Monday, March 20, 2017

Tatsumi, Newmarket (NZ) by Bilby Blue

On a short break in Auckland, Benny and I were looking to catch up with my friend El Puma over dinner. But where to go? Another friend raved about Tatsumi, so it was an obvious choice for three Japanese food lovers.

Tatsumi’s owners relocated to Auckland from Christchurch following the 2011 earthquakes. Its modest entrance can be easily overlooked, but venture inside and you will find a quiet and serene environment.

Tatsumi, Newmarket, New Zealand, sashimi salad
Hamachi yellow tail sashimi salad

The food is exquisite – its Japanese origins are clearly evident, but the chef has cleverly incorporated elements of Italian and other cuisines that lift the dishes into something unique.

The menu follows the modern trend of small and large share plates. A degustation menu is available but we weren’t feeling quite that hungry. And with only three of us, we were too few for the set meals. So we ordered a mix of small and large plates for sharing.

Tatsumi, Newmarket, New Zealand, beef tataki carpaccio
First up was beef tataki carpaccio – shaved raw beef served with wild rocket, wasabi cream, truffle oil, balsamic soy, walnut and sliced parmesan. We loved this dish, but found the wasabi a little strong (but you could easily control how much to have on each mouthful of beef – just a small smear was perfect).

Next was Hamachi yellow tail sashimi salad – fresh raw Hamachi (a type of fish) slices, with an Umeboshi plum vinaigrette, lychees and cherry tomatoes (see first pic). Umeboshi is a pickled fruit (ume) that is sour and salty. We were puzzled over the lychees, but Tatsumi later informed us that the white and crisp elements sprinkled over the top were freeze dried lychees. The salad was an excellent match for the fish – the entire dish a celebration of the fresh ingredients.

Tatsumi, Newmarket, New Zealand, tempura calamari salad
The tempura calamari salad was served with mango salsa, Thai style dressing and spicy miso mayo. It was an absolute knockout dish. It might have looked a bit confronting – the squid ink tempura was like intensely black coal – but I can’t recall ever having calamari that tender. The batter was light as air and the salad ingredients were a perfect contrast in taste and texture.

Tatsumi, Newmarket, New Zealand, pork ribs
Tender pork ribs were double cooked, with yuzu citrus marmalade soy sauce. These juicy ribs just melted off the bone – we couldn’t resist picking up the bones in our fingers to make sure we got every skerrick of meat and sauce.

After the three small plates, we had our two large plates.

Tatsumi, Newmarket, New Zealand, seafood platter
The seafood platter comprised crispy Kadayif-wrapped blue cod, pan-seared scallops, grilled prawns, parsnip puree in a miso-infused white wine and butter sauce. Kadayif is a type of Turkish pastry, normally used in desserts, where the dough is shredded into thin threads. Tatsumi’s incarnation was savoury, with the crunchy pastry a strong textural contrast for the very soft cod. The dish was excellent, but we thought that the fish was overwhelmed with a bit too much pastry.

Tatsumi, Newmarket, New Zealand, beef cheek
Our final dish was slow cooked braised beef cheek. This was served with Japanese taro gnocchi, pumpkin puree and Asian green vegetable. The beef was beautifully tender, in an intense dark sauce. It was a good thing this dish arrived last – the strong sauce might have over-powered some of the more delicate flavours of the earlier dishes. The sauce would go really well mixed in with some rice, but by this stage of the meal there was no way any of us could have managed even a small bowl of rice.

We very reluctantly had to forgo dessert after our share plates – they were more than enough for three.

Tatsumi, Newmarket, New Zealand

Tatsumi, Newmarket, New Zealand


We loved it
We loved it.
Mid value
Mid value.


Tatsumi delivers exquisite Japanese food with a modern twist. Excellent service and a serene environment makes this a good option for a special night out.

Find it at

73 Davis Crescent
New Zealand
Telephone: +64 9 529 4422

Tatsumi Dining - Modern Japanese Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

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