If you’re looking for some elite Japanese food, look no further than Wa Kenbo, the newly opened Japanese fusion restaurant in Fitzroy from Chef Kenji.
Kenji has an impressive resume; born in Japan, he studied at Tsuji Culinary Institute in Tokyo, Japan, before moving to Adelaide in 1999. Here he honed his skills across a range of cuisines, including western and winery.
In 2006, Chef Kenji opened his first restaurant in Adelaide—Kenji Modern Japanese. The Japanese fusion menu was an instant hit—it gained a loyal following and has won multiple awards.
In 2017 Kenji made the move to Melbourne and shortly after opened Wa Kenbo.
Set in the back streets of Fitzroy, Kenji chose to come to Melbourne to challenge himself. “I’ve often visited Melbourne and loved the food here. I moved here because I’m looking for the challenge of a big city, I want Wa Kenbo to be one of many great restaurants - not the number one restaurant” says Kenji.
Formerly a café, the space has been transformed, and the attention to detail is the first thing you notice. Mood lighting, textured tiles and a beautiful marble top – every aspect of Wa Kenbo is contemporary and modern, with each detail thoughtfully arranged.
The menu uses refined Japanese techniques on both Australian and Japanese ingredients, including vegetables and herbs that Kenji grows at home.
With a small booze menu designed by Kenji’s wife Norika, Wa Kenbo puts the focus on food. The innovative and progressive menu is made up of dishes that Kenji shops for daily. Seafood makes up a large portion of the menu; Tasmanian Sea Urchin Tempura, freshly shucked Pacific oysters, marinated Sumiyaki octopus and Tataki tuna carpaccio, are just a few of the incredible seafood dishes.
Other amazing dishes include; Hoji tea-smoked duck breast, duck neck Chorizo, soy-soaked grilled Shishito, pickled quandong and Sansho peppercorn jus and the slow-cooked Kuro-buta pork belly with steamed Hakusai pork roll, shiitake, crackling, Shichimi pepper-pickled Nashi pear – this one was Kenji’s signature dish in his Adelaide restaurant.
For dessert, we suggest the Japanese style crème caramel but let’s be honest, any choice from the dessert menu will be delectable.
Image credit: supplied