What career move would you make when you had reached the pinnacle of success, been recognised as a leader in your field as manager of top restaurants around the world?
Midway through an illustrious career, Satoru Nagashima moved to Australia twenty-six years ago to manage Daikyo’s Yamagen Restaurant. Since then he has managed Kabuki (Stamford Plaza), Koko (Melbourne’s Crown Casino) and Ten at Broadbeach, before opening his own restaurant, Satoru’s.
Satoru’s could not be more unassuming. Part of a suburban shopping centre in Oxenford, the restaurant is a one room tiled floor café with simple pine tables and chairs. We’re dubious. Two toddlers bellow unchecked at the table beside us. With nowhere to hide from the noise, it’s not a good start.
In an effort to enjoy a range of tastes, we order a mix of tapas-sized entrées and sashimi: Su-age (Soft shell crab) and Gyoza, with Sashimi, Waygu beef Tataki and Scallop miso-yaki (Pan-seared scallops) to contrast the fried dishes. The family beside us leaves.
We look through a viewing space to a spotless kitchen at the back, where a chef is quietly working, implements stacked to one side. The only hints of what is to come are the chef’s nationality (Japanese) and a framed collage of impressive business cards and photographs on the wall fronting the kitchen.
The crab arrives, coated in a very light batter, crunchy and sweet, served with a drizzle of light mayo. It’s balanced by an interesting sidekick of creamy lobster salad.
As delicious as the crab tastes, it’s the fresh dishes which are the standout for us: glistening Sashimi that melts in your mouth; Seared scallops with a hint of caramel served on a slice of lime and topped with a miso cream sauce and lumpfish caviar; and thinly sliced lightly sealed Waygu beef served fan-like with a citrus dressing. It’s food fit for a king.
Each dish is simply presented with a green leaf or two to add some colour. No elaborate plating up here; it’s all about the taste. Each mouthful of the almost raw fish and beef provides a gentle reminder that some of our most memorable dining experiences come from treating fresh quality ingredients with minimal intervention, enhancing the power and beauty of simple unadulterated flavours.
The food also speaks of the chef’s remarkable career. So, after forty years in the industry, why did Satoru open his own restaurant? Why not retire?
He replies: ‘I just enjoy people, food, drink, OK?”
Yes, we understand, and we are grateful!
Proud though he is of his illustrious career, it’s as though Satoru has turned his back on the high life, choosing instead to serve exquisitely fresh food to locals in his humble establishment, Satoru’s.
Shop 1, 108 Old Pacific Highway, Oxenford Ph: 07 5665 9295 Mob: 0403 263 130