Kisume

Flin­ders Lane’s new Ja­panese brings the bling

Time Out (Melbourne) - - INSIDE -

Chris Lu­cas glams it up for the open­ing of his Ja­panese plea­sure palace in Flin­ders Lane. By Larissa Dubecki

THE OPEN­ING OF a restau­rant from Chris Lu­cas, the sven­gali be­hind Mel­bourne greats Chin Chin, Hawker Hall, Kong, and Baby, is gen­er­ally ac­com­pa­nied by the kind of me­dia hoopla re­served for re­tir­ing mem­bers of the royal fam­ily, so here’s the deal: all you have heard about Kisume, the Lu­cas Group’s three floors of Nip­ponesque din­ing power, is true, and then dou­bly so. Yes, there’s Nick Cave, rock­ing a blue wig and red lip­stick thanks to Aussie pho­tog­ra­pher Polly Bor­land. Yes, there’s a bunch of Ja­panese ladies in ki­monos and bondage-lite join­ing him on the wall thanks to Nobuyoshi Araki. Yes, there’s the omakase counter where sliv­ers of jewel-coloured ocean flesh are laid out with all the cer­e­mony of tea in Ky­oto, some com­plete with ed­i­ble gold leaf. This, in short, is a place de­ter­mined to bring the bling. Ar­chi­tects Wood Marsh have cre­ated three lev­els of Flin­ders Lane din­ing power, in­clud­ing a bar ded­i­cated to Ch­ablis (al­beit not ex­clu­sively) on the up­per level, and the lower two floors en­joy­ing the clang and clash of sushi bars mix­ing it with à la carte ta­bles where hot dishes wres­tle at­ten­tion from the raw and cold. There’s been a great show about the best-of seafood pour­ing into the kitchen for sushi mas­ter Moon Kyung Soo ( above), re­cently at Mikuni in Sin­ga­pore, and broth­ers Yo­suke and Shim­pei Hatanaka to work their mad knife skills upon. It’s listed on the menu – salmon from New Zealand, Tassie cala­mari and uni, Port Lin­coln bluefin tuna, et al – the song and dance un­der­mined by Alaskan king crab rolls (does re­gion­al­ity mat­ter when great sweet chunks of the crit­ter are swad­dled in soy­bean pa­per with the salty grit of flying fish roe?) Spicy tuna on cu­cum­ber rounds, dabbed with black roe and orange mayo the colour of Veuve la­bels, strikes a high note for carb dodgers, but skin-on sea bream sashimi is chewy and scream­ing out for some­thing more acidic than its in­ert beet­root puree.

The take-home mes­sage about Kisume is that it’s good, some­times great, al­though if you don’t watch your­self the bill will creep into the strato­sphere. A bowl of just-warm, in­cred­i­bly ten­der cala­mari ten­ta­cles in a Vegemitey nori puree has flavour that goes on for­ever; ditto an enor­mous fil­let of mack­erel, the skin scored and scorched, its brutish flavours mol­li­fied by sesame ponzu, chilli and a flut­ter of gin­ger; so too does the char­grilled Black­more Wagyu, all but­ter soft­ness, and its sup­port cast of gin­ger soy, horse­rad­ish and wasabi. And do check out the crab dumplings – arty lit­tle num­bers with a quail egg ooz­ing its yolk into pro­ceed­ings with palate-cloy­ing suc­cess. Take a peek en route to the up­per-floor loos of the horse­shoe­shaped wooden bar that will be the theatre of the $175-a-head sushi-fest known as Kuro Kisumé when it opens in late July. It prom­ises great things to those with the fi­nan­cial means to sup­port a sushi habit. à175 Flin­ders Ln, Mel­bourne 3000. 03 9671 4888. kisume.com.au. Daily 11.30am-late.

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