25 Mar Ichi Ichi Ku, South Yarra
Right on the edges of South Yarra, Ichi Ichi Ku has been an often-talked about Japanese restaurant that seems to be a favourite amongst many. They serve a Japanese-influenced breakfast menu in the mornings, but we visit for lunch. The interior is small, very cosy, and has an authentic izakaya type vibe.
Though not quite matching with the rest of our lunch, I want to try their matcha latte. It’s not quite as sweet as others I’ve tried, and there is a nice balance of sweet and bitterness.
The nasu dengaku is done as skewers. The smaller surface area means there’s more caramelisation to enjoy, and there’s almost a banana-like flavour to it. Very smokey, very melty eggplant, with smack-in-the-mouth flavours from the dengaku paste.
Mum, still experiencing udon cravings, orders the chicken udon. First pan-fried before being added in, the chicken is slightly browned and nicely cooked. Fish cakes, wakame and shiitake add further variety to the bowl. The noodles are lusciously smooth, and the umami in the broth is not overpowering. Cravings satisfied.
Apart from the udon, another reason we visit for lunch is because I absolutely love sushi. We try their signature Ichi Ni Roll, with lobster, avocado and cucumber making up the filling in the inside out brown rice roll. As if that isn’t enough, the whole thing is topped with seared salmon and Japanese mayonnaise. We can really taste the flavours from each ingredient. Delicious.
The Dragon Roll is next, with seared tuna, cucumber, avocado, tobiko, mayonnaise, chilli sauce, spring onion and brown rice. Interestingly all their sushi is made with brown rice, but it’s done such that there’s enough interest from the extra chew and nuttiness, but not so much that it becomes an unpleasant chore to eat, distracting from the freshness of the smooth slivers of seafood. Although the Ichi Ni Roll is full of luxurious ingredients, the Dragon Roll is actually my favourite of the two.
The waitress tries to coax us into having some of their popular banoffee, or their chocolate harumaki (chocolate-filled cigar), but we’re too full to fit anything else in, or rather, I’d probably be the one having to finish everything.
Right next to the Botanical Gardens, you can burn off your feast with a run around the tan, or do takeaway and enjoy at the park. Ichi Ichi Ku also offers catering and an online ordering service for takeaway. It’s a pity I live too far away for delivery, because I’ll be adding it to my list of favourites too.
Ichi Ichi Ku
119 Park St
South Yarra, VIC, 3141
(03) 9820 9119