It starts with scampi, lightly seared, served with foie gras, shreds of apple and a sprinkling of mizuna flowers. My cocktail arrives next. Helloooo, Yoko Ono. Comprised of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, Blue Curacao, and finished with lemonade, pineapple, lime juice and the universe's brightest red glace cherry. I take my first sip. It's smoother than silk. Strap yourselves in, I think, as I gaze at the group gathered around me. Looks like we're in for a big night out.
I'm dining at the ultra-refined Kiyomi, the refurbished Jupiters Hotel & Casino's new Japanese restaurant. At the helm is Chase Kojima whose previous credits include Nobu (in Las Vegas, Dubai, London, Los Angeles and the Bahamas) and Sokyo at The Star Sydney.
Seared scampi with foie gras, apple and mizuna. Image by Alan Richardson, courtesy Kiyomi.
Other dishes follow, including Hiramasa Kingfish with miso cerviche and crispy potato, which had a tantalising blend of textures; sashimi tuna, so fresh and clean I'm convinced it was swimming not five minutes earlier; Wagyu striploin served with eschalot and spicy teriyaki sauce; and sushi rolls with spanner crab, soy paper and avocado.
The real surprise was tempura Moreton Bay Bug with grapefruit, sambal, mayo and vinegar. Normally, I find tempura too heavy, too cloying, too sits-in-your-stomach-afterwards. But the batter served here was as light and transient as a summer's breeze.
Another cocktail. And then dessert. Tempered dark chocolate with caramelised white chocolate mousse with black sesame ice cream. Divine. To die for. Need I go on?
Chasing Kiyomi signature cocktail. Image by Remco, courtesy Kiyomi.
The word 'kiyomi' refers to a rare Japanese citrus fruit which is a hybrid of mandarin and sweet orange. It is a name perfectly suited to this new endeavour, as Kiyomi is something of a colourful hybrid itself - a mix of traditional and innovative dishes, a blend of Japanese and Australian influences, a melange of expected ingredients (such as sashimi) with unexpected twists (think liberal infusions of fresh citrus flavours).
Kojima values creativity highly and enjoys cooking with only the freshest produce. 'Kiyomi will centre around the delicious flavour umami,' he says. 'We will be celebrating unique yet simple flavour combinations which bring the natural flavours of the produce to life. It is all about using simple garnishes, simple sauces and simple combinations to create truly delicious dishes.'
Kiyomi's stylish interior. Image by Remco, courtesy Kiyomi.
The interior of the 120-seat Kiyomi (inclusive of its nine-metre sushi bar) is the epitome of Japanese minimalism. Traditional Japanese design elements are incorporated in contemporary ways - for example, the handmade Japanese umbrella-inspired feature pendants hail from Kyoto. Meanwhile, the fluorescent UV artwork, which covers an entire wall of the restaurant, was created by Tokyo-based Houxo Que, a Japanese street artist.
Located on Level 4 of Jupiters Hotel & Casino, Kiyomi is part of the property's $345 million transformation. Other elements include a sleek new poolside area complete with private cabanas and the Cucina Vivo restaurant. When complete, the redevelopment will also include a new six-star luxury hotel tower.
Tempered dark chocolate, caramelised white chocolate mousse and black sesame ice cream. Image courtesy Kiyomi.