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We had been wanting to return to this little family run eatery since we first tried it some time last year, and we were lucky enough to get a mid-week booking this past week.
Since our last visit, Marumo has moved from its previous hole-in-the-wall location in the southern suburbs to…yet another hole-in-the-wall, but this time in the western suburb of Nedlands. Basically, if you’re heading from the city down Stirling Hwy and you pass Chelsea’s Pizza, you’ve missed it!
Don’t let its humble exterior and austere interior fool you though. What Marumo may not have in ambience, it more than makes up for in value for money and taste. By the spadeful! And at the end of the day, when you’re going out for a meal, that’s what you really want, isn’t it?
Marumo offers a seven course degustation menu, which makes for an easy night out. As each guest arrives and takes their seat, their glasses are immediately filled with water and genmaicha. Once everyone in the party is seated, the amuse bouche is brought out. On this occasion, we were presented with a simple mushroom salad in a little tea cup.
This was followed by the first course, lightly seared tuna topped with avocado and served with a lotus root chip and salmon roe emulsion. The flavour was light with just the right amount of tang to whet our appetites, and the crispiness of the lotus root chip was a perfect vehicle against the creamy salmon roe emulsion and avocado.
Next came inari stuffed with what we thought was probably crab meat and topped with cuttlefish strips as well as herring roe. This dish perfectly balanced the sweetness of the inari with the saltiness of the herring roe, and again left us eagerly anticipating the rest of the meal.
The inari was followed by perfectly cooked duck served on top a masterfully prepared Japanese style layered omelette. The duck was cooked just right, with just the slightest touch of pinkness to the flesh and melt-in-your-mouth tenderness. Again, this was a well balanced salty-sweet dish.
Up next, a beautifully presented boat filled with the freshest tuna, salmon and scallop sashimi. This was served with real wasabi, by which I mean it has a kick to it, which I like. If you’re not fond of the fire-y clear-the-sinuses feeling, I’d go easy on the green stuff.
My favourite dish of the night came next, a platter of tempura prawn sushi topped with salmon belly and roe. The rice was cooked beautifully, and the proportions of every ingredient was clearly calculated to give the optimal blend of crunch (from the tempura prawn filling), oiliness (the salmon belly) and little jelly-like pops of flavour (roe).
There was then a short break while our chopsticks were cleared to make way for knife and fork, in preparation for the final savoury dish of the night. Several in our party cited the beef as the dish of the night. The beef was tender without being overly pink, and we wondered if perhaps it had been prepared by sous vide method. It was served with broad beans, a creamy pumpkin purée, and a jus that tasted ever so slightly of yuzu and roasted garlic, giving it that slight tang and Asian flavour.
To finish off, green tea parfait served with a light strawberry coulis and a strawberry filled pastry for the contrasting textural element. I thought it was a splendid way to end a fantastic meal.
Whilst it’s not silver service, the staff are attentive yet unobtrusive. Several of our party turned up a little late, and they waited patiently for all to arrive before they commenced serving. At the end of the evening, they all thanked us and our waiter saw us to the front door.
I love the understated elegance of the sign at the front door! The interior and the food are similarly presented – basic but classically stylish. The acoustics do leave a little to be desired – the room gets noisy pretty quickly if there are just a few louder people in there.
ALL that food for just $55. Including free-flowing tea. Yes, you read that right – $55!
Tuesday-Saturday nights 7-10.30pm
22/145 Stirling Hwy, Nedlands. There’s a carpark round the back.
Phone – 0431 040 899.
I almost didn’t want to blog about this place because I really think this is one of the best bargains in town! Honestly, the quality of the food would rival even Nobu, yet with much better, more personal and less snooty service AND at a fraction of the cost! But with only 1 sitting a night and a room that seats only up to 26, you have to be pretty persistent, as we were, in order to secure a reservation.
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