Chaki Chaki Japanese Restaurant and Bar has been part of the bustling Braddon dining scene since 2016. When I finally visited (better late than never!), I was grateful for the signboard on the street, otherwise, I'm afraid I would have missed it. The restaurant is nested away on the first floor of the Ori Building, a haven from the sometimes chaotic street outside.
When I walked in, the space felt peaceful and inviting with the blonde wood and grey tiled interior creating a sense of calm. Rope features along the roof, cosy lighting and two bunches of fresh flowers provided some interesting pops of warmth within the otherwise minimal decor. A balcony beer garden offers the chance to eat outside and watch eclectic street life: I imagine this would be the best seat in the house on a mild summer evening but the day we visited, the temperature was nearing forty degrees so instead, we huddled inside in air-conditioned comfort.
Tempura Vegetables, Chaki Chaki Japanese Restaurant Canberra
The lunch menu called for some thought because as well as choosing your dish, you also nominate the sides for your set course or bento box - if you plan well you can share some sides and get more bang for your buck. The food arrived in a flurry and the portions were very generous, especially considering this was the lunch option. The tempura vegetables were top class with batter that was both light as a feather and packed a satisfying crunch. The vegetables were cooked to that perfect place: just beyond raw, bursting with flavour and complimented by a fresh and flavourful sauce.
The star of the fish bento box was the sashimi selection, fresh carrying the taste of ocean waves. Panko crumbed fish fillets were crisp but thankfully not heavy or oily and the tempura prawns were delicate and sweet. The sides we chose, takoyaki and karaage chicken, were tasty and added a comforting street food punch to the main dishes.
While the décor and pricing point to fine dining, I'm not certain Chaki Chaki's offering was creative or refined enough to put it at that end of the spectrum. Instead, it was a great version of your usual Japanese restaurant offering. That said, the food was good enough that plans to come back; next time for dinner and sake; were being drawn up while the last taste of lunch was still on our lips. If you find yourself craving good Japanese food or for a special treat, Chaki Chaki is worth a try.