A place suggested and pre-booked a week in advance by our foodie friend; we ignored the hustle and bustle and minimalistic pleasantries from the waitress who whisked us to our seats as though moving us secretly into hiding.
The efficiency and attentiveness associated with Japanese culture, eminent right here in Melbourne in this busy venue. Don't try to get a seat at the door, Kenzan's popularity evidenced by a full house on a rainy and cold Wednesday Melbourne evening where many like places in the city may be left deserted.
The noise soon becomes a part of the background - the intimate tables for two or four people providing a relatively quiet space to talk amongst friends. We were seated and welcomed with few words, then hastily provided with menus and oshibori (hot towel) dropped into our hands for cleaning our mouth and fingers before our meal. A delightful provision which more restaurants should implement.
Promptly removing the used oshibori, the two waiters then served us each a complimentary glass of a warm salty clear broth with floating decorative okra and fish pieces - a pleasant palate cleanser.
Peruse the menu if you must, but I suggest you order the Sushi and Sashimi combination platter, available in small, medium or large. The platter consists of raw oysters, nigiri, and a wondrous colourful assortment of salmon, tuna, and yellowtail sashimi masterfully decorated with edible garnishes on a wooden tray, and perfect for sharing. The medium size is enough for three, after a shared entrée of mixed tempura, and best paired with sake.
Kenzan offers exceptional sushi and sashimi and is open for lunch on weekdays, and dinner from 6pm to late Monday through to Saturday. They also offer 10% off for takeaway orders, but I recommend you stay and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.