Korean meets Japanese omakase opens in Sydney CBD

Pork belly bossam with Australian free-range pork and meljeot sauce at Kobo in Sydney's CBD.
Pork belly bossam with Australian free-range pork and meljeot sauce at Kobo in Sydney's CBD.  Photo: Supplied

When Kobo opens at Circular Quay next week, the restaurant will dish up a different take on the ubiquitous "omakase" trend.

Omakase – perhaps the most over-used word in Sydney dining since the over-reach of "tapas" in the early noughties – forges new territory at Kobo.

To start with, Kobo is Korean, not Japanese. As is its owner-chef, Jacob Lee.

"We were influenced in Korea by Japanese omakases, but our [equivalent] is more of a formal set-course menu rather than leaving it up to the chef," Lee says.

At Kobo he wants to run with a more Japanese omakase-style menu, but with some tweaks.

"Kobo has no rules," Lee says. Episodes of his life will play out in menus, which might involve memories of his childhood, of his grandmother's kitchen or Korean junk food.

Lee, who earned his stripes at Tokki in Surry Hills and Marble (where he is still involved as executive chef), is currently honing his final menus.

The black pig-based dishes of Jeju Island (in South Korea) will be included, as will a buckwheat crepe he calls his "take on a taco". 

"Some will be traditional Korean dishes, some reinterpreted," he says.

Open dinner Tue-Sat. 

4 Loftus Street, Sydney, 02 8067 8838, kobo.sydney