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Shira Nui

The interiors might be underwhelming but the food is anything but.
By Gary Brun
September 01, 2023
By Gary Brun
September 01, 2023

If you plan to head to Shira Nui, be sure to book ahead, as this place often has a waiting list a month in advance. Opened twenty years ago by chef and owner Hiro Nishikura, Shira Nui is the type of restaurant where looks can be deceiving. Consistently considered in the top two or three Japanese restaurants in all of Melbourne, the humble interior of the restaurant serves to highlight the quality of the food while not overwhelming it. This place is serious about food yet fun and charming, with chef Hiro the life of the party.

It's famous for its grilled oysters, and the bento boxes are favourites among locals, but you really can't go past the sushi and sashimi. The sushi selection includes salad rolls for vegetarians, California rolls, pan-fried salmon and even oyster sushi on request.

But if you're after something more substantial, try the seared salmons served with a powerful shichimi powder, which is only lightly seared so the middle is still raw. Alternatively, the yakiniku beef with rice, scallions, and sauce is a delight. Be sure to follow the soya or no soya rules here, as the chefs have put a lot of thought into how the meals should be eaten, and remember each piece of sashimi is cut just to size to be the perfect mouthful. 

Pair it all with a few rounds of sake, and you'll be in for a delightful night out at Shira Nui — that is if you can get a seat.

You can only book by phone so make sure you plan accordingly.

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