Home' Scoop : Scoop 52 Winter 2010 Contents 176 scoop WINTER 2010
on the occasion of someone s 21st birthday, the
hosts came into Tsunami s kitchen to thank him
personally. "It s always good when someone gives
a compliment to the chef, and it was a very nice
feeling. I d never had it in Banzai."
All in all Muneki spent five years working for
Brett Carboni, before deciding to open his own res-
taurant with his wife, Yuka. He d originally planned
to open a small takeaway shop in an industrial
area, with an adjacent wholesale business supplying
sauces. But that plan changed when Yuka suggested
it might be better to first build a reputation.
"I didn t have any knowledge, I was very inno-
cent," he recalls. "Then we saw this place and we
just loved it, and bang! We didn t think carefully
about a liquor licence, we didn t have any idea. I
simply wanted to make my customers happy. But
we wanted to do something different from other
Japanese restaurants. So in the beginning with only
six tables and 20 chairs, we did sushi and teriyaki
and those type of things, but with a very different
look and taste. People started saying Well, we ve
never seen this type of sushi, or, We ordered
teriyaki chicken but we never expected spatch-
cock ," he laughs.
But then came the birth of Muneki and Yuka s
first child in 2006. "It was a big change, both in
private life and in a business sense, because my
wife couldn t work, so I had to employ someone
else, all the time, no matter if we were busy or
not. And I simply had to have more seats to make
sure I had enough to pay all my staff. It was a very
small papa-mama show, and I didn t want to stay a
papa-mama show. I wanted to make this work and
that was the opportunity for me to do it.
"It wasn t easy though. It was very hard. But at
that moment we changed slightly what it was we
were. We started doing slightly different, more de-
tailed food, and we started employing professional
staff. And that helped a lot. I ve been very lucky
having good people, both staff and customers,
from the beginning. It kind of educated me, and
step by step, I began to establish a new business
model for ourselves."
Nine Fine Food now boasts a staff of four in the
kitchen, including Muneki, and a front-of-house
team made up of one full-timer and six casuals.
The latest additions to his staff are a talented
young Japanese chef duo, Taisuke -- a qualified
Japanese chef who also ably tends front of house --
and Ryoji, who trained at Jackson s.
He s also abandoned any attempt to explain his
eclectic culinary palette in terms he once used like
"Euro-Jap", or "fusion". "Once I would have said
PLUM MISO SAUCE: Heat the sake, removing
from heat just before it boils. Add the white miso
and sugar and mix well over low heat. Add plum
paste to taste. Allow to cool in fridge.
CHILLI MISO SAUCE: Heat the rice vinegar and
mirin and remove from heat when it boils. Add
the chilli paste, white miso, seasoned miso and
sugar and mix well over low heat. Cool in fridge.
Both sauces can be made in advance and will last
a few weeks in the fridge.
SPICY SEAWEED SALAD: Mix ingredients and
add chilli oil and sesame seeds as you like. Add
plum miso and chilli miso (optional).
DUCK: Score the skin side and season both sides
with salt and pepper. Heat a pan and put duck in
skin-side down. Cook on mid-high heat to render
some of the fat, until it's a nice golden colour.
Turn and cook the other side slowly on mid-low
heat. Remove the duck from the pan and allow to
rest. Keep duck fat for the pumpkin mash.
PUMPKIN MASH: Boil the pumpkin until just soft
enough to mash. Add the duck fat then mash.
SCALLOPS: Heat up a pan and sear both sides
of the scallops on high heat.
TO SERVE: Place pumpkin mash on the plate,
then seaweed salad on top. Thinly slice the duck
breast and place on the seaweed salad. Arrange
the scallops around them. Drizzle both plum and
chilli miso sauces to finish.
DUCK WITH SCALLOPS, SEAWEED SALAD
AND PUMPKIN MASH ~ Serves 4
Duck and scallops:
2 duck breasts, trimmed
8 scallops, roe off
salt and pepper
Plum miso sauce:
100ml sake rice wine
80g white miso
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp neri ume (Japanese plum paste)
Chilli miso sauce:
50ml rice vinegar
30ml mirin sweet rice wine
30g cochujan chilli paste
20g white miso
10g seasoned miso
2 tbsp sugar
Spicy seaweed salad:
1/2 medium cucumber, finely diced
1/2 red capsicum, finely diced
80g seaweed, finely chopped
chilli oil and sesame seeds
1/4 small Japanese pumpkin, peeled
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