152 Lygon Street
Brunswick East VIC 3957
(03) 9388 1505
Kumo Izakaya is located on a quieter stretch, away from the hustle and bustle of the Italian restaurants associated with Lygon Street.
Other than a good range of imported Japanese beers, there were two aspects of the drinks menu I fancied. They had an extensive and fascinating list of Kumo signature cocktails, and each one was just as enticing.
Secondly, each sake had its own picture, a short description, and a scale ranking it according to its sweetness, richness, aromatics and temperature.
I decided on the Lu Yu Margarita.
Espolon Blanco Tequila, Kumo “Bitter-Grapefruit” Shochu, freshly pressed Lime Juice sweetened with Agave Nectar and finished with a Salted Green Tea Crust ($17)
I had hoped for one the tall sexy glasses I’d seen circulating around, but no such luck.
The dining menu was in the form of a clipboard, and it took a while to sift through the pages attached. Full house on a Saturday night wasn’t a problem, and we didn’t have to wait long before the first dish arrived.
Tuna Yukke with Onsen-Poached Quail Egg in Crunchy Cup ($18)
This was one of my favourites. Quirky presentation aside, the tuna slivers were fresh and fragrant with sesame oil, and the quail egg was poached to perfection and I wanted more of that runny yolky goodness. I didn’t care for the crunchy cup but it did serve as a palate cleanser in between bites.
Longsnout Boarfish Sashimi
More commonly known as duckfish.
Kingfish Sashimi with Ponzu Mousse and Wasabi Oroshi ($14)
The Ponzu Mousse was in the form of a small sponge-like cube beneath the fresh Kingfish.
Seared Scallops with Butter & Soy and Topped with Bonito Flakes ($12)
This dish would have been even better consumed piping hot but that may have been my fault for fiddling around with my camera for too long. The scallops were very fresh with just the right amount of bite.
The Morokyu & Hiyashi Roma Tomato in the background consisted of sliced cucumber and tomato with a dash of Moromi Miso (blend of barley grains and miso) and sea salt on the side.
Braised Kurobuta Pork Belly Pie ($16)
The pastry was deliciously flaky but I thought the pork belly could be richer and fattier. Nevertheless a wonderful combination and made for a better pairing than the traditional steamed buns.
Braised Wagyu Beef with Sweet Soy in Turnip Cup ($16)
The Braised Wagyu was kept moist and tender, courtesy of the turnip cup. And it may look small, but there was a decent-sized portion within. I liked the accompaniment of the hot mustard smear. Our server informed me that the turnip cup was edible but i didn’t find it very appetising.
Freshly Cooked Housemade Tofu with Crunchy Chilli Sesame Oil ($8)
The tofu buried underneath the oil was soft and luscious and it reminded me of Tau Fu Fa (an Asian soybean custard dessert), minus the syrup. With oil.
Crispy Kingfish Wing ($10)
This dish was very generous in size. The Kingfish Skin was mouthwateringly salty and crunchy and the flesh was moist and tender.
The dessert menu was not nearly as extensive as everything else. However each dessert had its own Japanese spin. We decided on the Mochi and the Cheesecake.
Green Tea Mochi with Intense Chocolate Ganache ($12)
I’ve had quite a few gluggy too-starchy Mochis, which have left me wary of them. Thankfully, this one had a very thin coating of mochi around the chocolate ganache paste which made for a refreshing change from the typical red bean paste or black sesame pairing. Admittedly, I had secretly hoped the chocolate ganache would be Movida-esque, warm oozy and sinful.
Japanese-style Baked Cheesecake with Salted Caramel Sauce ($14)
The desserts were very simple and light and I was pleasantly surprised by how much they were to my liking. I had far too much fun soaking the cheesecake morsels in Salted Caramel Sauce and may have caused a few tiny Salted Caramel Sauce puddles on my plate.
I would love to try a few of their other dishes, the Scampi Sashimi with Ginger Dressing and Renkon Chips for one or the King Prawn Fry wrapped in Potato with Green Tea Salt.
Adorable kiddy apparel they have displayed.