This modern chef's table-style menu in South Yarra is an intimate, sumptuous experience that celebrates the creative and the contemporary.
August 28, 2023
Melbourne has fallen a little in love with omakase, a Japanese philosophy derived from the phrase 'leave it to the chef'. From omakase served in subterranean spaces to untraditional, flame-filled menus — omakase is certainly having a moment in Melbourne. Carving out its own unique offering is Aoi Tsuki, a pint-sized, 12-seat omakase bar nestled on a busy section of Punt Road.
Traditional Japanese, this is not. But, for head chefs Tei Gim and Jun Pak, this is the best way to enjoy food — a regularly rotating 20-course menu, underpinned by a deep respect for seasonality. It's an intimate, sumptuous experience that celebrates the creative and the contemporary — without pretension.
When Concrete Playground visited, the culinary lineup ran to the likes of a well-balanced Miyagi oyster, chawanmushi refreshed with spanner crab, and a standout abalone dish paired with a thick, rich abalone sauce and vinegar-spiked rice. The highlight of this smart exploration of contemporary Japanese comes in the form of a nigiri series: ika (squid) dusted with lime zest, two-day dry-aged snapper from New Zealand and bluefin tuna marinated in soy, laid upon expertly-crafted sushi rice.
Tuna belly is elevated with caviar, thinly-sliced wagyu is paired with shavings of foie gras, and a swordfish nigiri stars fermented yuzu chilli. Also of particular note: a clever execution of seared paradise prawns, along with grilled Hokkaido scallops married with miso cream.
Aoi Tsuki's experiential dining adventure clocks in at $235 per person, with a paired sake flight or a tidy drinks menu available to add on.
Images: Griffin Simm, Tran Nguyen, supplied.
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