In the stifling streets of residential Richmond is Japanese restaurant Minamishima, a haven for sushi and quality sake lovers.
Enter through the glass doors on an unassuming building on Lord St and you will be taken to a dimly lit dining area flanked by several waitpersons in smart uniform. Over the course of the evening, I had come to appreciate the characteristically Japanese atmosphere, albeit modernised; the precision, the professionalism, and the politeness.
My dinner reservation was made two months ago with advice from others; I was unsuccessful in placing a fortnight booking. The restaurant sends a text confirmation the day before so you don't forget.
I must warn that the price is steep for dining at this Melbourne restaurant. The menu is an omakase, which means that the sushi chef decides what goes on your plate, depending on the market that day. For this particular evening, it was fourteen pieces of sushi for $150.
There are a wide selection of fine wines and Japanese sake as well should you wish to indulge.
For appetisers, shiitake mushroom with a delicious tofu sauce.
Following that was a sweet tamago (egg) and a dashi broth. The meal culminated in three decadent pieces of green tea coated chocolate in different flavours - all distinctly different and richly aromatic.
Parking is fiendishly difficult, as you can imagine; stuck between no standing zones and permit-only parking, the best thing to do is to scout around the area for 2P parking that becomes unrestricted after 7pm. Parking is available scattered in the vicinity (within 300m).
You can add more sushi if you are not yet satisfied but their portions were enough that I was quite full.
All the sushi is seasoned with soy sauce - it is best enjoyed as is.
Room-temperature sushi is traditionally enjoyed with the fingers, do not hesitate to pick them up if you are not comfortable with chopsticks.
Our total bill was $190pp: $150 omakase, $32 fugu, $8 sparkling water.
This experience is not for everyone but if you are looking for the best that Melbourne has to offer, you are in the right place.