Home to excellent a la carte Japanese eats, omakase experiences and a private dining room with immersive visual projections.
July 01, 2023
Tucked away in Flinders Lane is one of the most striking dining rooms in all of Melbourne. Think black granite, dim lighting, sleek leather furniture and a dazzling, illuminated red ribbon streaking through the room from the ceiling. The thread has significance in Japanese mythology around the idea of two people meeting — and we'd agree there's probably nowhere better in the city to bring a cute date. They'll be thoroughly impressed.
Akaiito offers an a la carte menu as well as the option for omakase. Omakase translates to "I'll leave it to you," with the idea being you trust the chef to decide and prepare your multi-course meal. With that in mind, it isn't possible to guide you through what you will be having, as it changes on a whim with whatever is freshest at the moment. But that being said, we can speak to some past creations at Akaiito.
Its omakase dishes may include something like smoked Spanish mackerel with wasabi, daikon and truffle ponzu; spanner crab chawanmushi with aged pork dashi, foie gras and truffle and appellation oysters with watermelon and native sea herbs. Heavier options might include seven-day dry-aged duck with caramelised fig, oyster mushrooms and smoked butter or MB9+ wagyu striploin with baked turnip and truffle jus. For dessert, imagine something like a guava sorbet with lacto-fermented strawberry, quince, native liquor, honey palm and raspberry meringue. If you're vegetarian, don't fret. Akaiito also offers an entirely vegetarian omakase menu with plenty of tempura on offer.
Compared to some of the more elaborate omakase experiences in Melbourne, Akaiito's is on the smaller end. You can choose from either a five or a seven-course experience rather than the 20-plus courses found elsewhere. This makes it a cheaper and more approachable experience for those of us on a budget.
But if you book the private dining room, you can go full decadence. The Tsukiyo Dining Room is equipped with projectors that shine down scenes of nature onto the table and surrounding walls. The visuals are made to work with the dishes served, so you can start off by eating under the moonlight and end in a field of flowers. It is one of the most unique private dining rooms in Melbourne and fits from six to 12 people. Do consider this space in Akaiito if you want to pair your Japanese eats with some theatrics.
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