Premium Australian and Japanese ingredients, turned into a 12-seater, edible show.
MENU HIGHLIGHTS White chocolate mochi; foie gras and toro choux; mud crab and sea urchin rice VALUE 8.5/10 AMBIANCE Happy, enthusiastic, modern Japanese mastery SERVICE Ideal WOULD I GO BACK? Not in the near future
I am not going to write this up as a full review, because an omakase is a series of bite-sized courses which change dramatically with the seasons, and even between each service. For descriptions and comments on the dishes, see the image captions below.
I nonetheless have some overarching comments to make about Kisume. First and foremost, the chef’s table is a totally different experience to the menu offered at the ‘normal’ restaurant downstairs. The chef’s table experience is called Kuro Kisume. Only twelve people sit around a shared table served by a professional Japanese chef all night. You will have a far better experience if you are a social person, and are able to enjoy meeting new people in between courses (I went alone, and loved it). There’s a lot of theatre involved, and it was definitely the most fun ‘experience’ I had out of all the restaurants I visited in Melbourne (more like an activity, than eating). It cost $195 per person, and is Kisume’s take on an omakase. This included one free cup of Saké. Most people did the Saké pairing, which cost an extra $95, but, as usual, half of them were falling off their chairs at the end, and I wondered why they bothered to pay for an experience which requires attention and immersion.
Having said that, the cocktail list was superb. Upon arrival, I was led upstairs to wait at a bar before our dinner. I had a tough time making a choice, but a tonka bean cocktail was a worthwhile investment.
I came away from the experience awed and satisfied. It was very good value. The dishes at Kuro Kisume are amazing, but they don’t leave you with a strong enough memory to hanker after a return visit (except for the UNREAL mochi). Before this meal, I hated mochi.
You should definitely take a look at my Instagram highlights to see videos of the chef serving all of this up.