In a stunning art deco building on Lygon Street, East Brunswick, there stands a Japanese delight called Kumo Izakaya, housing delicious food with friendly and efficient staff in a comfortable setting.
Izakaya means eating and drinking place and the dishes are similar to a tapas-style, giving you the opportunity to try many different flavours rather than just a set dish. This makes for a much more interesting and varied dining experience with small gourmet platters that you can share with friends.
Diners at Kumo
The eggplant dengaku with pinenut and walnut miso is to die for, along with the lotus root kinpira, and zucchini flower tempura. The menu is quintessentially Japanese with a modern edge, but also reflective of the Melbourne locality, and the food is prepared to perfection.
There is also a mouth-watering sashimi menu. My non-vegetarian dining partner vouched whole-heartedly for the pork belly skewers, chicken thigh yakitori skewers, and the grilled, crumbed lamb cutlet with salted plum sauce. If you wish, you can leave the choices up to the chefs, which is known as omakase, and designed for groups of two to seven people, or enkai for bigger groups.
Avocado and cream cheese sushi roll with black sesame seeds
Importantly, there is an extensive and exciting sake menu, ranging from warm to sweet to sparkling sake. All are simply divine, albeit not cheap, being the real deal imported from Japan. Kumo take their sake seriously. Shochu, a drink originating from Kyushu, is also available and can be made from sweet potato, barley, or rice. Take your pick! There is a choice of umeshu (plum wine) infused with different ingredients, such as green tea, black sugar, or plum juice. And of course, there is a decent selection of imported and local wines and beers.