April 17, 2021

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All Things Delicious

The 10 Ideal Japanese Places to eat in Melbourne

8 min read

Outdoors of the continent alone, is there any nation with a more powerful grasp on Asia’s culinary diversity than Australia? There’s a good deal of proof that the very best Asian foodstuff outdoors of Asia can be uncovered down below. Possibly that is most evident when hunting at the finest Japanese restaurants in Melbourne.

Australia’s 2nd premier metropolis is continually locked in competitors with Sydney for a claim to the country’s finest Japanese foodstuff. And depending who you talk to, the battle is so incredibly one-sided it would be laughable to suggest that the harbour city warrants everything extra than a participation medal. The jury is out on that a single – Sydney has some ridiculously superior Japanese spots – but Melburnians are definitely spoiled for decision. 

The pursuing are the 10 very best Japanese restaurants Melbourne has to give, from large-close, specific-occasion eating, to experimental sketches of classic procedures showcasing just how adaptive they can be.



Minamishima

The extremely-prized king of Melbourne’s loaded Japanese scene hasn’t lost a step immediately after all these years. Minamishima, which opened to relative obscurity on a Richmond backstreet in 2014, is now considered Australia’s greatest sushi-ya and is greatest recognised for a 15-study course omakase that is typically booked out months in advance.

Eponymous operator and Sushi Master Koichi Minamishima, who deftly climbed Japan’s famously hierarchical culinary scene in advance of bringing his knowhow to Melbourne, is ordinarily found standing calmly at the rear of a shiny wooden counter, casually searching up to the 12 diners that encircle him while he slices, shapes, torches and brushes sensitive pieces of nigiri. 

The wider dining space pulls on flavours from other corners of Japanese cuisine, greatest expert through the private dining degustations lavishly made by third-era sushi chef Yoshiki Tano who, like Minamishima adopts Japan’s ‘shokunin’ philosophy of absolute, uncompromising mastery. 

Menus change routinely, but basic flavours you can count on range from Hokkaido king crab and sake-steamed scallops, to butter-tender flounder fin and, for the brave, meticulously organized fugu (puffer fish).

Handle: 4 Lord St, Richmond 
Contact: (03) 9429 5180

Kisumé

From the very same hospitality group guiding informal dining giants like Chin Chin and Hawker Corridor, Kisume was Melbourne’s greatest opening in 2017, both equally in literal and figurative conditions. The a few-degree Flinders Lane cafe dwarfs nearby favourites like Supernormal and Sake, immense in stature and just as ambitious in thought.



Kisume has numerous dining activities in the a person location, all tied collectively with the form of elegant, muted minimalism that completely communicates the no-fuss tactic to fantastic food items and even finer wine. The exquisite 18-program Chef’s Desk encounter is the heart of this offering, at any time-evolving but constantly laser concentrated on expressing Japanese perfection by way of the freshest Australian seafood out there.

Restaurateur Chris Lucas has taken the beverages list just as critically, flying in Jonathan Ross (previously of New York’s top-rated Eleven Madison Park) to guide a formidable wine crew. The outcome is The Chablis, an very easily neat bar home to the greatest collection of the world’s purest chardonnay, together with traditional cocktails and an exploratory assortment of the two whisky and sake. 

Handle: 175 Flinders Ln, Melbourne
Speak to: (03) 9671 4888

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Kenzan

Kenzan is the elder statesman of Melbourne’s Japanese eating places, and just after 4 many years stays just one of the most coveted culinary ordeals in the metropolis. Which is no basic feat in a put like Melbourne, which is well-known for its impressive dining scene and – at the very least ahead of COVID – would see a extremely expected cafe opening just about each and every other week. 

In actuality, without the need of Kenzan, many of the other places to eat on this listing simply just wouldn’t exist. Koichi Minamishima bought his start out listed here, as did Shigeo Yoshihara (of Tempura Hajime) and Kentaro Usami (who is ideal recognised for his perform at Kappo and Izakaya Den). Numerous of Melbourne’s foremost authorities on Japanese delicacies gained their chops right here, no doubt finding out how to craft fragile flavours like signature Chawan Mushi, which a steamed egg and dashi custard with seafood, and prepare Japanese classics like grilled eel with sweet soy sauce on a mattress of correctly textured rice. 

The menu listed here is pretty broad, but the commitment to craft and regular strategies will make it 1 of the city’s most effective showcases of Japanese comfort and ease food items.

Deal with: Collins Spot, 45 Collins St, Melbourne
Make contact with: (03) 9654 8933

Tempura Hajime

Small, with hardly plenty of area for its 12-diner cap, Tempura Hajime mirrors the kind of hidden gem you’d locate if you have been to veer off the neon-washed principal streets of Dotonbori in Osaka. Besides you are in South Melbourne, frantically on the lookout all-around Park Avenue to locate this modest, award-winning eatery.

Hajime is unapologetically substantial-conclusion, with a cost tag to match. It is, following all, the only traditional tempura house in Melbourne. Chef-owner Shigeo Yoshihara bought his commence in Osaka in the course of the mid-90’s, so you are in incredibly knowledgeable arms as the 8 or 10-piece tempura and sushi omakase unfolds together with a wide-ranging record of sake and wine.

