The pinnacle of Japanese cuisine, Kaiseki is an elaborate, multi-course dining experience that emphasises quality and seasonal produce to showcase its exceptional culinary artistic style. Melbourne’s most exclusive Kaiseki Japanese restaurant, Ishizuka, during winter, honours the cold seasonal change with its ten-course winter menu, created by Head Chef Hitoshi Miyazawa.

Highlights for this winter include delicate offerings like the warm and wholesome Sakizuke – cauliflower and soy milk sauce, scampi Jelly, spanner crab and caviar; Sakisui – saikyo miso, lobster tail, umeboshi mochi balls and egg yolk – a protein-rich course with remarkable visual design; and the wintery snow covered treasure box discovery plate (our hero pic), Zenzai – yuzu castella, calamari, scampi, salmon, grilled mackerel, sticky rice and duck breast.

The inclusion of white-fleshed seafood and smokey charcoal flavours is a focus of the new season menu. In addition, the new Mushimono dish – a harmonious pairing of turnip and snapper – combines to create a gentle earthy depth pairing to the sweet cleanliness of the fish. It is served with a umami hit of wasabi bonito sauce. Hitoshi also includes his take on a traditional Japanese wintertime dessert, ‘Kanmi’, including plain mochi – a gentler incarnation of a marshmallow made from pounded rice – guests are invited to grill on their own ceramic hibachi (table grill) under hot coals. It is served with red bean soup and kinako (roasted soy flour).

Sakizuke – Cauliflower and Soy Milk Sauce, Scampi Jelly, Spanner Crab and Caviar
Mushimono – Snapper, Turnip, Black Funghi with Lotus Root & Wasabi Bonito Sauce

Diners at Ishizuka can sip award-winning drink pairings with David Lawler’s bespoke wine list, which won Best Small List (50 Wines) for the third year in a row at Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards last year; with each drink chosen for its lightness, finesse and purity.

‘We chose these pairings for their sensitivity to the cuisine. These refined and elegant expressions of wine, sake, and spirits provide a platform to showcase the detail and finesse of the menu. Our selection is harmonious with the food,’ says David Lawler.

In addition to Haute Japanese cuisine, Ishizuka is renowned for its exceptional service in its intimate 16-seat dining room. Led by Restaurant Manager Louise Naimo – previously maitre’d at IDES restaurant (Collingwood, Melbourne) and runner-up in the Appetite for Excellence‘s Young Waiter of the Year – expect service as refined as the kaiseki courses you will discover.

Sakisui – Saikyo Miso, Lobster Tail, Umeboshi Mochi Balls & Egg Yolk
Ishizuka Melbourne

Finding Ishizuka

A secret within Melbourne’s city centre, Ishizuka is genuinely hard to find. It’s down a laneway off Bourke Street that seems to become invisible when you start looking for it. Once you find it, you punch a code into a buzzer in a nondescript apartment building, walk through a set of doors, and then take a lift to the basement, where a series of identical featureless doors confront you. One has the word Ishizuka painted onto a strip of wood next to it. Walk through it, and step into a world so beautiful and different that it feels like you have moved through time and space.

Designed by esteemed architecture and design practice Russell & George, Ishizuka was awarded Restaurant of the Year at the 2019 Frame Awards in Amsterdam, International Winner in the Australia & Pacific Restaurant category at the prestigious Restaurant & Bar Design Awards in London, and Restaurant Design of the Year at the 2018 Eat Drink Design Awards in Melbourne.

Open for dinner Tuesday to Sunday, 5.30-10pm, closed Mondays.
Basement B01, 139 Bourke Street,
Melbourne Victoria
Tel 03 8594 0895

Comments are closed.