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Melbourne, Australia

Sushi temple in the backstreets of Melbourne

What to expect: Widely touted as Melbourne's best sushi experience, if not Australia's, this intimate restaurant transforms dazzlingly fresh fish and seafood into studies of temperature, texture and balance.

The menu: Diners are treated to an omakase offering decided by Koichi Minamishima and made with ingredients imported daily from Japan. They are treated with skill and respect – the briefest of charrings for a slice of marbled o-toro or a super-fresh langoustine brushed with a whisper of nikiri.

The room: The fit-out is sleek and minimalist with a solid-oak counter, back-lit like a stage – a fitting setting for Minamishima, whose rhythmic slicing and searing is a captivating performance. 

Chef story: Becoming a sushi master takes time. Minamishima spent the first two years of his career washing rice at a restaurant in the Aichi prefecture, before five years preparing ingredients behind the scenes. Only then was he allowed to cook in front of diners. A move to Melbourne followed, where he worked at respected sushi restaurant Kenzan for 15 years.

Don't miss: The wine and sake pairings. Sommelier Randolph Cheung has curated a stunning list, which roams the world and includes an encyclopaedic range of sakes.

Images: Eve Wilson; Food stylist: Claire Larritt-Evans

On the pass

  • Koichi Minamishima

Style of food

  • High-end sushi

Standout dish

  • Seared o-toro