2 years ago, I found Onaka and made it a 2012 resolution to try everything on its menu. But as you know, resolutions never work (well done for you if you do keep them!) and anyway, Onaka shut its Rochester doors. So I was real happy when a brand new Onaka opened at ARC! And even happier when an invitation came my way, haha.
Short for Optimum Nutrition and Kitchen Arts (such a mouthful), Onaka serves wholesome food without compromising on taste. I rarely leave a tasting session feeling “wow, I MUST go back there again!” but that’s exactly what I felt when lunch ended. It helps too, that I’m somewhat of a health freak who gets excited over chia seeds, quinoa and tempeh so Onaka’s food is right up my alley. Almost everything we tried was above average; especially after learning how much effort it takes to produce every single dish!
For a unique starter, the creative blood red maguro-lookalike watermelon sashimi is a must! Trust me, you will be in for a surprise. Healthy meal means greens are involved and the tofu avocado salad may seem boring but guess what, the tofu is made to mimic feta cheese! Interesting right! Seafood barley risotto has a wonderfully potent crustacean stock, almost like a rich lobster bisque. Got to admit though, replacing arborio rice with chewy barley is not for everyone since the texture is totally different. Either you love it or hate it : ) Meat eaters will love the slow cooked beef and duck crepes; the rest of us can enjoy the pear & salmon, a dish which has to be mixed and tossed into an ugly but delicious mess. Pumpkin sea bass is the most underwhelming; pretty normal imo. Desserts are hit and miss; I will go for the avocado chocolate mousse over banana pastillas (I just don’t fancy bananas) any day. My photo of coconut in coconut v2.0 is quite useless since it only shows a coconut husk haha. Just imagine mango pomelo sago 杨枝甘露 okie?
It’s quite unlike me to write such a long post these days (yes, even for invited tastings) but I really really really like Onaka! I’ve been back with K for brunch (tofu scramble, anyone?) and he’s hooked too so I’m pretty sure we will be back regularly, yay!
Watermelon Sashimi ($10++)
sous vide watermelon, kombu, agar wasabi “tobiko”, daikon-tamari dip
Tofu Avocado Salad ($14++)
soy brined tofu, avocado, mesclun, walnut, sprouts, hazelnut-tamari dressing
Maritime Barley Risotto ($23++)
mussels, prawns, conpoy, crustacean broth, lime foam
48 Hour Beef ($33++)
48-hour slow cooked, grass fed tasmanian “cape grim” flat iron steak, asian greens, spiced wine reduction, baked sweet potato fries
Pear & Salmon ($22++)
seared 47°C salmon, asian pear julienne, soft boiled egg, spring onions, pine nuts, sesame-soy dressing
Duck Pancake ($26++)
duck confit, turmeric crepes, five spices, orange caramel, asian herbs
Pumpkin Sea Bass ($25++)
roasted pumpkin seed crusted sea bass, haricot vert salad, smoked tomato puree
Banana Pastillas ($10++)
phyllo pastry, cinnamon roasted bananas, berries, maple syrup, walnuts, banana and cardamom ice cream
Coconut in Coconut v2.0 ($10++)
coconut jelly, pomegranate sago, mango puree, adzuki beans, lime granita
Avo-Choco Emotion ($12++)
eggless, dairy free, avocado and valrhona chocolate mousse layers, dehydrated banana chips
Special thanks to Dawn for the invitation and Chef Jason for hosting such a delicious lunch! I’ll be back again and again!!
Onaka Restaurant & Wine Bar
#01-32, Alexandra Retail Centre
460 Alexandra Road