Itameshi

CONTACT

4 Williamson Avenue
Grey Lynn, 1021
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closed

Opening Hours

SUN 8:00am - 4:00pm
MON 7:30am - 3:00pm
TUE 7:30am - 3:00pm
  5:00pm - 10:00pm
WED 7:30am - 3:00pm
  5:00pm - 10:00pm
THU 7:30am - 10:00pm
FRI 7:30am - 10:00pm
SAT 8:00am - 8:00pm

The Details

Cuisine
  • Italian
  • Japanese
Need to Know
  • Gluten-Free
  • Good for Groups
  • Great for Dates
Serving
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

The Verdict

The wonderful world of Japanese-Italian cuisine has just landed in Ponsonby. The name ‘Itameshi’ is the Japanese word for Italian food and, in essence, that’s exactly what’s being served. While you could call it ‘fusion’, a word that’s become a catch-all phrase for culinary eclecticism (which there’s nothing wrong with, by the way), we hesitate to do so—as Itameshi’s menu, created by 30-year-old chef Roy Yu, is elevated in a way we’ve never seen before. 

Fitted out by the iconic atmosphere-shaping hospitality design studio, Millé, Itameshi is on Williamson Avenue right next door to Countdown, not that you’d notice you were a wall away from the hustle and bustle of the supermarket.

A palette of dark greens and browns, punctuated with Japanese art, creates a sense of spacious lightness and serenity—quite the 360 from the grunge-glam vibes of its predecessor, Banziha.  

The restaurant is making its debut with a brunch menu to froth over, with a top-tier dinner service to follow. Here’s where we’d suggest starting.

A surefire Gram-magnet, matcha green tea hot cakes are a sensation in both flavour and height—stacked three high and topped with a strawberry mascarpone whip, the dish has some serious lift. The perfect balance of sweet and savoury, these babies come with fresh fruit and a drizzle of maple butter that’ll slap a goofy grin on your face. Add bacon if that’s your jam. 

Another must-devour is a dish known simply, and enigmatically, as ‘Mushroom’. Summon a plate to your table and you’ll receive creamy mushrooms on bread (white, focaccia, sourdough or gluten-free) accompanied by dollops of deeply umami mushroom paté, exquisite lemon ricotta, and tempura oyster mushrooms. Spring onions and a lightly-fried basil leaf bring a pop of green. 

The rest of the brunch menu is equally impressive and includes the likes of marinated egg on miso avocado toast, curry udon with roasted vegetables, and two showstopping sandos—yuzu-spiked unagi scrambled eggs, and karaage fried chicken—among others. 

Just as much care has gone into the beverages list, too, with coffee, matcha and Noble & Sunday tea; a trio of deliciously thick and refreshing smoothies; and a black sesame latte that’s absolutely gorgeous. After something with a bit of a kick? There’s a veritable rainbow of cocktails and a curated wine list. Tastebuds at the ready. 

As for that dinner menu to come, let’s just say you’re in for a treat. Think: tender ribeye steak with pickled cherry pepper and parmesan cheese, torched scampi on fresh pear and fennel salad, Sicilian sashimi in a vibrant parsley oil, and more. Our recommendation? Wrap your mouth around all of the above and, for the love of good food, don’t miss the silky, butter-poached lobster bisque over pasta with pinenuts and masago chives. We’ll be dreaming about that one for months to come.

Image credit: Besa Social | Vanessa Zhao