Ichi Ni Izakaya

Ichi Ni Izakaya
12 The Esplanade
St Kilda  VIC  3182
03 9534 1212
Open: Everyday from Midday to late
Website

I was very spoiled at Christmas time when the lovely iMac gave me a ticket to Tim Minchin versus the MSO at the Palais Theatre – so it was with much anticipation of an amazing night out that we set out and began our evening with a gastronomic foray.  I had never been to Ichi Ni before, but iMac had very fond memories of the last time she ate there – although she did concede it was a while ago.

The restaurant is set up on the upper esplanade in St Kilda and has a fantastic view of the bay – after moving seats a couple of times (it was a blustery, warm Wednesday evening) to find the sweet spot… we perused the tapas style menu with a view to getting our night off to a good start.

Fujiyama Mama

I can’t remember what was in this cocktail – but it was certainly reminiscent of the old faithful Midori and lemonade.  It was a great way to kick off our evening….

Tuna Tataki

The lovely iMac had never had the tuna tataki – and instantly declared it a winner.  Here it is served with yuzu, soy and shallot dressing on a bed of freshly shredded daikon. Gorgeous. The tuna meat was beautifully and barely seared on the outside, and the flesh was tender and fresh.

Ebi Mayo

This dish is dangerous.  I can confess that I have mad cravings for it now that I’ve experienced it.  The ebi mayo is basically a take on tempura prawns – but they have been tenderly folded through some japanese mayonnaise which has been spiked with wasabi.  Amazing… I want some more now!!

Gyoza

These pork gyoza were amazing – beautifully pan fried and served with soy ponzu sauce.  Each mouthful exploded in your mouth with juicy pork filling, and a half crunchy half steamed wrapper. Yummy!

Wagyu Special

This dish was a special consisting of chargrilled wagyu with roasted pumpkin and fresh tomatoes – absolutely gorgeous!

Chicken Yakitori

What’s a visit to an Izakaya without getting yakitori – this chicken was beautiful.  Fresh and tender – it had been lovingly chargrilled and sprinkled with some specially seasoned soy.  Delicious!

Pork Belly Miso

Probably our least favourite of all our dishes – we weren’t sure what to expect.  The pork comes out looking very much like bacon – but it’s amazingly tender due to being marinated in miso before being grilled on the salamander.  The layers of meat and fat appear to become quite homogenised as a result of this process, so you don’t get that juxtaposition of juicy fattiness, and salty meat.  Interesting, but I wouldn’t necessarily order it again.

Mixed tempura

Absolutely beautiful tempura – everything you’d expect – tender vegetables and moist seafood all encapsulated by a crunchy, airy layer of tempura batter.  Divine!

Eggplant & Cheese Yakitori

I love eggplant – so ordering a yakitori with eggplant was a bit of a no-brainer.  Although this came through a little too chargrilled – it was nonetheless a lovely dish with a gorgeous cheesy flavour that wasn’t overpowering.

Black Sesame Pannacotta

This was absolutely stunning – always a sucker for pannacotta, I tend to hold my breath when it arrives scared that there’s too much gelatine.  This was not the case – a fabulously trembling wobble attested that the mix was just right.  It melted in the mouth and the coconut sauce was a lovely complement.  I’m not a fan of adzuki beans – so the lovely iMac got to eat all those!

Custard and Dark Chocolate Pudding

Oh. My. Goodness!!  Talk about standout dish of the night!  Again – not sure what to expect, this dish was amazing!  The sponge has been soaked in custard and baked, and then topped with a melted chocolate ganache and smattered with toasted almonds.  Another dish I have had mad cravings for!! Order it – you won’t regret it!

Green tea ice-cream

iMac has a serious weakness for green tea ice-cream – it’s almost a compulsion really. She can’t help herself – but has to order it whenever she sees it.  Even if she’s ordered other desserts – it’s just a no brainer – the green tea ice cream is ordered as an accompaniment!  It was good – creamy and icy – with just the right hint of green tea. 

A popular place with a great view

Ichi Ni Izakaya has found a place firmly in my all new favourites – I wouldn’t hesitate to order almost everything we had all over again.  In fact, I would order two of the Ebi Mayo (actually – I think we did) and I wouldn’t share that pudding the next time around – so maybe there would be two of those ordered as well!! 

I know it’s been around for a while – but there’s apparently a reason! The food is great, the service was friendly and accommodating, and the ambience is wonderful.  Hopefully I’ll have another chance to visit soon!

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