Uminono is a tiny, six-seater bar inside Prahran cafe, St Edmonds, devoted to chirashi: a Japanese dish featuring a variety of sashimi scattered over lightly sweetened sushi rice seasoned with salt and vinegar.

The name is derived from “umi”, which is Japanese for the sea, and “Nono” being owner-chef Arnaud Laidebeur’s nickname growing up. And while Laidebeur began his career cooking classic French cuisine at bistros and hotel restaurants in France and London, he’s been a fan of sushi for much longer.

Here he prepares just three types of chirashi. When Broadsheet visited, the signature involved a combination of Ora King salmon, Hiramasa kingfish and raw paradise prawn in varying preparations. Also, fresh Hokkaido scallop, snapper, bluefin tuna, pickled cucumber, salmon caviar, roasted cashews, plus extras – Tasmanian uni (sea urchin) and otoro, or fatty bluefin tuna belly.

There are only two other dishes besides the signature. The chirashi tartare sees sashimi mixed with different sauces and accompaniments, such as pine nuts, chives and spring-onion oil. They’re all served on top of sushi rice with a 24-hour-soy-sauce-marinated egg yolk and sheets of nori – mix the rice, fish and egg together, then scoop the mixture into the roasted seaweed like a DIY handroll.

The other dish is seasonal – it might be salmon chirashi with fresh truffle in winter; and scampi, lobster and crayfish in summer.

All the fish used is dry-aged for three days to enhance the flavour and treated with different sauces, marinades and garnishes. It’s the same for the takeaway sushi boxes, which make up the bulk of Uminono’s business. There are 11 to choose from, with the bestseller being the omakase box (22 nigiri and eight maki). Boxes are pre-order only; they sell out as fast as the lunch seats.

The drinks list is just as tight as the food: there’s a refreshing Roku G&T with fresh yuzu, Monsuta Okinawa Dry beer, Toji sake and a changing wine of the week – expect crisp, seafood-friendly whites.

Updated: May 27th, 2022

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