Azuma, Chef Kimitaka Azuma’s self-named restaurant, opened in 1996 in Crows Nest Sydney, at a time when Japanese cuisine in Sydney consisted of only Sushi, Tempura and Teriyaki Chicken. With 28 seats, no liquor licence and no menus, it was Chef Azuma’s passion and independent spirit that led him to create authentic Japanese cuisine with dishes that had not been seen in Sydney before, and with no Sushi or Teriyaki on the menu. This point of difference and mystery quickly led Azuma to becoming Sydney’s first late night Japanese restaurant.
In a courageous move, Chef Kimitaka Azuma moved the popular Crows Nest restaurant to Chifley Plaza in 2002, as part of his mission to educate more Sydney siders about authentic Japanese cuisine.
Azuma went from strength to strength and the following year was awarded Best Japanese Restaurant in 2003 by The Daily Telegraph and again in 2004 by The Sydney Morning Herald.
Kimitaka then went on to pioneer the Ramen culture in Sydney and in 2006 he opened his first Ramen takeaway, TonTon, also located in Chifley Plaza. Responding to demand, Kimitaka opened a second TonTon in late 2008 in Regent Place on George Street.
In 2008 and 2009 Azuma was awarded a Chef’s Hat in the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food Guide. Kimitaka went on to expand the restaurant and also transform TonTon in Regent’s Place into Kushiyaki – Azuma which specialised in Izakaya menus and offered an extensive and impressive Sake list, the first of its kind in Sydney.
Azuma has developed a loyal fan base over the last 20 years, who recognise Kimitaka’s passion and skill for the art of quintessential Japanese dining.