7 JAPANESE SHOPS TO VISIT IN MELBOURNE

– Written by BlossomKitty

I have always been somewhat obsessed with Japanese culture.

As a kid, I loved Kimba the White Lion, Astroboy and Little Twin Stars (Kikki and Lala). I have always loved the Japanese aesthetic of wabi sabi, from the beautiful fabric prints, the not quite perfect ceramics, the simple lines and the understated style.

Both my parents have an interest in Japan. My mum loves the furniture and my dad is a big fan of Akira Kurasawa. And, of course, my obsession has always been very firmly centred around the cuisine. Japanese food is both my favourite and my least understood from a cooking perspective. (Although, my understanding is certainly increasing).

So, it was not surprising after my first trip, in 2015, that I decided I also wanted to learn the language. This has been one of the best goals and decisions I have made, on many levels.

We are currently planning another trip back, in March, and I can’t wait to get over there and immerse myself in all that Japan has to offer. In between trips, I have found some very cool places, people and experiences right here in Melbourne, to satisfy my Japanese longing. I would like to share some of them with you.

I don’t think any of you could possibly not know about places like Daiso and Uniqlo, so I will not bore you with those kinds of details. Some of my favourite things I have stumbled across by accident. And some I would never have known about unless I was told.

We went to an excellent performance last night in Northcote, a Japanese Jazz Jam. Some very cool taiko drumming, followed by a wonderful 3-piece band, accompanied by Yasukazu Kano, a very talented Japanese shinobue (bamboo flute) player.

WABI SABI SALON

WABI SABI SALON – COLLINGWOOD

7 JAPANESE SHOPS TO VISIT IN MELBOURNE

My very, very favourite Japanese restaurant in Melbourne is Wabi Sabi Salon, in Smith Street, Collingwood. The food is unbelievably delicious. It is a little different from many other restaurants in that the food is definitely Japanese, but it is innovative and inquisitive. Modern Japanese, that dares to be different. The bento boxes are amazing and visually captivating. My mouth waters at the thought of the Wagyu beef tataki (500-day grain fed) with white asparagus cream.

ADDRESS: 94 Smith Street, Collingwood  www.wabisabisalon.com.au

CALIA – EMPORIUM

CALIA – EMPORIUM

7 JAPANESE SHOPS TO VISIT IN MELBOURNE

Our favourite place for lunch in the city is Calia, in Emporium. It is both a restaurant and a grocer-cum-homewares store. They have a selection of sake and wine and Japanese whiskey to take away, many ingredients, both Japanese and not, and glassware, ceramics, hashi and cookbooks. The restaurant is uncluttered and simple and the food is stunning. Many dishes come with an onsen egg, one of my favourite things to eat. Try the Marbled Sukiyaki Bowl, premium 9+ wagyu slices with a 63° egg… Oishii!!!!!

ADDRESS: Shop 8 Emporium Melbourne, 287 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne www.calia.com.au

HINOKI – FITZROY

7 JAPANESE SHOPS TO VISIT IN MELBOURNE

Hinoki, also in Smith Street, is a sushi bar and a Japanese grocery store. They stock an excellent selection of every ingredient you could imagine, including my favourite yuzu marmalade, and a great choice of sake and beer. I have found it to be cheaper than most Asian grocers and Suzuran (my other favourite).

ADDRESS: 279 Smith Street, Fitzroy  www.hinoki.com.au

CIBI – COLLINGWOOD

CIBI – COLLINGWOOD

7 JAPANESE SHOPS TO VISIT IN MELBOURNE

My favourite Melbourne, Japanese shopping experience is CIBI. CIBI is also a café, and they carry an extensive range of exquisite homewares. Hakusan porcelain, Shotoku hand blown glassware, Kobo Aizawa designer cutlery and utensils, and many other designer pieces. It is a feast for the senses, beautiful and tactile, and lots of texture. The staff are really helpful and lovely.

ADDRESS: CIBI 45 Keele Street, Collingwood  www.cibi.com.au

CHEF’S ARMOURY – RICHMOND

7 JAPANESE SHOPS TO VISIT IN MELBOURNE

If you are serious about sake, and Super Sake Boy and I (Nihon-shu girl) are very serious about it…. Chef’s Armoury in Richmond is a must visit. A large selection of premium sake, along with flasks and glasses, Japanese and bespoke chef’s knives and traditional Japanese cookware. If you are after a beautifully crafted knife that resembles a katana (and let’s face it, who doesn’t need one) the guys at Chef’s Armory are very knowledgeable and friendly.

ADDRESS: 422 Church Street, Richmond  www.chefsarmory.com

NIHONSHU SHOCHU & SAKE BAR

7 JAPANESE SHOPS TO VISIT IN MELBOURNE

Nihon-shu, in Lonsdale Street, in the city, is a sake bar and izakaya. I have not eaten a meal here, but I love the way they bring out a tray of mismatched sake glasses, for you to choose your own glass, and the list is extensive and the atmosphere, authentic. They also have a large selection of shochu, for those who are into that (not us)….

ADDRESS: 163 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne (Website under construction)

 

MAEDAYA IZAKAYA – RICHMOND

7 JAPANESE SHOPS TO VISIT IN MELBOURNE

MAEDAYA IZAKAYA – RICHMOND

Finally, Maedaya izakaya and sake bar is a wonderful place to sit at the bar, sipping sake, listening to the staff speak to each other in Japanese, and to enjoy Maeda-san’s excellent sake list, and even a sake masterclass. The masterclass was really fun and informative, we learned about different types and gradings of sake, how it is made and got to taste lots of good stuff. KANPAI!!!!

ADDRESS: 398-400 Bridge Road, Richmond  www.maedaya.com.au

 

This blog was kindly written by www.blossomkitty.com

 

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