This hidden gem was first brought to my attention by my friend Theresa. It is literally an old fish and chip that is tucked away in a local shopping complex. It is not even physically transformed as the fittings remain. This tiny 16-seater does not have a glamorous fit out. The beauty is in the food. Chef Moe Oo rules supreme with a monthly Omakase (Chef’s selection) seven-course degustation menu using local and Japanese seasonal produce. Now people complain about the prices in Perth. Well someone forgot to tell Marumo that you are meant to overcharge not undercharge patrons. For $39 you get such good value for amazing food. This month’s menu included:
- Tempura of oyster, caviar & shichimi Mayo
- Poached Mt Barker chicken ginger & nori Oil
- Hokkaido scallop, egg tofu & edamame Puree
- Chef’s selection of assorted sashimi
- Lightly torched Tasmanian salmon belly sushi, tiger prawn & tobiko.
- Soy braised Margaret River beef, croquette & pan jus
- Green Tea mascarpone ice cream
The tempura oyster showed no sign of the establishment’s former life. It had the right amount of outer crunch without the oiliness. The shichimi mayo was a taste sensation. This is where Google comes in handy as I am still learning the complexity of Japanese cooking and flavours. Schichimi is also known as Japanese 7 Spice consisting of sesame seeds, orange peel, poppy seeds, paprika, Chinese chillies, Szechwan pepper, ginger and nori. There is nothing in this flavour combination that I don’t like. I am looking forward to finding this spice mix and attempting to use it in my cooking. The chicken was poached to perfection and I loved the generous ginger slices. I love my ginger. It takes me back to my days working behind the cosmetics counter at Myer. I worked for Origins, this natural company from the USA which had a huge ginger range. Name the product and there was ginger in it. After two years working there I was over lathering my body in ginger scented product. However, it has not dampened my love affair with eating ginger. The next course was one of the highlights of the night. It had to be the largest scallop I have seen. It looked bigger because it was sandwiched in an egg tofu. This was a winning combination. The scallop was actually from Japanese waters, which may explain its generous size. I haven’t seen scallops of that size in Perth. Though chefs rabbit on about the Rottnest scallops, you hardly see them at restaurants in Perth or if you do you pay a pretty fortune for it. To say Marumo servings are generous is an understatement. The assorted sashimi portion would probably cost $39 at most Japanese restaurants. Not here. The produce was exceptional. Each course was full of thought and technique. This was abundantly clear in the sushi course. The lightly torched Tasmanian belly sushi was another favourite of the night. The smokiness from the salmon’s oil was absorbed into the rice. Each bite was a delight for the senses. Then surprise…a palate cleanser. The orange sorbet cleansed the palate from the seafood as we moved onto the hearty beef course. The soy braised Margaret River beef shoulder showed the Chef’s clever technique to transform a cheaper cut of meat into a melt in your mouth moment. I was beyond full by the dessert course. Luckily the green tea ice cream was a refreshing touch to an amazing feast. I was mighty impressed. Behind the lacklustre shopfront is a hub of passion for Japanese cookery at a rare price in Perth. Good luck getting a booking (last time I checked it was booked out till November 2013).
THE FOOD JOURNEY