Ishizuka Restaurant in Melbourne by Russell & George.
Ishizuka Restaurant is a new addition to Melbourne’s Bourke Street, and a welcome addition to its expansive, exciting culinary scene. Led by Acclaimed chef Tomotaka Ishizuka, the eponymous 16-seat dinner opened in January and is currently dishing up distinguished, haute Japanese cuisine—a centuries old style called Kaisek.
Not quite the sushi and sashimi we’re accustomed to, Kaisek is described as an art form and only practised by the most experienced culinary masters. Think 11 or so courses of meticulously prepared, handsomely plated seasonal delicacies like amuse bouche of sea urchin and spanner crab, Zensai of cured ocean trout, or boiled black tiger prawn with caviar.
And as much as Kaisek is concerned with authentic flavours and the delicate balance of taste and texture—the experience also encompasses a tremendous sense of theatre, cultivated by capturing the senses through presentation, setting, and tableware. Melbourne based firm Russell & George (whose other hospitality work includes Attica, Earl Canteen, St Jude’s Cellars, and Igloo Zoo) are responsible for the restaurant’s interiors, creating a sleek, minimalist basement dining room to match Ishizuka’s precise, bespoke fare.
Indeed, the mood of the space is the perfect counterpart to the menu. Seats are positioned around a central counter, and while the style ticks the boxes of Japanese minimalism, there is still a contemporary Australian feel. A beautiful curved white wall resembles a Japanese paper lantern, and tableware has been custom made by Kyoto ceramicists Shigeo and Yotaro Takemura of Dainichi Gama studio.