The final piece of W Hotel’s dining puzzle has fallen into place today with the opening of 29-seat Warabi, featuring kitchen counter dining where chef Jun Oya’s skills will be on full display.

Oya, most recently the sushi chef at Shinoki in South Yarra, will be offering Melbourne a taste of kappo, a style of dining that encompasses several different techniques united by the fact that diners can see everything the chef does. It is a middle ground between casual izakaya dining and the upper-end omakase (or set menu) experience.

Warabi’s menus will be seasonal chef’s selections that incorporate Oya’s sushi skills and use top Australian ingredients across sashimi, grilled dishes and more.

A dish of scallop, abalone and dashi jelly.
A dish of scallop, abalone and dashi jelly. Photo: Charlie Hawks

Glacier 51 toothfish may be cooked over binchotan charcoal; thinly sliced wagyu could be paired with sea urchin and oscietra caviar; while abalone and scallop with dashi jelly is a typical light opening dish.

Sake in several styles and from several prefectures, plus wine and cocktails selected by Rosie Kim (ex-Ten Minutes By Tractor), will complement the $245-a-head nine-course menus.

Guests can dine at a low timber L-shaped bar, which offers a full view of the kitchen action. A private dining room for eight people is accessed via a walkway laid with bluestone tiles, a nod to Melbourne’s laneways.

Warabi isn’t just the crowning glory of W Melbourne’s dining, which already features Adam D’Sylva’s Lollo as well as Curious bar and casual daytime venue Culprit. It’s also the first Australian project for Wa Creations, responsible for several Michelin-starred establishments in Tokyo and Hong Kong, including fellow kappo venue Zuicho.

“Within the overarching Japanese dining offering [in Melbourne] there’s a lot of sushi restaurants and fusion,” says Wa Creations founder Luke Clayton. “We wanted to bring something different to the city.

“It’s theatrical. You’re seated at the counter watching the chef work their magic, offering up a memorable experience.”

Open Tue-Sat 5.30pm-10.30pm.

W Melbourne, 408 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, 03 9113 8857,