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8th-May-2009 11:59 pm
** 5 January 2010: It has come to my attention that Ibuki has expanded to several locations in Melbourne and there are currently mixed reviews of the standards from some of these outlets. Please note this review was written in 2009 for the original garage Ibuki restaurant location. ***

bankevair raves about Ibuki everytime we talk about Japanese food, so I had requested we visit it while we were in Melbourne.

Ibuki is one of those places that a friend of a friend would have told you about, because it is actually in someone's home. Well, actually their garage. Not the kind of place you'd find advertised in magazines or the lifestyle section of a newspaper.

But once you walk down their driveway and through the sliding door, you are instantly transported to another world. The walls and aged wood shelves are covered with Japanese influences. The furnishing however are simple: 2 large tables covered in a simple white tablecloth and rows of foldable chairs. The atmosphere is warm and comforting.

The downside to all this is that Ibuki is small. It will only hold a maximum of 20 people, so each booking must be of 10 people. We were lucky enough that the other table had slightly less than 10, so we were allowed 11 - but as a general rule, 10 is the best figure.

Our group of 10 were however, 5-10 mins late for dinner and we were greeted by this massive sashimi spread already laid out on the table.

The presentation is awe-inspiring, but it was extremely freaky when we discovered that lobster head and legs were still moving as we picked pieces of raw lobster tail.

And that is only part of the first course.

I have never tasted oysters this gorgeous before and I wouldn't mind having them again.

This looks a lot like froie gras, but after poking it with our chopsticks,
it turned out to be extremely thin slices of seared beef with a pickled ginger dressing.
Absolutely melts in your mouth.

This is one of the softest and smoothest chawanmushis ever.
A crabstick and French bean pod decorates the top,
but the bottom hides a gingko nut, mushroom and pieces of fish.

Mmmmmm... cheesy goodness.

The asparagus and ebi tempura are really yummy,
but I wasn't keen on the capsicum tempura.

By this stage, we were all feeling full and loaded up on just the soup and mushrooms.
But of the few strands of udon we tasted, it was wonderfully firm and silken.

The fruits, as pretty as they have been arranged, was the letdown.
The kiwi was rock hard (ie. not ripe),
the rock melon was juicy, but tasteless,
and the dragonfruit was disgusting.
Just about the only fruit worth eating was the watermelon and persimmons.

This spread does not come cheap at $60 per head and there isn't a menu to select from. You get what you're given, which does make for a simpler and decision-free dinner, but this does not include drinks. The cheapest sake they have is $10 a small bottle, but apparently it's good stuff.

168 East Boundary Road
East Bentleigh
Tel: +61 3 9579 1744
Mob: +61 4 1759 3885

Bookings are compulsory.

This review has also been written for BerryTravels. Keep updated with new reviews on other eateries and sights on your f-list via the RSS feed berrytravels!

Ibuki on Urbanspoon
13th-May-2009 10:59 pm (UTC)
Japanese food cravings at midnight in London = Not Good. Ibuki looks and sounds fabulous.

(And Celeste, if you're reading this - I shall definitely do my best to visit. And when I do, I shall demand Ibuki food too.)
13th-May-2009 11:26 pm (UTC)
(seconds this)
14th-May-2009 03:34 am (UTC)
Time for a serious makan session, y/y?
14th-May-2009 08:49 am (UTC)
hell yes
13th-May-2009 11:34 pm (UTC)
Especially when it's so fresh, the lobster is still moving? XD

Epic sparkly road trip to Melbourne? :p Ibuki should definitely be a stop for any Japanese food lover visiting Melbourne.
14th-May-2009 09:44 pm (UTC)

How unusual that it's in their family garage. I wonder if more people will turn to doing small restaurants this way considering the cost of rental on a separate business place, the GFC/recession, etc.

As for the lobster... one of my students in Japan told me it's called 'Dancing food' to have something still alive as you eat it. When I first moved to Japan and turned on the TV for the first time, the sight that greeted me was a cooking demonstration on how to slice up a live fish (in about 6 quick slices) and serve it up, still gasping for breathe. A little creepy.
15th-May-2009 05:15 am (UTC)
The food was awwwwwwwesome!

I reckon it might be, but who knows? I think the concept works well for running a small niche eatery that wants to focus only on quality.

It is a little creepy, but we all got past it to enjoy the rest of the dinner. We just didn't poke the head around too much afterward.
15th-May-2009 03:05 pm (UTC)
Mmm.. glorious sushi...
18th-May-2009 01:19 am (UTC)
And even more drool worthy sashimi.
18th-Dec-2009 12:45 am (UTC) - awesome pictures! :)
wow... ur pictures are impressive!

4th-Jan-2010 01:20 pm (UTC) - 2.5 out of 5 stars
I was reading up on ibuki when my friend booked us in at the one in the city so when I read ur post, I was a bit excited. Whilst I don't mind spending money on good food, the oysters here were so bad that I dry reached. I think we were also shortchanged in the dessert department and even missed out on one if the courses though there was so much food we didn't complain. Having said that, the seared beef was delicious!

Without experiecing the garage restaurant, I can already say that it'll offer more than the one on flinders lane were the most basic service is overlooked and the ambience does not leave much to be desired. If it wasn't for the beef dish I would have to say it rates a 1 out of 5
4th-Jan-2010 01:30 pm (UTC) - Re: 2.5 out of 5 stars
I'm sorry to hear you had a terrible dining experience, but I'm sure the Ibuki I reviewed is completely different from the one you went to. The one I visited was in East Bentleigh, not Flinders nor Lonsdale. Did you find this review via Urbanspoon?
31st-Jan-2010 11:48 am (UTC) - Re: 2.5 out of 5 stars
The ibuki on lonsdale and flinders are the same owner as the east bentleigh is not operating anymore.. food are the worst ever..big disappointment and overcharged.. :(
10th-Jun-2011 01:41 pm (UTC) - precio reloj rolex
I like this site^-^
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