Japanese-trained chef Aaron Schembri opens Kadota in Daylesford

Osaka-trained chef Aaron Schembri is combining local artisan ingredients with Japanese technique.
Osaka-trained chef Aaron Schembri is combining local artisan ingredients with Japanese technique. Photo: Richard Cornish

After honing his skills working with George Calombaris at The Press Club, Joe Grbac at Saxe and Hajime Yoneda at his eponymous Michelin three-star restaurant in Osaka, Daylesford-born chef Aaron Schembri has returned to his hometown to open a restaurant of his own.

Together with his Japanese-born wife, Risa Kadota, Schembri has taken over the historic 1860s building once home to Kazuki's Japanese restaurant. 

Kadota, named after Risa's family, embraces the Japanese concepts of slow and thoughtful dining. The 40-seat dining room now features charred and blackened shou sugi ban timber walls, and the wooden tables are set with fine stemware and hand-carved chopsticks set on beautiful brass holders.

Kadota's 40-seat dining room features charred timber walls, known as shou sugi ban.
Kadota's 40-seat dining room features charred timber walls, known as shou sugi ban.  Photo: Richard Cornish

Highlights from the $99 seven-course set menu might include sashimi of kingfish on ice in cut-glass bowls, snapper sashimi on a block of Himalayan salt, and a dish of Hokkaido scallops with rose and ponzu dressing served on a bed of rose petals.

Kadota's tea menu is complemented by a range of sakes, and an intelligent and compact wine list.

The Sushi Project takeaway will open next door later this month.  

Open Thu-Mon 5.30pm-10pm.

1 Camp Street, Daylesford, 03 5348 1218, kadotarestaurant.com.au

▪ An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Aaron Schembri worked at St Crispin rather than Saxe.