The latest generation of Japanese restaurants in Australia are way more playful and rely heavily on fusion ideas to breathe exciting new life into the cuisine. These can combine anything from Southern-style fried chicken to including pizzas on their menus – giving a whole new twist to the taste of Japan.
Let's take a look at our picks:
1. Tokyo Tina
Along with sister Melbourne eateries Hanoi Hannah and Saigon Sally, Tokyo Tina has been gaining a great reputation for a good vibe and even better food ever since it opened in 2015. Even though the interior has a long black and white mural of Tokyo streets, there are also Korean touches, like pork and kim chi gyoza and even a hint of French cuisine to the dessert menu with matcha brulée. Also highly recommended are the Chinese-style bao buns with fillings like avocado, pork belly and beef rib.
2. Ichi Ni
One of the more established places in Melbourne – it's been going since 2009 – manages to keep things fresh with a long menu that kicks off with some Spanish-style small plate tapas dishes like deep fried tofu served with Ichi Ni mushroom sauce and chicken with sriracha chilli mayo. Then you can move on to your choice from tempura, gyoza, yakitori and many, many more. In fact it has one of the most comprehensive menus that you'll find.
For many Australians, and even around the world, Nobu is the name that encapsulates the ultimate in high-end Japanese dining. There are two restaurants in Australia – in Melbourne and Perth – and both show off the unique vision and skill of Nobu Matsuhisa to bring a fusion of Japanese flavours with inspirations from around the world. Signature dishes include yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno, tiradito, Nobu-style and Black cod miso. If you're really feeling flush then don't miss the Waygu beef – it's $50 per 50 grams with a minimum order of 150 grams.
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