5 April 2024

All-you-can-eat Japanese restaurant opens in Unanderra

| Zoe Cartwright
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After an almost two-year wait, the former site of Murphy’s Bar and Grill in Unanderra has reopened as Okami – an all-you-can-eat Japanese restaurant. Photo: Zoe Cartwright.

Once beloved Unanderra venue Murphy’s Bar and Grill has metamorphosed into Okami, an all-you-can-eat Japanese restaurant, and after months of anticipation it threw open its doors on Friday.

Murphy’s closed in August 2022, shortly after it was purchased by a group of property investors, and the site sat abandoned until 2023, when Okami took out a lease.

Since then, stop-start renovations have taken place, with the site a bustle of activity at some times, and an empty, weed-filled lot at others.

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In December the all-you-can-eat restaurant chain placed more than a dozen of its stores across Australia into voluntary administration, leaving a question mark over the future of the Unanderra site.

An Okami spokesperson announced just this week that despite those hurdles the restaurant would open its doors in the Illawarra.

They said the venue planned to incorporate local produce into the buffet menu.

“The food culture in Wollongong is a vibrant mix that reflects its diverse community and coastal location,” they said.

“Okami draws inspiration from this rich tapestry, incorporating local produce and seafood into traditional Japanese dishes.

“The aim is to create a menu that not only honours Japanese culinary traditions but also celebrates the local flavours and ingredients that Wollongong has to offer, making each dining experience unique and deeply rooted in the community’s culture.”

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The Okami spokesperson said their goal was to provide an authentic Japanese dining experience with a diverse range of dishes served buffet-style.

They said a couple of menu highlights were their sushi, sashimi and Angus beef steak.

“Freshness and quality ingredients are the key in Japanese cuisine, so the most essential ingredients are fresh Tasmania salmon and Australian Angus beef,” the spokesperson said.

“Quality ingredients, meticulous preparation, and authentic flavors are crucial in Japanese cooking.”

Keen customers can book a table online.

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