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Small but perfectly formed: Wagyu and hot pot lift Japanese fare

The Weekend Edition

Inspired in part by Japanese gardens, lively izakayas and sophisticated sushi spots, Mobo Restaurant is bringing together some of the best bits of Japanese cuisine and hospitality into one appetising package. Nestled near Kangaroo Point’s buzzing under-bridge nexus, Mobo is turning out a terrific menu of sashimi, creative sushi and sake-infused cocktails – with striking signatures that will have you marking Mobo down for repeat visits.

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The team behind Kangaroo Point Japanese restaurant Mobo believe that it’s better to do a few key things really well than to do lots of things at a mediocre level. One flip through the purposefully concise menu showcases the team’s tastefully restrained take on Japanese cuisine, which boasts a specialist-like focus on a handful of categories.

In only three weeks of operation, Mobo has managed to lure back a consistent amount of return trade, with many customers coming back for a second serve of the eatery’s signature items.

In broad terms, Mobo is best categorised as a casual fine diner. This is to say that the offering is wrought from premium ingredients and presented creatively (much like any high-end eatery), but the atmosphere is designed to be accessible (and the overall dining experience easy on the wallet).

Mobo is nestled in the space previously home to Mitoki at the front of the Il Mondo Boutique Hotel on Rotherham Street – shouting distance from The Story Bridge Hotel’s Main St Bar & Eatery. The setting is relaxed, with the majority of Mobo’s sturdy timber seating found in a half-open deck space that wraps the building’s street-facing facade. Hanging lanterns and garden-like fixtures help create a calm and breezy atmosphere for those dining alfresco, though a handful of booth seats inside near the bar are perfectly suited for more lively group gatherings.

Mobo’s menu starts with its first specialty – sushi, nigiri and sashimi. Large and small sashimi platters a filled with a selection of fresh fish, while a platter of sashimi-grade kingfish (imported from Japan) with special dressing is sure to entice aficionados.

The signature nigiri section is where Mobo’s most-prized dishes can be found. First is its best seller, the Wagyu Melt, which boasts flamed slices of mouth-watering wagyu coated in a tantalising teriyaki glaze. Each slice is cooked to practically dissolve in your mouth, leaving an indelible impression that no doubt contributes to the dish’s popularity. Other winners here include the Flowery Salmon (teriyaki-flamed salmon, scallop, shallots, tobiko and edible flowers), kingfish aburi and crispy chicken avocado nigiri.

A five-strong selection of signature sushi rolls features the likes of crispy salmon rolls lightly fried in tempura batter, tempura-fried soft-shell crab rolls and rolls boasting tempura enoki mushroom and cucumber that has been wrapped in black rice and glazed with miso mayo.

Fans of Japanese cuisine will naturally be drawn to Mobo’s sukiyaki – a Japanese-style hot pot filled with thinly sliced wagyu and vegetables cooked in the chef’s secret broth. This shareable centrepiece is best enjoyed with a clutch of satellite dishes – think yakitori skewersebi tempura and crispy chicken baos.

The menu concludes with a selection of mains, including chicken katsu currygrilled wagyu striploin and glazed teriyaki pork belly. Mobo’s beverage list is similarly trim, but still packed with plenty of variety. A selection of sake-infused cocktails, plum wine, Japanese beers (including Suntory Premium malt and malt black on tap), Japanese whisky and gin, Australian wines, and four kinds of sake are available for those that fancy a tipple.

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