First Look: Inari | HerCanberra

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Opening its doors on Wednesday 21 December, Inari is set to bring a touch of Japanese 1960s retrofuturism to the Canberra Centre’s emerging hawker-style food precinct Tiger Lane. Here’s the first look.

Joining TAKI—which opened in early November—Inari will be among a curated collection of modern Asian food experiences from higher-end dining experiences to fun, lively street food.

Inari is an authentic Japanese restaurant that takes inspiration from a time when society transformed and lost constraints from tradition—the layout is balanced by a restrained and nostalgic colour palette, creating a space which feels grown up and fun all at once.

Inari feels grown up and fun all at once. Image: Ben Calvert Photography.

Borrowing its namesake from the Japanese ‘god of rice’, Inari is the signature restaurant of Tiger Lane’s own ‘Sushi Shaman’, Shaun Presland. Presland is one of just a handful of gaijin that have been enthusiastically welcomed into the world of Japanese cuisine and has had a resounding effect on the Japanese dining scene across Australia and beyond.

Image: Zachary Griffith, Botanist Creative.

Inari’s menu deftly explores traditional Japanese dishes fused with Peruvian influence, centred around locally sourced seafood. Hero dishes include the Quail Kara-age, an adult’s version of chicken Kara-age of butterflied whole quail, in a buttermilk marinade, dusted in Inari’s signature spice blend and served with house anticucho red and yellow sauces. A nod to the Peruvian influence (Nikkei) on modern contemporary Japanese cuisine.

Inari explores traditional Japanese dishes fused with Peruvian influence, centred around locally sourced seafood. Image: Zachary Griffith, Botanist Creative.

There’s also the glacier 51 Miso Tooth-fish, sustainably caught from Antarctica, marinated for two days in a traditional old-school Saikyo miso paste from Kyoto and grilled until golden brown and crisp on the edges.

The glacier 51 Miso Tooth-fish. Image: Zachary Griffith, Botanist Creative.

“I learnt this dish in 1995 and have paid homage to it my whole career, while incorporating a sustainable species,” says Presland.

Maria Sheslow joins the Inari team as Head Chef. Image: Zachary Griffith, Botanist Creative.

Joining the Inari team as Head Chef is Maria Sheslow. Fresh from the ranks at Sydney’s prestigious Bay Nine Omakase, Sheslow brings 13 years of experience in some of Australia’s most well-known kitchens.

“Inari encourages you to leave restraint at the door and pull down your mask for a dining experience interlaced with entertainment and wonder,” says Presland.

Inari. Image: Ben Calvert Photgraphy.

Upon its completion, the wider Tiger Lane precinct will span 2000 square metres and feature 12 hawker-style dining outlets and bars split into different sections reflective of their cuisine and country of origin, including Japan, South Korea, Southern China, Northern China and South East Asia.

THE ESSENTIALS

What: Inari
Where: Canberra Centre, 148 Bunda St (Ground Level, between Bunda Street and Scotts Crossing)
When: Opens Wednesday 21 December. Open for lunch Friday and Saturday from 12 pm–3 pm and dinner from Wednesday to Saturday from 5 pm–9 pm. From Saturday 21 January 2023, Inari will be open for lunch and dinner every day of the week.
Book: tigerlane.com.au

Feature image: Ben Calvert Photography

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