We are a small Japanese restaurant located in the quiet eastern end of Perth serving authentic Japanese cuisine since 1986.
Japanese chef, Shige, has a passion of maintaining the integrity of traditional Japanese cuisine in Perth and it is his passion let locals know that there is more to Japanese cuisine than just ramen or displayed sushi.
Shige was born and raised in Hyogo prefecture so our cuisine is Kansai-style which is very different to the Tokyo-style you get at most restaurants in Australia. Kansai cuisine is less saltier and has a delicate taste. The beauty of Japanese cuisine is that each region has its' own style.
Born in 1956, Shige had a dream of becoming a chef and have his own restaurant outside of Japan. Shige grew up with little in the country side of Hyogo prefecture and he had a dream of going to culinary school at a young age. He grew up with his mother and three siblings and his first job was a newspaper delivery boy.
Shige went to culinary school in Osaka and went to work at Matsumoto, a five-star traditional Japanese restaurant (Ryotei) in Osaka upon graduating. He worked with 25 chefs in this busy venue where customers would pay $200 - $400 per head. Work-life balance was unimaginable and shifts ranged from 12 to 17 hours 6 to 7 days a week.
In 1984 Shige ventured overseas for the first time in his life at age 28 and arrived in a small quiet town, Perth He worked as a head chef in Fremantle at one of the very few Japanese restaurants that existed in WA, Koto Restaurant. He met his wife here and after a year, went back to Japan and got married. He worked at Member's Hotel in Osaka as a chef for a year and returned back to Perth and this time with a wife and new born son.
In 1986 Shige opened his first restaurant in Perth called Shige Japanese Restaurant. This was located on 822 Hay Street in the heart of the CBD next to His Majesty's Theatre. There were only three Japanese restaurants, including this one, in Perth.
Shige also supplied sushi to department store 'Ahern' back in the mid to late 80s and occasionally performed fish filleting demonstrations at the store.
We continue to serve customers from this restaurant and many say that it was their first time having Japanese cuisine and have loved it ever since.
Ingredients for Japanese cuisine were much more scarce back in 1986 since it was not popular like today. You had to make do with the fresh ingredients you could get at the time thus it was crucial that chefs had extensive knowledge of Japanese cuisine and culinary skills. It is much easier today to buy ingredients, stocks, sauces and other Japanese food for wholesalers.
In 1992 Shige decided to downsize the restaurant from a two-story 100 seater restaurant to a smaller 30 seater restaurant. This shop was called Shige Sushi Bar and it was located in Millstream Shopping Centre in South Perth Mends Street. Many of our regular customers are from this location and we are incredibly grateful for their endless support and friendship.
This restaurant was not licensed however there was a very popular liquor store just meters away which may have been deemed 'dangerous' for some and lead to very fun nights, going back and forth from the liquor store and restaurant.
There was also a travel agency next door, later becoming an iconic café which still runs today. Along the shopping center was also an Italian restaurant, Chinese restaurant, bakery, IGA and small boutiques.
Back in the 90s, Shige Sushi Bar hosted karaoke nights on Saturday from 8:30pm. Customers to this day complain that Shige wouldn't let go of the microphone.
The menu was quite similar to what it is today with only a few modifications which may be the reason why we see customers from this restaurant today.
During the South Perth festival in 2007, Shige did a fish filleting and sushi demonstration down at Mends St Jetty. Free sushi rolls were given out to the public. We also sold sushi rolls on Mends St on Australia Day as people walked past to secure a spot for the Swan River fireworks.
Shige decided to close this shop in July 2011 as rent was increasing. Shige Sushi Bar was replaced by another Japanese restaurant however it had no relation to Shige. Within two years of closing, the Millstream shopping center was demolished and replaced with the beautiful Mends St Arcade.
In 2013 Shige reopened his restaurant in East Perth (current location) near Langley Park, renamed Shige Restaurant. A slightly larger venue than the previous location, this restaurant can seat 40 people including the signature sushi bar. We are licensed and hold one of the greatest Japanese beverages including tap beer, sake, shou-chu and whisky.
The interior was designed by Shige and one of his daughters, going for a minimalistic, bright and simple look which is the standard for Japanese sushi restaurants.
As mentioned earlier, popularity for Japanese cuisine in Perth has risen exponentially and so it has become easier for restaurants to purchase Japanese food from wholesalers. These often contain preservatives, MSG and additives which are high in sodium so it is not healthy and does not do justice for traditional Japanese cuisine.
Shige has trained and worked hard to ensure that his customers are served top quality authentic Japanese cuisine where all stocks are made from scratch and majority of fresh produce are from Western Australia. We import (fresh frozen) oysters and scallops from Japan as they are the best in the world!
Traditional Japanese food is simple yet sophisticated. At Shige Restaurant, we are best known for our fresh sashimi and sushi. Japan used to be a very poor country so food is very sacred. For example when you eat sushi, it is respectable that you can taste the freshness of the fish and only the fish. This is why our sushi is not decorated with any sauces or mayo.
We are also known for our signature teriyaki sauce which is made in-house from scratch. We also sell the concentrated version in a bottle for $5.50. Our teriyaki sauce is light and slightly salty as opposed to the more popular darker, thicker and sweeter fusion.
2020 was an interesting year for everyone and small businesses and we definitely found it challenging with Covid-19.
During the lockdown, which began in March, we continued business as takeaway only. We made some modifications to the menu and made it easier for our customers to take home food by having set menus and donburi rice bowls. For the first month of lockdown, we didn't have sashimi and sushi available as sashimi-grade seafood, which is high in cost, could end up going to waste and this was not feasible nor ethical. However due to many requests and business picking up fast, we decided to put sashimi back on the menu.
In 2021 we continue to adapt to the constantly changing Covid-19 restrictions. The silverlining to this pandemic is that it has brought our relationship with our customers closer than ever. All customers and in particular our regular customers have been our greatest support financially and above all, have provided us with an abundance of love and support.
In December 2021 we will celebrate our 35th Anniversary of Shige Restaurant!