321 Flinders Lane
(Grand Mercure Flinders Lane Apartments)
Having acquired Crowdmass vouchers ($45 for $100 value), my sister had after a couple of failed attempts at reservations, we were able to slot in on Father’s day. We arrived early at 6.30pm – as per instruction when we booked over the phone – to find ourselves in a rather quiet restaurant. Having read some good reviews (well at least for the Lonsdale St one) I had decent expectations for this Japanese restaurant. Decor is simple but warm with little quirky decorations about.
Gyo tataki – marinated tataki beef slices both of raw & salt cured. It was soft and virtually melts away in the mouth. Well seasoned with strong acidic element from the pickled ginger (possibly just a tad acidic for my palate though).
Eggplant – rich, soft and creamy texture – well cooked, though lacking a little in terms of flavours.
Agedashi Tofu – Soft texture and tasty broth.
Miso cooked fish – a bit over salted and tad dry. I’ve never had this before, so I’m not sure if it is intended to be slightly “dehydrated”.
Sashimi & sushi platter – sashimi was fresh with an evidently good bite. Though no signs of “belly” sashimi, though we weren’t exactly paying top dollar =P.
‘Ibuki’ roll – an inverted sushi roll with roasted sesame sprinkled over the exterior rice. Enveloped in the middle was eel, avocado and green leafy vegetable. The eel was quite nicely juicy, sweet and soft, though I was rather disappointed by the small portion of eel in the humungous roll of rice, and the use of a leafy vegetable (odd textural contrast).
Lobster tempura & assorted prawns / vegetables – quite impressive presentation with the standing lobster and fan of soba noodles. Eating it was however another story. It was poorly battered – uneven, not always thin & crisp, and left huge oil stains on the underlying paper. I would expect from restaurants a higher standard to be upheld. Lobster, I personally believe doesn’t suit being fried, and not surprisingly the centrepiece was a tad dry & tough, not to the fault of the chef though. On a brighter note, the vegetable tempura(s) were in fact juicy & fresh on the inside – rather refreshing if I could call anything “fried” refreshing.
Steamed barramundi – was moist and soft from the steaming, but lacked that textural bite with super fresh “live” barramundi. The encasing seaweed & mushrooms did not add much in terms of flavour to the fish itself, but was tasty to eat.
Green tea & sesame ice cream – The green tea ice cream was quite the treat, having a delicate balance of bitter & sweet. Most places either over/under shoot the balance. The black sesame provided a good roasted aroma – I like my sesame really strong.
Dessert of the day – Tasty range of mochi and glutinous rice desserts.
菊正宗Sake (smooth dry) – went well with sashimi.
Rating: somewhere between average and yummy. All in all it wasn’t a memorable experience. For the price of the dishes (if not for the vouchers), the quality was not up to par. Also the menu lacked a “nice” sashimi range including a lobster / assorted $80 platter (as advertised online for the sister Lonsdale store, sigh). Please add these to the menu, and I’d be more happy. If you have been following reviews, Ibuki has previously had quite a strong reputation, but hopefully this new-ish addition will gain back its quality and popularity.
You may also like >>> DonToo; Shou Sumiyaki; Tao’s; Spice Temple