TAKI - Huddle Around For A Heartwarming Japanese Meal

When you are craving Shabu Shabu and Yakiniku in Canberra, not too many options pop up. The new Tiger Lane dining precinct is the extension annex of the Canberra Centre and introduces a curated collection of modern and lively Asian food where you can find some new delectable bites, TAKI will satisfy two of your Japanese hot pot and BBQ cravings in one go. Itadakimasu! (Let’s Eat) mylifestylenews writes.

Fun and feisty, the name TAKI originates from the Japanese word for a waterfall and the imagery of TAKI is an interesting one and will not be self-evident. The legend of the Koi begins by the river, with a thousand golden Koi battling the current upstream in pursuit of the river’s mystical source. As it reaches the source of the stream, it is rewarded for its efforts and is transformed into a fable, golden dragon. Hence, the bubbling of the Shabu Shabu and the fire of the Yakiniku bring the fable to life in house at TAKI.

As beautiful and as versatile enhancing TAKI’s fun factor immensely with all the ancient fable imagery, the interior is not as exciting as the story, more of a minimalist zen motif interior floor plan, the semi open kitchen and bar strategically allocated in the middle of the entire restaurant and well laid out with two distinct dining areas serving up selections of Shabu Shabu and Yakiniku.

The Shabu Shabu section features traditional tatami mat seating, centred around a bubbling hot pot is a traditional form of communal dining in a group for friends and family uniting the friendship get-together. The other dining section is with a normal table setting with powerful exhaust systems that play a very key role with so much heat being generated over glowing coals that is brought to the table.

As the PR blurb goes, they are inviting you to discover the legend of TAKI, through a bespoke dining experience that let you choose your culinary journey. Why settle for one when you can have two? If you are lucky enough to score the private dining room like we did, you would be able to enjoy the best of both dining experiences simultaneously.

Bespoke cocktails seems to be the IT Drinks for the pre-dinner ritual especially in the local dining culture, so we were recommended two of their signature cocktails - The KONICHIWA  features sake, elderflower liqueur, apple cider, seasonal flowers and spritz as well as The SOUTH EAST SIDE  with cucumber infused gin, lime, syrup and mint, both sleekly presented. They may not be the best accompaniment with any dominating savouries to come but still best to enjoy with a light salad and snacks.

Crunchy Lotus Roots

<WAFU Salad>
A generous size of a bowl of mixed greens salad with radish, finely sliced daikon tsuma, lotus root, avocado, cucumber served with house dressing. If you look for that epic crunch as you munch the seasonal spring greens, this salad is simply refreshing that is great to enjoy along with the Yakiniku to cleanse and refresh the palate.

<Chicken Karage>
The bite-size pieces of chicken dusted with flour and deep-fried served with Kewpie mayo and a lemon wedge. Traditionally, the staple chicken snacker is marinated with soy sauce, sake, ginger and mirin to give a touch of sweetness and deep-fried to crispy gold brown on the outside and remain tender and juicy inside, yet TAKI’s version was rather bland and lacking in character or a signature element.

<Yakiniku> – TAKI Signature Platter
This signature platter showcases four different types of premium Wagyu cuts - The A5, Thin Karubi, Finger Rib and Diamond Cut with accompanying assorted mushrooms and thinly sliced pumpkin, well placed on a bamboo rack sitting on a large blue stoneware. The contrast of the entire presentation is rather colourful and inviting. DIY is the way to enjoy these succulent meats to be cooked table-side over an open high flame glowing coals grill. Three different salts (smoke salt/sea salt/citrus salt) are given to enjoy with the meat as well as two of their homemade Yakiniku sauce and ponzu sauce. As we had hoped, the top grade A5 Wagyu just melts in your mouth, denotes ideal firmness, texture, colour and marbling with a richness of flavor to be savoured. As the flame draws out the rich umami flavour of the beef for the melting effect, medium rare to medium is the ultimate way to savour such a premium cut. The chunky Finger Rib and meaty Thin Karubi were also enjoyable, but the pre-marinated Diamond Cut was the next best bit, being so tasty and tender and the vegetables are always a nice way to diverge from the richness of the meat.

<Shabu Shabu> - Chanko Nabe
We chose the Chanko Nabe – The Sumo Hot pot that is inspired by one of the staple foods of famous sumo wrestlers in Japan. This nabemono miso soup base hotpot is light and tasty, packed with protein from seafood, chicken and chunks of pork belly for a guaranteed satisfaction even for the largest of appetites. The ingredients are half cooked before they are presented at the table accompanied by lots of vegetables and noodles (Udon noodles was served). There is a lot to enjoy in one pot and with the mix of ingredients and certainly is a well-rounded meal fit for hungry champions.

<Ice Cream>
While dessert has not much of a choice, either you go for the infused Matcha Tiramusi or ice cream, we opted for one scoop of Black Sasame ice cream and another scoop of Hōjicha ice cream both served separately on cookie crumble to finish the feast and this provides a palate change that was pleasantly enjoyable.

TAKI has only been opened a few months back, but the service still has a way to go. While the restaurant was not that busy for a week night, we found the service patchy and not always logically thought through. A little disorganized with the sequence of bringing in the utensils initially no tongs for the Yakiniku and no ladle for the Shabu Shabu even after the food was presented, so a bit haphazard. It needs to be more seamless and tables preset based on what they have booked. It has potential to be a more elevated experience in terms of service. For foodies looking for Yakiniku or Shabu Shabu with some quality meat in store, it will hit the spot!

Tried & Tested:
Location: 5/5
Design & Decor: 4/5
Food & Beverage: 4/5
Service: 3.5/5
Value For Money: 3.5/5
Experience: 3.5/5

Canberra Centra
148 Bunda Street, Canberra, 
ACT Australia
Tel: +61 0432 028 852 

Reviews are based on actual day of visit and experience. mylifestylenews reserves the right of final decision in case of any disputes. All images are photographed by mylifestylenews team without any photoshop enhancement and are the property owned by mylifestylenews unless otherwise stated.

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