The Bunda Street location formerly known as Kokomo's reopens on Friday as the restaurant's new incarnation, Wilma.
A progressive Asian barbecue restaurant, Wilma sees esteemed Australian chef and restaurateur, James Viles - known for his two-hatted Biota Dining in Bowral - and head chef Brendan Hill, bring primitive cooking methods to the heart of Canberra's CBD.
The 200-plus capacity restaurant will focus on barbecuing using coals and wood fire to maximise flavour.
It will also be burning wood in an offset smoker and coals in a custom-made, two-tier konro yakitori grill, weighing more than half-a-tonne and made out of black steel by a local blacksmith.
Mr Viles said the style of cooking not only infused the flavour of the natural Australian timbers used, but it was a more honest way of preparing a meal.
"The chefs are more in tune with what they're cooking, because they're cooking over coals, and they've got to focus on everything that they're doing," he said.
"They need to be feeding the fire that they cook with, they're not just turning on the gas ... so it gives them some engagement in what they're doing. That's the first and foremost thing.
"And then the second thing is, as a customer, because it's such an open kitchen - you can sit at the kitchen counter, now - you can see all of that happening."
As well as yakitori, the barbecue section will see the likes of roasted duck, char siu pork and a chilli beef short rib finished over the coals and then glazed. The char siu pork will use the same cut of pork and flavours traditionally used, but instead of doing it in an oven, it will be done in an offset smoker, which keeps in the moisture and adds a layer of extra flavour.
Wilma will also be home to a live raw bar, with chefs slicing sashimi and shucking oysters in front of diners.
The fish frames leftover from the sashimi bar will also be used to make "wastage XO sauce" which goes to make Mr Viles' favourite dish on the menu, XO pippis - a great example of the central Asian influences on the menu.
"I worked in central Asia - Hong Kong, Shanghai, a lot of different places - over the last 26 years, and it's a cuisine that we all love to eat, especially in Australia," Mr Viles said.
"But we're just doing it our way, and we've just swapped it up a little bit. I can't take all the credit for it all. Brendan, as the head chef, has put something together that's spectacular. I've only been in Canberra for six months, but I haven't yet seen something in Canberra at this scale and this diverse."
For those who are just looking for a drink after work, Wilma's sister bar, The Pearl, is inside the restaurant, featuring Asian-inspired cocktails such as an Osaka old-fashioned and lychee dragonfruit margarita, along with a bar menu, featuring scallop prawn tartare, snag sanga and Wilma's emperor tarts.
The new restaurant and bar comes after Mr Viles began overseeing the popular Asian street food menu at Akiba and opened Mexican restaurant Loquita in Garema Place earlier this year.
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