OMI, Chadstone Shopping Centre

Eat, Melbourne, Restaurants / 11 December 2018

With premium wagyu on the menu – and an Iron Chef at the helm – OMI reopens in Chadstone Shopping Centre.

Food court fare is typically not anything to write home about. If you’re like me, those mid-shopping refuelling pitstops likely consist of fast food or a sub you’ve convinced yourself is a healthy option despite the fact you went with double cheese. Relocating to their new home in Chadstone Shopping Centre’s recently launched casual dining precinct, OMI is here to change that. This is food court dining – but not as you know it.

OMI’s new 70 seat, licensed eatery is elevating the food court game, with premium wagyu donburi bowls and more, fusing traditional Japanese flavour profiles – such as matcha and mentaiko (pollock roe) – with Western ingredients and dishes like black truffle, and the silkiest crème brûlée this side of Tokyo.

Behind the new menu is Japanese celebrity chef, Ikuei Arakane. Arakane, better known as Kin San to Iron Chef fans, and famous for his modern and innovative takes on Japanese cuisine, has stepped into the role of Executive Consultant Chef at OMI, creating a new and exciting udon range and other dishes. Since his time at Kitchen Stadium, Arakane has headed award winning kitchens around Australia, including Koko and Taxi Dining Room in Melbourne as well as The Glass House in Tasmania.

Omi Signature Wagyu Donburi

OMI’s Signature Wagyu Don is the flagship dish, and for good reason. Sourced locally from Sher Wagyu in Victoria and Robbins Island Wagyu Beef in Tasmania, OMI only use premium wagyu rated with a marbling score of 9+. This heavily marbled beef has a low melting point and a buttery feel, resulting in that luxurious melt-in-your-mouth sensation. Marinated and served on a bed of Japanese Koshihikari rice, accompanied by edamame, Japanese pickle, and an Onsen egg, the Signature Wagyu Bowl is delicious, satisfying, and nourishing. And if you’re battling the Chaddy Christmas crowds this year, the Signature Bowl can also be upsized to ensure you have the stamina to go into the Yule Tide battle of the bargains.

The Onsen egg is also an OMI fave. Immersed in 65° water – replicating the temperature of a Japanese “Onsen”, or hot spring – the Onsen eggs have a buttery, custardy yolk encased in a “just done” egg white. Topped with mentaiko that has been gently fermented in a mix of sake, konbu, and yuzu, it’s perfect for gently breaking open and stirring through the donburi for added creaminess, as well as a citrusy note from the yuzu and a slight kelpy smokiness courtesy of the konbu.

While the star of the show at OMI is undoubtedly the wagyu, there are plenty of rice bowl options with an array of Asian-inspired flavours. The Singapore Chilli Soft Shell Crab bowl has also been popular, adding some heat to the mix, while the Salted Egg Karaage Chicken bowl has been a hit with those looking for a little bit of crunch.

Omi Matcha Crepe

It isn’t just the savoury dishes at OMI that get the innovative treatment, the dessert menu doesn’t disappoint. Japanese flavour profiles collide with European techniques to create delicious treats that will finish off your OMI visit perfectly. As someone who can never go past matcha on a menu, the matcha crepes are a dream. A multitude of lacy and light crepe layer, pasted together with a delicious matcha cream that gives a sweet hint without being too saccharine, and topped with a matcha cream that’s almost custardy, this dessert is a hard one to beat.

But, if you do want to put it to a duel, the Houjicha Crème Brûlée is a worthy contender. The soft-set custard is infused with Houjicha, a Japanese variety of green tea, that imbues it with a smokey caramel flavour with the slightest hint of tannins. Like the crepes – and most Japanese desserts – the crème brûlée isn’t overly sweet, but delivers just enough sugary goodness to keep your shopping energy levels up, while packing a major flavour hit.

Next time you’re at Chadstone Shopping Centre, up your food court game and head to OMI.

During the silly season you might find yourself at Chadstone more than once stocking up on gifts. If so, treat yourself to a pit stop at the newly opened Shanghai Red