Dinner at Yakimono in 80 Collins St
Yakimono is a stunning addition to the Melbourne culinary scene with it's flame-fired Japanese-inspired cooking and sensory experience. Yakimono is located in the luxe 80 Collins precinct, with a spectacular neon sign out the front in Collins St, and a journey up the stairs to Melbourne's largest kitchen bar (also with two levels of restaurant).
Chef Daniel Wilson (ex Huxtable and Huxtaburger) has already made a huge impression on dining culture in Melbourne (Huxtable transformed Smith St and captivated the dining scene) and his return to the Melbourne scene with Yakimono is a masterstroke. Perch yourself around the kitchen/bar front and centre to the action at a high table, or enjoy dining in the other sections of the restautant, including booths and a private room and outdoor terrace.
I enjoyed a selection of dishes on a Saturday night, dining alone after I'd attended an event. I was struck by the artistic visual appeal with large open high energy kitchen and the visual blue, pink and purple colours of the space, with a vibrant music mix, to create something of a Tokyo party bar vibe. It truly is a sensory fun (and savvy) experience.
Chris Lucas lived in Tokyo for three years and Yakimono draws inspiration from places he visited, as well as Daniel Wilson having his own connection to Japan and Japanese cooking. Modern dining at its best and something we need right now in Melbourne in these times, to be honest.
I was highly impressed with the food at Yakimono; highlights included Edamame & Wasabi Dip with Charcoal Rice Crackers (fun, creative starter); Panko Chicken with sweet chili mayo (bite-sized bliss); Pork & Ginger Gyoza with sansho and parmesan ponzu (perfect with a beer); Raw Tuna sliced thinly with paprika and fermented chili (clever tasty dish); Miso Salmon with purple carrot, pickled ginger yoghurt (a showstopper); Charred Miso Pumpkin with almond and Pepita praline (vegetarians rejoice); Sticks menu including Wagyu Beef Intercostal and Sweet Smoky BBQ Baby Back Rib, as well as Chicken Tsukune with paprika and egg yolk sauce (heart and soul of this restaurant); Butterflied King Prawns with shisho butter and finished with Taberu Rayo (another showstopper); and Mixed Leaf Salad. Food to be enjoyed with Victorian and Japanese beers (as I did) or a wide range of beverages including Japanese-inspired cocktails, sake and Japanese whisky.
Each dish was a triumph of taste and texture, heroing fine ingredients, the best of flame-fired cooking techniques, and a nod to the best of Japan. The high energy kitchen vibe adds to the experience, with a large harmonious team providing a sense of theatre.
Daniel Wilson and Chris Lucas are kicking goals at this sensory-overload Japanese eating house. Highly recommended.