Using only the finest ingredients, Kushiage Uemura elevates the popular deep-fried street food into a sophisticated culinary experience. The seasonal menu is carefully crafted to feature the season’s best delicacies from Densuke conger eels to Hokkaido scallops. Backed by Michelin-favorite Uemura in Kobe and Sushi Saeki in Kyoto, this new Osaka restaurant is attracting gourmands from across Japan and abroad, looking for an indulging surprise.
Far from its popular image as the icon of Osaka street food, the deep-fried skewers at Kushiage Uemura is a refined craft. As a spin off of a Michelin-starred Uemura in Kobe, the restaurant lured a buzz among gourmands even before its launch. Thanks to its incredible produce and chef’s artistry, it has been an immediate hit since it opened in April 2022.
Set with a modern design, the interior of the restaurant sets the tone for a chic dining experience. Sticks of colorful kushiage skewers are laid neatly by the big frying pot at the center of the counter. Guests can enjoy glasses from their excellent sake and wine selection while watching the chef fry the skewers to tasty perfection.
Born in Oita Prefecture, Chef Ryuji Kawashita built up his experience by working in local restaurants and bars. It was when he got married and moved to Osaka that he wanted to pursue a successful career in fine dining. He began working at a famous sushi restaurant where he mastered the basic techniques and learned the importance of food sourcing. “Just like sushi, kushiage is all about bringing out the best possible potential of the ingredient,” he says. “Every ingredient requires its own style of batter, temperature, frying time and the timing of when to serve it to the guest.”
The batter is made of a secret recipe that uses flour, corn starch, water, milk and sake. Using a brush, the batter is thinly coated around the ingredient and sealed with fine panko bread crumbs. The sticks are gently fried in a pot of Taihaku white sesame oil until just slightly golden for the perfect lightness and texture. Kawashita’s kushiage never feels heavy on the stomach.
Kushiage to sophisticated culinary experience
The omakase menu takes you through a few seasonal appetizers followed by a dozen of kushiage courses, a rice dish and soup. The exquisite appetizers are dedicated to the change of seasons, with plates like sashimi, steamed egg custard and cold somen noodles.
The day’s menu started with flavor-packed penshells from Oita Prefecture, served with mibuna greens, shiso flowers, and topped with Italian caviar. The combination of all the different flavors and textures are simply incredible.
Tiger prawn shabu shabu is a signature dish here. Cooked in a black donabe pot in front of you, the raw prawns are quickly dipped into the hot dashi, infused with the unami of bonito and kombu seaweed. Served in a thickened Yoshino kuzu soup and topped with nanohana stalk and spring onion, each mouthful brings you warm happiness.
The kushiage courses here are not your ordinary deep-fried skewers. They feature a selection of finest ingredients from all over Japan, such as tiger prawns, conger eel, smoked horse mackerel and Yongenton golden pork. Each kushiage is served with a sauce or condiment that best matches the ingredient. The options range from homemade tartar sauce, seaweed paste and other vegetable sauces. For some ingredients, the chef recommends enjoying them on their own or just with a pinch of salt.
Tiger prawn skewers are fried perfectly from head to tail, and served with homemade tartar sauce made with eggs, dill and onions. Sardines from Ishikawa Prefecture are wrapped around plum and shiso leaves for a delicious combination of flavors.
Densuke conger eels are a treat from Awaji Island. Crisp, light and packed with flavor, each bite unleashes the potent flavor of the seas. Hokkaido scallops are served with pea sauce and clams from Kuwana are topped with Ariake seaweed paste. A warm rice dish wraps up the exciting parade of kushiage. Celebrating the arrival of spring, the bamboo shoots rice is packed with a deep aroma and gently warms your stomach.
Thanks to the backing of the two parent restaurants, every ingredient used at Kushiage Uemura is first class. Seasonal produce gets sent in from all over Japan. The fish is ordered from the same vendors as Sushi Saeki, such as sardines from Ishikawa Prefecture, scallops from Hokkaido and red sea bream from Akashi. He carefully checks the condition of the fish before deciding how to best prepare them, using different smoking or curing techniques.
The chef likes to source local vegetables from different regions. Sweet potatoes from Kagoshima and taranome aralia shoots from Niigata are among his favorites. The restaurant also stocks a fantastic selection of crisp and dry sake that helps rinse the oil of the kushiage. It also offers a great pairing of French Champagnes and wines.
Make sure to enjoy the finest sake when dining at Kushiage Uemura. The restaurant stocks vintages like Nabeshima and Zaku that are now hard to come by, thanks to its long-standing relationship with suppliers. Takakiya Godaime Natsuzake Tokubetsu Junmai is a rare find and a chef favorite for its rich flavor and sharp tone. “I recommend this bottle to everyone and it’s made in my home region of Oita,” he says. “Delicious cold or warm, it’s just a really well-rounded bottle. It pairs beautifully with Japanese food as well as fried and western dishes.”
- The price includes our booking fee of ￥8,000
- The price includes our booking fee of ￥8,000