Re­view

An­thony Huck­step puts him­self in the chef’s hands at Mel­bourne’s Kisumé, and en­joys an omakase jour­ney of pure plea­sure.

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Pure mas­tery on show at Kisumé.

I WAS HAV­ING A mo­ment. Half­way through Kisumé’s omakase (chef’s choice) menu, the sweet, salty joy of the sea was swirling around my mouth thanks to chef K.S. Moon’s ‘scal­lop sand­wich’ (a mouth­ful of raw scal­lop, sea urchin, sushi rice and nori). Then two sil­ver-haired gents ar­rived at Kisumé’s sushi counter. One looked dis­tracted, the other was talk­ing far too loudly on his phone. “I’m in that place I told you about. It’s pretty good sushi, we’ll have to come here.”

I agree they should, but I also think he should hang up and ap­pre­ci­ate just how good the sushi re­ally is. True, un­like the omakase at fel­low Mel­bourne Ja­panese fine-diner Mi­namishima, Kisumé’s didn’t bring me to tears of joy. That is not to di­min­ish what is go­ing on here. Where Mi­namishima ben­e­fits from its Zen-like tran­quil­lity, Kisumé’s ap­peal is in its en­er­getic en­thu­si­asm. The omakase at both are out­stand­ing.

But, be­fore I ex­pand on that, there are many ways to ex­pe­ri­ence Kisumé.

The three-level Flin­ders Lane eatery is from the Lu­cas Group (Chin Chin, Baby, Hawker Hall, Kong BBQ), mark­ing the Group’s move into the more pointy end of din­ing. It’s sleek, smart and min­i­mal­is­tic, with pale-tim­ber floor­ing, soft leather ban­quettes and pro­vok­ing im­agery by Ja­panese pho­tog­ra­pher Nobuyoshi Araki.

The base­ment houses a hot kitchen where the menu strad­dles fu­sion such as crisp pork kim­chi gy­oza and flat­head with wasabi yo­ghurt. On the ground floor, sushi chefs stand be­fore a wall of Ky­oto-made knives, wield­ing them like sashimi sa­mu­rai. The top floor, called ‘Kiro Kisumé’, has the Ch­ablis Bar, pri­vate din­ing and The Ta­ble – a be­spoke omakase- style eat­ing ex­pe­ri­ence with Chef Moon and 11 of your chums. And with som­me­lier Jonathan Ross (ex-Eleven Madi­son Park) on the floor, work­ing your way through the ex­ten­sive sake and wine list is a breeze.

But, back to that omakase. Sushi starts with the rice, and Moon’s is tex­tu­ral, not too bind­ing and blood warm. King­fish belly is sliced in a criss-cross. Bonito is smoked and paired with yuzu and gar­lic. Firm garfish is sliced and braided on rice. Al­fon­sino col­lar is a ribbed, tex­tu­ral joy. Tuna ap­pears three ways to cel­e­brate its vary­ing mouth­feel.

Then the creamy pop of scampi is sweet­ened by sea urchin roe and given a cit­rus zing of fin­ger lime. The sour twang of Ja­panese plum dom­i­nates a translu­cent King Ge­orge whit­ing. The earthy majesty of Man­jimup truf­fle tops smoked 9+ Black­more’s Wagyu. Fi­nally, a nori roll of juli­enned cu­cum­ber and Ja­panese plum cleanses the palate as you slurp a sub­tle miso with silken tofu sliced in strips.

Is it as good as Mi­namishima? Who cares. It’s damn good; make a book­ing.

CLOCK­WISE (from left): the Ch­ablis Bar; one of the pri­vate din­ing rooms; a deluxe sushi box.

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