A quick flip of the neon and the installation of a buffet station in front of the bar, and Umi Sushi & Bar has slid into its third incarnation: Umi Sushi & Nabe.
Once dominated by a sushi counter where guests watched chefs work against a glowing blue eight-metre fish tank backdrop, this former flagship seafood specialist was itself an update to the original, eleven-year-old Umi Sushi.
Experienced restaurateurs, Jessie Xiao and Terence Chau, are not really the types who rest on their laurels.
Umi Nabe is an all-you-can-eat Japanese hot pot restaurant, working with a buffet station and individual hot pots that let every guest be in control of their own meal.
Right now, a 90-minute hot pot session will set you back $29.80 for dinner, with an extra fifteen bucks entitling you to unlimited house sake, beer or soft drinks to go with it.
At that price you’ve probably got some leftover coin for some extras, like Crispy Salmon Skin ($7.80).
These crunchy snack-sized, salty bites are the perfect foil for a smooth but slightly tangy Denemon Junmai Ginjo Sake ($33.80/300ml).
Avocados are bang on at the moment, so the Homemade Avocado Salad ($9.80) dripping with black sesame and ponzu dressing is another must-eat.
You could also insert some greenery with Spicy Edamame ($7.80) glistening with a chunky chilli-garlic blend that makes them a messy but worthwhile eating experience.
By dining during the Lunar New Year period (running until February 9) our table was able to enhance our future prosperity with the Great Whirlwind of Feng Shui ($39.88).
This colourful combination of salmon sashimi, mixed vegetables and pickles should be combined at the table with the accompanying dressings by everyone in order to share the future wealth around.
We all picked up our chopsticks and gave it a good toss!
A pretty plate of Wagyu Tataki ($18.80) shows that not has been lost in the switch over to hot pot.
Sushi and sashimi are still very much a part of the offering here.
So is al a carte eating, especially if the idea of loading up a plate at the buffet fills you with horror.
Though there really is a well-presented collection of fresh seafood, including prawns and clams, wood ear fungus, quail eggs, tofu skin, and all your malatang style mystery ball favourites (if you happen to also be a fan of Chinese spicy soup adventures).
For an extra three bucks, you can have your hot pot in two flavours. I went with one half miso that improved as it strengthened and got creamier with pork fat from the icy bowl of mixed meats we ordered.
Pork Neck ($13.80/150 grams) was my favourite in the miso soup, though the heavily marbled Wagyu Karubi MB7+ ($32.80/150 grams) went better in the devil tonkotsu, that's lightly spicy on the back palate with an up-front porky aroma.
Wagyu Tongue ($17.80/150 grams) was fast to cook and enjoyable on either side.
A nicely presented Mixed Vegetable Platter ($12.80) with creamy blocks of tofu, glass noodles, greens, cabbage and mixed mushrooms, is a good way to make sure your meat-fest is a proper dinner. However you choose to dine, you're not going to walk away hungry.
Umi Sushi & Nabe
Shop 1 & 2, 477 Pitt Street, Sydney
Ph: (02) 9281 2006