Omu review

When Mikiko Terasaki started serving omurice at her market stall, she became a social media sensation.
When Mikiko Terasaki started serving omurice at her market stall, she became a social media sensation.  Photo: Louise Kennerley

1 507 Wattle St Ultimo, NSW 2007

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Opening hours Tues-Thurs 4pm-9pm; Fri 4pm-10pm; Sat 11:30am-3pm and 4-10pm; Sun 11:30am-3pm and 4-9pm
Features Family friendly, Cheap, Gluten-free options, Licensed, Outdoor seating, Wheelchair access
Prices Cheap (mains under $20)

The omurice at Omu has been shaped by a lifetime of experiences. For owner Mikiko Terasaki, it reflects her childhood in Fukuoka, Japan.

In her homeland, cooks have wrapped fried rice in the doona-like warmth of omelettes since omurice was invented a century ago.

At home, her mum would use the enveloping blanket of egg to sneak vegetables into her daughter's diet. And when Terasaki became unemployed during Sydney's first lockdown, she saw a future in flipping omurice onto plates.

Omurice with tempura, tomato sauce and melted cheese.
Omurice with tempura, tomato sauce and melted cheese. Photo: Louise Kennerley

Months before her first Omu market stall, Terasaki levelled up her skills, by cracking countless eggs and serving not-quite-right omelettes to husband Thomas Vo at home.

The amount of wrecked omelettes was staggering ("In the 500 range," confirms Vo), but her persistence paid off: Omu became a social-media sensation in April 2021, with customers happily waiting up to three hours at her Chinatown stall.

The market stall then transformed into a pop-up restaurant at Harajuku Gyoza's Sydney and Brisbane eateries and, in early 2022, while Omu's permanent Ultimo site was being built, Terasaki visited her omurice-making mentors in Japan.

Omurice with a demi-glace-rich hamburger patty.
Omurice with a demi-glace-rich hamburger patty. Photo: Louise Kennerley

She saw her mum, but also made a pilgrimage to Kyoto's Kichi Kichi restaurant, whose chef Motokichi Yukimura has entranced millions of YouTube viewers with his egg-whipping and rice-tossing dexterity.

Terasaki was stunned when he invited her into his kitchen for an Instagram live video. "By that time, I think I've made 20,000 omelettes or more. But I was nervous," she says, laughing.

So when Terasaki and Vo opened Omu in May, omurice was destined to be its star dish. You can order it countless ways: squiggled with tomato sauce and bundled with melted cheese (recommended), lavished with demi-glace, or pooled with spinach and mushroom cream.

Spaghetti napolitan.
Spaghetti napolitan. Photo: Louise Kennerley

But Terasaki wanted to showcase Japan's yoshoku (Western-inspired) cuisine, too. "People in Japan say the king of yoshoku is the hamburger steak and queen of yoshoku is omurice," she says.

As well as the demi-glace-rich hamburger patty, available with rice, there are other Japanese spins on Western dishes, too, such as gratin, croquettes and spaghetti napolitan.

The spaghetti napolitan is more like "stir-fried noodles", says Terasaki. "Kind of like yakisoba". The dish was invented in Yokohama for American military guests in the 1950s, and originally it was made with pureed tomato.

Yame matcha Mont Blanc.
Yame matcha Mont Blanc. Photo: Louise Kennerley

However, it eventually became synonymous with strands pan-fried with bottled ketchup – a more affordable choice in postwar Japan. Like omurice, it's a highly comforting and ultra-satisfying dish.

Omu's charm is in its personal feel. The coffee jelly (that you temper with cream and sugar syrup) is Terasaki's favourite Japanese dessert, while the Mont Blanc cakes are inspired by her baking lessons.

Even the melon soda is personal. "My mum never let me drink it," says Terasaki. Vo, meanwhile, wears a "husbando" tag when serving customers and QR code menu signs are decorated with cartoons of the couple.

Coffee jelly with cream and syrup.
Coffee jelly with cream and syrup. Photo: Louise Kennerley

"I'm not a professional chef, so the menu is more home-style cooking," says Terasaki.

In many ways, it's apt because Omu reflects her home: her childhood Fukuoka residence as well as the one created in Sydney, with a husband who loyally ate 500 omelettes to enable her omurice-making dreams.

The low-down

Omu

Vibe A nostalgic menu of omurice that you can customise endlessly and other yoshoku dishes. The staff wear cute uniforms imported from Japan and the diner looks like something from a Miyazaki film.

Insta-worthy dish Omurice, of course, especially if you capture the cascading waves of whisked egg falling over the fried rice.

https://www.instagram.com/omu_sydney/