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Dining Out: Minamishima

By August 24, 2017 ,

A slice of Japanese fine dining in Richmond, Minamishima has been the talk of town since it opened in late 2014. Bringing the experience of the best sushi-ya in Japan to Melbourne, Minimashimina only serves omakase and it is booked out months in advance. We would know, because we tried to book a place twice, only to be told that it was fully booked out. The fact that we had the chance to eat there was only by chance because Tiff's parents cancelled their reservation.

The exterior of Minaminshima can be described as minimalistic. In fact, the non-descript restaurant tucked away in an apartment block was discreet and revealed little of its interior. It was designed in such a way that it was impossible to peek through to see the sushi chefs at work or the diners. This design only heightened the exclusivity and mystery of Minamishima: Only the restaurant patrons are privy to the Minamishima experience.

Indeed, upon entering the establishment, I couldn't help but felt as if I've left Melbourne and arrived in... heaven? A sleek and stylish heaven. The decor of the restaurant is focused on the long sushi bar, while a dozen or so tables tucked away discreetly on the other side of the wall. I read that the menu for tables differ from sushi bar, so I was delighted when we were seated at the sushi bar. True to Japanese standards, the wait staff were observant, attentive and well-trained. The whole service moved like clockwork and the wait staff explained the menu to us in the most well-rehearsed manner.

The best part about the omakase menu was the element of surprise: We had no idea what the chef was going to serve. I believe the menu is seasonal so I won't bother elaborating every single course. I believe there was about 12 or 13 courses, by which I mean 12 or 13 pieces of nigiri. What I could say was the menu was a symphony of tastes and flavours. Starting with the lighter flavour of whiting, reaching a crescendo towards the peak: medium bluefin tuna belly, raw and seared, then tapering off with scallop and finally concluding with the tamago.

The whole dinner was not just a meal, it was a performance and sensory experience, the perfect marriage of sight, sound and taste. The servingware and set up was perfectly thought out and in harmony with the restaurant's decor. All the chefs attention to detail was second to none. Watching the chefs make nigiri was a performance in itself. Their hands moved deftly, gracefully and delicately. The serving plates were set perfectly, nothing out of line. The Japanese' dedication to perfection has never failed to impressed and inspired me, and it continued at Minamishima.

My dinner company was just the icing on the cake. We never failed to have fun wherever we go. High-end sushi-ya or McDonalds, we always leave with more inside jokes. The experience at Minamishima would not be perfect without him and I am so glad that food brings us closer than ever.

The experience did not come cheap though. Our bill came up to almost $500 for two people, which took the crown for the most expensive meal we had as a couple. Was the experience worth it? A year on after we dined there,  it was one of the finest sushi we ever had. The experience has set a golden standard for sushi in my books and forever ruined the pleasure of mid-price sushi for me. Are we in a hurry to go back? If only we have the luxury!

If this is the way the one per cent lives, I would break my bones and work to the ground just for another taste for that melt-in-your-mouth seared tuna belly.

Minamishima Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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