Price – $$
Taste – *****
Website – Kenzan
Sushi, sushi, sushi! Why am I persistently getting recommended sushi in Australia? “This isn’t Tokyo!” is what I thought. Yet, Australia served up the freshest, nutritionally tasting raw fish I’ve ever devoured & Kenzan was up there with the best.
Nestled inside a high rise building off Collins Street, Kenzan symbolised Japanese culture in one petite restaurant. A warming welcome from the hosts is swiftly followed by incomparably helpful table service. It becomes obvious that Japanese culture places emphasis on manners and etiquette learning prior to traditional schooling.
We sat down knowing full well what we wanted on our pallet, SUSHI. As soon as we browsed the menu however, that all changed. Our minds wandered through the potential creations we could have. Dumplings? Calamari? Teriyaki Salmon? A mixture of everything? It was too much for us and so we sourced the assistance of our waitress who went through everything, deciphering what would be best for us and the perfect Sake to accompany our food. We decided on the medium sharing sushi.
Sat in front of the sushi counter, we watched the masters of the craft slice up our dinner. There’s something mesmerising watching sushi been made, or maybe my belly controls my mind… Nevertheless, after seeing our way through the little appetiser kindly provided, we had our platter.
Artistically presented, the food had a lot to live up to. The staff have been great, the ambience was embracing and the Sake was flowing. Starting with the oysters as Mandy detests them, we swallowed them whole. Never have I tasted a fresher, more flavoursome oyster. Even Mandy enjoyed it. The sushi had a variance of fish yet the salmon was a clear winner, tasting inconceivably fresh nestled on it’s cold bed of rice. There was nothing that didn’t taste fresh and the sushi didn’t feel heavy either, like you’d eaten the entire rice field on your sushi endeavour.
Not being a pudding man, I opted out of a sweet. Yet the green tea creme brûlée caught the eye of the lady sat with me. Now that on the offset looks like a peculiar and unappetising combination to me, yet it was wholeheartedly the best dessert I’ve ever tasted. So much so, I had to order one after having a nibble of Mandy’s. It was light and fluffy under the not so overly sweet sugar coating and had an essence of green tea but not so much that it was slurping through your morning caffeine fix. It was a special at the time we went, so if they don’t have it, you’re definitely missing out!!
Surprisingly, we’re not on commission for Kenzan, as this review may suggest! We had a wonderful time here, so much so, we returned on our final few days in Melbourne, sampling the dumplings and other types of sushi which lived up to the previous sitting. Everything was exceptional and although it was slightly pricey, it was acceptable, especially factoring in the service and the quality. If you’re ever in Melbourne, this is most definitely one Japanese restaurant you have to try out.