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Chris Lucas's three storeys of Japanese grandeur in the heart of Melbourne.
By Caterina Hrysomallis
July 01, 2023
By Caterina Hrysomallis
July 01, 2023

The simplest way to describe Kisumé may be this: three storeys of considered grandeur. Its design is impressive — a Chablis bar, a Kisumé Winewall, avant-garde art — and considered attention to detail travels throughout the three levels, from the menu down to the nifty coin-sized refreshment towels that entertainingly expand when you open them.

The space, conceived by Australian firm Wood Marsh, unites sophisticated clean lines and a monochromatic palette of buffed metal and leather banquettes. The design of Kisumé doesn't scream Japanese restaurant, just cleverly hints at it, from the touches of red to Nobuyoshi Araki's provocative photographs of Japanese women.

A glass of wine next to a plate which presents a small portion of a Japanese dish served at Kisumé, Melbourne.

Raw fish dishes are all elegant and mostly restrained, allowing the quality of the (well-sourced) produce to speak for itself. But some border on over-the-top, with gold leaves and teaspoons of caviar. The raw dishes' vivid flavours would imaginably hit a fair few diners with the realisation of "wow, this is what tuna really tastes like".

Unlike a slew of Melbourne restaurants, that have stepped away from reservations for walk-ins only, Kisumé takes reservations for all group sizes. You can also pick your location from the private room, the Chablis Bar, the sushi bar, the restaurant and the Table — a 12-person dinner.

The restaurant has a mix of incredibly passionate waitstaff, with impressive knowledge of the menu, making exploring the long menu all too easy. Expect to pay handsomely for your night out at Kisumé, but rest assured it's well and truly worth it.

A chef using a pair of chopsticks to place a garnish onto of sliced raw fish at Kisumé is melbourne - Japanese restaurants with lots of seafood.

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