You buzz the intercom for B01 and the door swings open. Down some stairs, around a corner, and suddenly you’re in Melbourne’s hottest new Japanese restaurant—a matte black, 16-seat Kaiseki bar from acclaimed chef Tomotaka Ishizuka.
Trust us when we say: Japanese doesn’t get much fancier than this. Kaiseki is the Japanese version of haute cuisine. It’s only practiced by the country’s most experienced culinary masters. Ishizuka isn’t the sort of place where you order up salmon sashimi and a side of teriyaki chicken—each night chef Ishizuka prepares a seasonal 11-course set menu for 16 extremely lucky diners.
You might start with an amuse-bouche of sea urchin and spanner crab, followed by Zensai, which means ‘small pretty things’ – five intricate delicacies like cured ocean trout sushi and boiled black tiger prawns with caviar. For mains? Maybe red bream and Mayura Wagyu, or a simmered duck breast and truffled soba. Told you—fancy AF.
Everything in this place has been thought out and considered, down to the last detail. The tableware was custom-made by Kyoto ceramics masters Shigeo and Yotaro Takumura. The wine list was hand-picked by award-winning sommelier David Lawler (of Rockpool and Spice Temple fame). The uber-mod fit-out was designed by Melbourne-based firm Russell & George.
Obvs this place isn’t an everyday eats sort of venue. The food and the price tag scream ‘special occasion’. But special is definitely the word: if Kisume changed Japanese dining in 2017, Ishizuka is the city’s next culinary evolution. An exclusive underground food temple—secretive, precise and bloody delicious.
Image credit: Ishizuka