16 Sep Izakaya Kuuraku, Melbourne CBD
Izakaya Kuuraku is one of the newest Japanese places in town, and it serves a huge range of food and drinks. The chicken confit is done quite well. The breast meat is not dry, and my personal favourite of the two accompanying sauces is the basil, though the fried garlic chilli sauce is also very tasty. The Kama-Yaki – grilled Kingfish cheek with lime and radish – comes with all the glorious moist and fatty bits of meat that make fish cheek so appetising. Mixing the radish with ponzu creates a sauce that cuts through the fattiness of the protein.
Up next is a selection of yakitori. They’re all handled with care, each sufficiently seasoned and exhibiting a nice amount of char. The proteins are tender, even the kingfish. Of the yakitori we try, our pick is the Aspara Maki – asparagus wrapped in slices of pork belly.
Their Ebi Crunchy Roll is indeed crunchy, and worth ordering if you like tempura. The Unagi Kabayaki is fragile to handle because of the cucumber that’s placed mid-way through the rice, but they are very tasty morsels.
Izakaya Kuuraku has also recently introduced more wagyu items on their menu, including seared Wagyu Sushi, and Slow-Cooked Wagyu Beef Stew. The sushi is seared at the table, and the wagyu, cooked medium-rare for us, is supple. The beef in the stew is a tad dry today, but for those who like a bit of sweetness in their stews, it could be an interesting proposition.
Dessert includes a firm New York-style Yuzu Cheesecake with berry compote, and our favourite, the smooth Matcha Pudding with its strong matcha flavours.
Izakaya Kuuraku will be refining and condensing their menu over the coming months, which will allow them to focus in on their strengths.
Disclaimer: I was invited to Izakaya Kuuraku as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own, and are based on my experience at the time.
131-135 Bourke St
Melbourne, VIC, 3000
(03) 9939 1516