Chef Kerby Craig stays Japanese but swaps fancy food for something a little more fun.
Busy opening his new Ume Burger outlet at Barangaroo, Sydney chef Kerby Craig plans to close Ume, his Surry Hills restaurant, in its current incarnation on July 18.
"If I spend all my time down at Barangaroo, Ume as a refined Japanese restaurant will suffer," he says. "But if I spend all of my time at Ume, the hamburger shop will suffer." Something had to give.
Instead of selling up and moving on, though, Craig has decided to turn the bijou Bourke Street space into something new, more like "a drinking hole", he says.
Bar Ume will open in August with an izakaya focus. Craig says he'll experiment with "more casual, Japanese home cooking" with soups, rice and pickles and dishes such as hamburg steak, which is "basically a meat patty served with gravy, grated daikon and rice or shredded cabbage," and omurice, an omelette with fried rice and tomato sauce. The menu will include "special, changing and unique" burgers, seasonal vegetable dishes, and plenty of sides.
"No more refined Japanese food," he says. "It's an opportunity to do something more casual and fun. Bar Ume will be more of the neighbourhood spot that's influenced by home-style cooking in Japan."
The drinks list will house natural wines and shochu by the glass, sake by the flask, highball cocktails and Japanese whiskey options, and a large selection of Japanese craft beers. Ume as you know it is dead; long live Bar Ume and Ume Burger.
Ume, 478 Bourke St, Surry Hills, NSW, (02) 9380 7333, umerestaurant.com.au