The sign out the front of Shinoki says ‘Modern Japanese’, which makes sense when you know the man running the pass.
Chef Daisuke Miyake grew up in Kyoto, watching episodes of Iron Chef and cutting his teeth at the famous restaurants like Shimogamo Saryo. A few years ago he landed in Aus, working at the award-winning Ten, in Broadbeach, QLD. Over the years he’s gained a rep for cutting-edge techniques, creative flair and artistic plating. Basically—don’t expect salmon sushi rolls.
Now Daisuke has set up shop in South Yarra, opening Shinoki in late 2017
There’s a sweet serenity inside Shinoki. The timber slats over the front window offer a little privacy from Toorak Rd. One whole wall is painted canary yellow, and the other surfaces are patterned with carved bamboo relief. There’s even cherry blossom murals on the ceiling. The big timber sashimi bar runs the length of the venue—you can sit up here and watch the blades at work, slicing delicate nigiri slices or arranging Omakase set menus.
You can order a la carte here, but really it’s better to trust Daisuke and his team. The 4-course ‘ichi ju sansai’ menu will set you back $65 and features Hassan (assorted appetisers—maybe a truffled miso tofu, or light Chawanmushi egg puddings), plus a chef’s selection of soups, seasonal mains and sashimi. Think rare grilled ocean trout with anchovies, tomato and butter. Or squid-ink prawn tempura, topped with black salt.
If in doubt? Go the Sushi Kaiseki set. It’s $95pp, which isn’t cheap, but you get 7-courses of some of the most beautiful Japanese cuisine outside Kisume. Then there’s the dessert. Maybe a little Shinoki-style matcha ice cream? Or a French twist—gateau au hoji tea with white chocolate. Sinfully rich, but who cares.
Thirsty? Shinoki has an epic range of sakes and Japanese rice wines (just ask Daisuke to recommend something to match the meal). And of course you can get your usual suspects—plus your usual beer suspects like Kirin and Asahi.
The word Shinoki actually means ‘four seasons’, and there’s a definite seasonal vibe going on. It’s hard to review the menu because Daisuke changes it so often. Best just to rock up, sit at the bar, and try a bit of everything. You won’t regret it.
Image credit: Jenna Fahey-White