Handle: 60 Park St, South Melbourne 
Get hold of: (03) 9696 0051

Ishizuka

Still fairly new on the scene, Ishizuka has confirmed a valuable addition for fans of fantastic Japanese cuisine, targeted on the country’s a lot more classic eating knowledge known as kaiseki. In this article it is all Beluga caviar and poached daikon topped with foie gras preceding leading-grade Wagyu and beautifully textured tuna, wrapped into a set menu that’ll established you back $235pp, and that’s without the need of the selection $120pp wine pairing. 

Like many of Tokyo’s greatest kaiseki dining places, this one particular is also well concealed in a Bourke Road basement, near-extremely hard to discover, help save from a discreet keypad from which you dial in prior to staying granted obtain to the lift. And like people Tokyo eating places, Ishizuka’s philosophy is guided by a “holistic dining experience” that demands nothing brief of perfection and meticulous preparing.

Handle: basement degree b01/139 Bourke St, Melbourne
Contact: (03) 8594 0895

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Hanabishi

Melburnians certain just can’t get ample of large-conclude Japanese dining and Hanabishi fits right into that insatiable demand. Edging off one of the city’s busiest street, staying away from the fuss or structure-forward language as its additional modern competitors, the stalwart eatery focuses solely on the high-quality of its adventurous menu, which lists every thing from pan fried duck dripping with sweet soy, and top quality pork tonkatsu, to Wagyu sukiyaki and an assortment of sushi.

The restaurant also features one of the more economical set menus throughout Melbourne’s greatest Japanese places to eat, touting the $80pp omakase the place chef-operator Akio Soga prepares a five-study course feast with the signature duck dish (explained above) surrounded by various rounds of clean seafood and capped by two desserts.

Tackle: 187 King St, Melbourne
Call: (03) 9670 1167

Cibi

Positioned in an ethereal, gentle-flooded Collingwood warehouse, Cibi is the city’s go-to for uncomplicated Japanese-design breakfasts. The place doubles as a notion retail outlet, operate by husband and spouse Meg and Zenta Tanaka and has been a beloved component of Melbourne’s eating scene for additional than a ten years. The concept has tested so productive, in actuality, that the Tanaka’s have been able to increase Cibi to Tokyo’s Sendagi district, the place it has because observed a related degree of acclaim.

The name, that means ‘little one’ in Japanese, telegraphes the variety of minimalism and simplicity this cafe is hinged upon. Japanese substances are softly blended with Western flavours and Australia’s prime seasonal develop to supply beautifully balanced dishes like the signature huge brekky usually consisting of little grilled salmon fillet, tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette), cherry tomatoes, pickled daikon, greens, a creamy potato salad and softly textured rice garnished with furikake. 

Handle: 33/39 Keele St, Collingwood
Make contact with: 0481 498 686

Kazuki’s

Uprooted from the foothills of Daylesford, Kazuki’s has moved its celebrated tasting menu and opened up in Carlton. Not that the regional place stopped town-dwellers from packing the position each individual working day of the week, provided the restaurant’s higher-top quality develop and meditative pace. 

Chef Kazuki Tsuya channels his childhood developing up in the bountiful Akita prefecture in Northern Japan, positioning provenance as the menu’s driving drive and softly touching conventional Japanese flavours with typical French tactics, very best showcased by the $150pp seven-courser.

Deal with: 121 Lygon St, Carlton
Get in touch with: (03) 9349 2223

WaKenbo 

While owner-chef Kenji Ito clearly praises classic Japanese cooking methods, he usually demonstrates a bold shift beyond these remarkably finessed boundaries. Wonton tortellini loaded with pumpkin and dashi. Green tea-smoked duck breast with duck neck chorizo. Miso and coconut milk braised rabbit served with a marrow raviolo, seared scallop and preserved lemon. All these unconventional dishes have appeared on the Wakenbo menu around the decades, setting up up a fine track record for harmonious crossings involving Japanese and Western palates.

Ito has a record deeply rooted in Tokyo’s Ginza district, perfecting the classic cuisine precise to Kyoto right before shifting onto Adelaide in the late 90s. It was there the place he manufactured a big influence on Australia’s now ravenous hunger for experimental Japanese by opening Kenji Fashionable Japanese, swiftly forming a legacy which flows by this trendy Fitzroy restaurant. If you’re wanting for some thing unique, this is the greatest put to start off and without doubt 1 of the greatest Japanese places to eat in Melbourne.

Deal with: 69 Victoria St, Fitzroy
Call: (03) 9041 9495

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Nobu

The Nobu legacy is one particular of legend groundbreaking and unimpeachable when it will come to shaping the world wide urge for food for modern day Japanese delicacies. At its main, the renowned manufacturer is created on the idea of Nikkei, which is the exceptional cross-section of Peruvian and Japanese flavours that motivated founder Nobu Matsuhisa in the mid-90s. Now, Nobu is a international pressure and can be discovered in no considerably less than 48 towns, professing popular expressions in affluent destinations like Monte Carlo, Milan and, of study course, Tokyo.

Melbourne has Australia’s only Nobu to date, equipped into the basement of the Crown with a loud, seductive atmosphere and a relentless kitchen regularly serving out significant-good quality sushi, ceviche-style seafood dishes, and 9+ Wagyu. The menu is much more various in its preferences than the normal top quality Japanese eatery, scanning global flavours to satisfy an infinite rotation of high-rolling regulars. It may be ubiquitous and showy, compared to the other places in this checklist, but there is no mistaking that Nobu is amongst the best Japanese eating places in Melbourne.

Handle: Crown Riverwalk, Crown Melbourne, 8 Whiteman St, Southbank
Contact: (03) 9292 5777

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