Banksii and Ume Burger teams open a Japanese pasta bar

Photography: Dom Cherry

Pasta Wafu, one of the first diners in Darling Square’s Maker’s Dozen food hall, is now open.

The brain child of Kerby Craig, owner of Japanese burger chain Ume Burger, and Hamish Ingham and Rebecca Lines, head chef and restaurant manager at Banksii, Pasta Wafu combines Japanese and Italian flavours and techniques in a matrimony of umami. 

Each of the menu’s five handmade pastas costs just $14 or less. The dishes use miso and koji instead of parmesan, sake instead of red wine, and mirin instead of vinegar. There’s bolognese with miso and shiso leaves; spaghetti with marinated cod roe and nori; and spaghetti with miso-butter mushrooms.

Each table is adorned with a tube each of shichimi togarashi seasoning and Tabasco – a very popular condiment for Italian food in Japan.

Craig’s Ume Burger dabbles in the authentic fusion of cuisines with his American-Japanese burgers – something that was born in Japan after the Second World War. He’s also responsible for the Mexican-Japanese menu at the Redfern Surf Club. 

The site, within a spick and spam new food hall inside the new six-storey Exchange building, is aimed at the takeaway lunch crowd, but guests can still perch on a stool with a bowl of pasta, karaage chicken and a glass of sake.