Melbourne's small-but-mighty Kappo has closed it doors for good, though the owners — who also run fellow Japanese hot-spots Izakaya Den and Hihou — aren't done with the Flinders Lane space just yet. They've opened Master Den's Poppu Uppu, a Japanese-style hot pot pop-up.
Open for a limited time, the eatery is set to gift Melburnians with a truly winter-worthy dining experience, riffing on Japan's traditional 'nabemono' comfort food. Each hot pot arrives at the table, is filled with aromatic broth and left to simmer, before proteins and veggies are added gradually to cook, right there in front of you. The DIY bowls are finished with handmade noodles, crafted by udon specialist — and Izakaya Den head chef — Yosuke Furukawa.
And the Master Den's Poppu Uppu team has created signature versions of classic Japanese hot pot varieties to cosy up to this winter. A Hokkaido-style 'seafood nabe' features a light miso broth, to be loaded with local mussels, Tasmanian salmon and perhaps a few Harvey Bay scallops, while the shabu shabu might see you adding succulent pieces of wagyu rump, topside and sirloin to a rich, konbu-flavoured broth.
You'll also spy a clever range of snacks, including coffee-cured salmon sashimi and sansho pepper edamame, plus a cameo appearance by sister restaurant Hihou's famed fried chicken.
Of course, that Hihou connection also translates to a pretty standout drinks offering. There'll be crafty cocktails — including a negroni-style number dubbed the Kitano Beat — a tight, but on-trend selection of wines curated by award-winning sommelier Raffaele Mastrovincenzo, sake and craft beers, all chosen to complement the various hot pot broths.
This is technically a pop-up, so it won't be around forever. We're not sure when it will close yet, but it's best that you get there before it does.
Images: Griffin Simm.