Joining the restaurants lining Richmond’s Swan Street is the modern Japanese diner Future Future (above). Former Kappo sous-chef Atsushi Kawakami deftly blends modern elements with traditional technique in dishes such as raw tuna with avocado tofu and nori crisps, yakitori panko-crumbed barramundi off the hibachi and, given that there’s provolone and matcha in the mix, a surprisingly good okonomiyaki. Future Future, 191 Swan St, Richmond, (03) 9965 7900
Decent Italian has been harder to find than necessary in Brunswick, but Sig. Enzo redresses the balance. More bar than restaurant, its short list of snacks – ’nduja and ricotta crostini, crumbed and fried olives stuffed with veal mince – good pizza (go the zucchini), and essential pasta like cacio e pepe and spaghetti and meatballs good enough to become benchmarks scratch an itch for the neighbourhood.
The drinks list is tight but well considered with all-Italian wine and a good selection of amari and grappa. Sig. Enzo, 1d Michael St, Brunswick, (03) 9388 8718
SPEND THE NIGHT
Turkish-Middle Eastern diner Babajan is now open Fridays and Saturdays for dinner. Owner-chef Kirsty Chiaplias’s menu comprises dishes such as pickled and barbecued octopus, and a pistachio, saffron and barberry pilaf, followed by sweets such as walnut baklava, and rose and almond macarons. The best idea here? The $40 set menu is a generous and delicious bargain. Babajan, 713 Nicholson St, Carlton North, (03) 9388 9814