which made it explode with flavour.

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For the Yakitori skewers ($7 each), we tried the soft bone, the thigh and the wings. Looking particularly tempting with the open grill, they exemplified a classic yakitori dish; smokey and charcoaled yet sweet. They were on the smaller side, and were practically inhaled by us.

At this stage, we’ve had almost everything on the menu, but why stop there? Also if you know me, you know I LOVE eggplant, so we had to get the eggplant tempura ($22). This was nothing short of divine and my absolute favourite of the bunch. It was heavily battered in a sauce that tasted like a mixture of chilli oil, soy sauce and perhaps some sweet chilli. As an eggplant connoisseur, I have to say that this is probably one of the best eggplant tempuras that I have had in my life.

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We also got the Miso Cacio E Pepe ($26), which was udon noodles cooked in a miso based cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper). I am a sucker for a good cacio e pepe, and this tasted exquisite. It was cheesy, and extremely peppery but I’m not sure I could taste the miso whilst eating, only after. This dish was my second favourite.

To pair with my food I ordered a glass of Don Pinot Noir from the Nelson region, which is an organic certified natural wine which was fermented in old oak barrels with no added sulphates for its fermenting.

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Extra notes from Sophie

Following Mahi’s reviews, I always follow up her rave spots with a visit. With the yakitori skewers, I highly suggest ordering the heart - the texture is tender yet slightly chewy and oh so moreish with their homemade premade negroni. I also really enjoyed the meatballs that came with an egg yolk to dip it in. I went with my friend Cam (who you may know from CTI and ZM) who is always squeamish with the food that I order and force him to try - but he enjoyed the one piece of heart that he hesitantly agreed to try, and although he skipped the raw yolk dip, he really loved the chicken meatballs. We were hungry after our order of udon and skewers so we finished with the aubergine. You must order the aubergine, despite its hefty price tag for deep fried vegetables. The night before, I went to KEN yakitori with Sam after the Glenmorangie event. For $130, you can eat all the skewers to your heart’s content as they’re around $9.50 for 2 over there and have a great range of options. Omni is a much more westernised Japanese atmosphere compared to the traditional vibe that KEN gives. I would suggest trying out both spots but if you love a good gin cocktail and wines, then Omni will be the right one for you.

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Now for the PQQ

On price, I have to give this place a 7.5/10. On balance, whilst things appear to be reasonably priced, having to pay $7 for each inhalable skewer and getting multiple share plates adds up.

On quality, I give this place a 9. Every dish seemed well thought out and had balancing flavours and textures, some of which I’d never tried together before. Nothing was bland, or just tasted “okay”. I wanted more of almost every dish.

Where this lacked for me though, was the quantity, which is at 6.5/10. I don’t know if I was exceptionally hungry when I went, but as a dinner for two where we ordered most, if not all, menu items available, I didn’t leave feeling particularly satiated. Whilst in the notion of share plates, I did feel we could have doubled up on some plates.

Coming to an overall score of 7.7/10 on the PQQ scale, this place is worth the hype it’s been gaining. Housing mouth-watering dishes which are intimately and carefully curated, it’s the perfect spot for a special occasion.

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