18 January 2013
*Update 12 February 2014: Marumo has recently relocated to new premises in Nedlands!
Marumo is a tiny little restaurant in Leeming* that offers an authentic Japanese 7-course degustation for just $39. This is the very definition of a hidden gem. Service is personable and intimate, so you feel like everyone in the restaurant is collectively having a ‘moment’, especially when it is time to say thank you and promise to return.
The chef carefully prepares each course for your table as the one waitress brings out food, clears plates, and attentively refills the teapot. We ordered green tea for $1.50 per person, but you can BYO alcohol if that’s more your style.
The wakame (seaweed salad) was a bonus that was not listed on the menu. I am a big fan of seaweed salad and I know the taste of the standard mass-produced variety. This seaweed salad was more acidic and less sweet than the packaged ones that I buy from Asian grocery stores. We enjoyed it and started to get really hungry :P
Fremantle octopus sunomono, fresh cucumber and wakame
The first course was a chilled mixture of thinly sliced cucumber, seaweed, and octopus. Some quick Googling informed me that sunomono consists of uncooked vegetables and seafood that are soaked in rice vinegar for hours. I love pickles and sour things, so I loved this! The octopus was well-prepared and had a meaty texture, without any stringy or fatty bits.
Free range pork & bean sprout harumaki with garlic miso sauce
The harumaki (literally translated to “spring roll”) was a delicious golden-brown parcel filled with bits of pork and bean sprouts. The garlic miso sauce was a fantastic salty accompaniment.
Mt Barker chicken thigh katsu, spicy mayo and tonkatsu sauce
There is a weird trend to describe meat with its place of origin, which I am fairly unconcerned about. Regardless of where the chicken came from, it was tasty and the crumbed batter was super crunchy. I think Marumo has ruined the usual food-court standard katsu for me…
Chef’s selection of assorted sashimi, grated wasabi and soy sauce
One of the highlights of the night was the incredible plate of sashimi (raw fish). The waitress told us that we had yellowtail tuna, Tasmanian salmon, and Hokkaido scallop. We each had our favourites that night and mine was the salmon. However, this was my first experience of raw scallop and it had an amazing jelly-like texture. There was a thin layer of ice at the bottom of the dish to keep everything wonderfully chilled, and the fresh wasabi (horseradish) had a great bite to it. Everything was wow!
Lightly torched Tasmanian salmon belly sushi, tiger prawn and tobiko
Probably the unanimous favourite of the night was the awesome sushi roll. This reminded me of the sushi at David Jones, but the one at Marumo was just mind-blowingly delicious. The chef prepares a perfect combination of tempura prawns, torched salmon belly, tobiko (fish roe), Japanese mayo, and a light brown sauce. Aaaah I’m drooling while I look at the photo…
Orange and lemon sorbet
Another bonus was the palate cleanser, a delightful refreshing orange and lemon sorbet which had real orange zest!
What what! A third bonus was the miso soup. It was fantastic to have the cold sorbet sitting in my stomach and to wash everything down with a warm bowl of soup. It was carefully prepared, without the unbearable saltiness of packet miso soup.
Organic buckwheat noodles, mix tempura and zaru-soba sauce
Our “main course” was chilled soba (buckwheat noodles) which we dipped in the light shoyu-based sauce. The warm crispy pieces of tempura fish and vegies quickly filled me up, so I was somewhat relieved to realise that we were heading towards dessert.
Cotton cheese cake, green tea cream and seasonal fruit
The small slice of cheese cake was spongy and eggy, not too sweet, and went well with the smooth green tea cream. We giggled when we realised that “seasonal fruit” actually meant two purple grapes. I was a little disappointed because cheese cake is not my favourite dessert and other diners have posted photos of black sesame ice-cream or crème brulee. First world problems…
The dishes and ingredients are seasonal, but you can advise staff in advance of any dietary restrictions or preferences. Put your faith in the chef and you’ll be well-rewarded!
Remember there are no walk-ins because the restaurant is booked out every night for 2 or 3 months in advance. You have plenty of time to get excited and the experience is definitely worth the wait.
Likes: tasty and lovingly prepared food, incredible price, fantastic service
Dislikes: booking months ahead (but it’s worth it)
Value for money: exceptional
Overall: plan ahead for a special event, everyone will be super impressed
Shop 22, 145 Stirling Highway
0431 040 899