...Seeing how fast one can drive down the spiraling passage to the Regency car park in Mum’s e-Class
… green and white summer school uniform against the high sushi bench chairs
… practicing my limited Japanese with the always smiling and energetic sushi chefs, including Daisuke
… piping hot tempura prawns that burn the roof of your mouth if you’re not careful
… toro sashimi flown (and probably hand carried) from Japan
... Mum treating us to Japanese bento after high school for lunch
Over two decades, my family and I have frequented Kenzan Japanese Restaurant for many afternoons and evenings. Many things have changed but the soul of Kenzan never changes. It is a small world…. One of the lovely onejian that worked there is now one of our dear friend’s partner…. What a small world….Many of the chefs have moved on to better and greater things… and you could say that they have trained a lot of chefs who bring such a greater variety and depth of Japanese food to Melbourne… There weren’t many authentic Japanese restaurants back in the day… but there was Kenzan (and Suntory of course).
Changing of time, changing of ownership, but the food remain authentic and of the highest quality.
Our usual meal consists of a combination of starters and mains… rarely do we get to order many of the mains as the starters and entree dishes are exceptional. We always order from the Special menu first and supplement it with the normal dishes in the a la carte menu. All this time, the a la carte menu has not changed but the Special Menu has becoming noticeably adventurous. Of course, there are dishes that we always order, such as the stuffed fried mushrooms, sashimi and sushi moriawase, the tempura moriawase and what our dad likes to call “chicken nuggets” – tori karaage. Depending on the season and our collective appetite, we might add to the bill, agedashi tofu, grilled fish, chawa mushi, pipi soup, and nabeyaki udon.
Salmon belly, a new recommendation recently received by one of the sushi chef, is definitely going to be a staple addition to the bill, especially if toro is not available. Out of all the sushi and sashimi, this one is the one to fight with the other patrons for. As soon as you sit down, you should ask the waiter/waitress whether there is toro or salmon belly available…. before they are all gone.
Top Dish: Salmon belly sushi
Service: Generally okay especially the drinks maestro. It used to be better when turnover was lower.
Booking: Recommended (especially for the sushi bar) but not essential
Kenzan Japanese Restaurant
45 Collins Street
03 9654 8933