Ichi Ni Izakaya
Ichi Ni Izakaya
12 The Esplanade
St Kilda VIC 3182
03 9534 1212
Open: Everyday from Midday to late
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.
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….
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.
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!!
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!
This dish was a special consisting of chargrilled wagyu with roasted pumpkin and fresh tomatoes – absolutely gorgeous!
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!
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.
Absolutely beautiful tempura – everything you’d expect – tender vegetables and moist seafood all encapsulated by a crunchy, airy layer of tempura batter. Divine!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!