Ibuki (伊吹)

321 Flinders Lane
CBD Melbourne
(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 TofuSoft 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.

Sake

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.

Ibuki on Urbanspoon

You may also like >>> DonToo; Shou Sumiyaki; Tao’s; Spice Temple

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Comments
14 Responses to “Ibuki (伊吹)”
  1. Jenny says:

    Oo, i took some of these photos! you should credit me haha

  2. Kal says:

    aww, your only melbourne review, and it wasn’t a good restaurant 😛 more melbourne ones please 🙂

  3. Thanh says:

    I totally agree that lobster sholdn’t be fried. Why would you ruin such a fresh tasting thing by frying it. Hence I was really disappointed just now for lunch when I ordered lobster and it came out battered and fried, not good.

    Tell Kal that if they want more Melbourne reviews, they should read my fantastic food blog.

  4. Katty-Kat says:

    Hmm…I’ve been to a few Japanese restaurants and judging from the photos, the decor and the overall presentation of the food doesn’t look very authentic. And about the “belly sashimi” (oh how I love them!) There is a place called Suzuran, which is a Japanese grocery shop that has a take-away sushi bar inside and their range of sashimi is surprisingly varied and they offer the “belly sashimi” there. Most often you get the Salmon kind but on rare occasion, if you’re lucky, there are tuna bellies too. Yes, I’m quite a big fan of Japanese food!

    • totally agree. Sadly i was meant to go to suzuran yesterday to stock up on some Jap groceries, but didn’t eventuate. might make MATCHA cake/icecream, and gorge on sashimi LOLz ~!!!!
      Recommendations for Jap places???

      • Katty-Kat says:

        Well I don’t really go to many fancy places. Mostly cafes or bistros, and if the food is good, take-away.
        Jazz keeps telling me about all the nice places she’s been to and I tell her that I someday want to try her dining lifestyle!
        However, there are some places that I like. There is the Izakaya Chuji in South Melbourne, which has some very good quality Japanese food. I haven’t been inside, but my dad has ordered take-away from there many times. The only down side is that they get rather stingy with the sashimi. I know it is good fish, but you don’t have to get all precious about it!
        I also like the little place at QV near the women’s hospital. We’ve been there before, if you remember, on one of our get-togethers. Also, across the road there is a Japanese pub, which has a very nice, dimly-lit ambience. Sorry about the lack of names, I don’t always remember them. I just know how to get there. In terms of going to an actual fine restaurant, I went to one a long while ago, and it was located somewhere in one of the laneways/streets close to Princess Theatre. I remember that place having some fantastic food. I wish to dine one day in an authentic Japanese restaurant with a traditional decor, preferably with tatami rooms.
        And to finish on a cheap note, there is a place called “Uzu” squarely aimed at the student clientele near my uni (Monash Uni, Caulfield). The food is alright(though authentic), but becomes pretty darn fantastic when you see the prices. Everything there is under $20 (if not under $15). So yes, that is the list of places that I could think of so far. Hope this helps.

      • whoah! epic reply =). thanks for ALL the suggestions!!!
        hopefully you will be able to fine dine once in a while =). do you wanna come with next time we go to a fancy-ish jap place?

  5. Katty-Kat says:

    Sounds both great and delicious! 🙂 Just salivating thinking about it (though that’s probably not very lady-like! Lol!)

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  • Food RATING scale

    Unpleasant: damn upset my desire to eat

    Average: palatable but many shortcomings

    Yummy: a pleasant experience

    Yummy +1: mouth-watering like rain

    Yummy +2: exquisite flavours that hit all the right notes

    Divine: sheer culinary perfection!

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