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9° & CLOUDY ON WEDNESDAY 17 JULY IN MELBOURNE
By Libby Curran
January 19, 2018
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Ishizuka

The eatery specialises in a balanced kaiseki by acclaimed Japanese chef Tomotaka Ishizuka.
By Libby Curran
January 19, 2018
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BOOK A TABLE

It's the Japanese fine dining experience characterised by intricately plated dishes, an intimate setting, and a produce-led menu that celebrates that perfect balance of taste, texture and precision. But we bet you've never experienced the concept of kaiseki quite like you will at Ishizuka, a contemporary 16-seat restaurant from famed chef Tomotaka Ishizuka, situated in Melbourne's CBD.

The subterranean Bourke Street restaurant is only tiny, but delivers big things in the flavour department, as Tomotaka delivers an expert interpretation of one of Japan's most respected culinary traditions.

As is custom, Ishizuka's food offering is built around respect for fresh, seasonal produce and served with a healthy side of theatre. The oft-changing set menu of 11 dishes is both refined and experimental  — think an amuse-bouche of spanner crab and sea urchin, followed by delicate sashimi creations, an assembly of soba seeds, truffle and quail egg, and a grilled piece of Mayura wagyu. A course of zensai (or small pretty things) features five petite delicacies, like boiled black tiger prawn with caviar, or cured ocean trout sushi. Of course, this doesn't come cheap — the kaiseki menu will cost $215 per diner, and an additional $110 for drink pairings.

And the artful arrangements don't end with the food. Providing a fittingly dramatic backdrop to Ishizuka's culinary offerings is an avant-garde space courtesy of acclaimed design practice Russell & George. Custom-made tableware by Kyoto ceramicists Shigeo and Yotaro Takemura help bring Tomotaka's food to life, while a drinks list by award-winning sommelier David Lawler (Spice Temple, Rockpool) will change regularly to complement the culinary delights coming from the kitchen.

Images: Eve Wilson and Felix Forest. 

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