Hanabishi, restaurant, Melbourne.
Hanabishi, restaurant, Melbourne. Photo: Supplied

187 King Street Melbourne, VIC 3000

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Opening hours Mon-Fri 12pm-2.30pm, 6pm-9.30pm
Features Accepts bookings, Business lunch, Degustation, Gluten-free options, Groups, Licensed, Lunch specials, Private dining, Vegetarian friendly
Prices Expensive (mains over $40)
Chef Akio Soga
Seats 70
Payments Diner's Club, eftpos, AMEX, Visa, Mastercard
Phone 03 9670 1167

Hanabishi's exquisite subtlety runs from its interior through to its cooking, in contrast to the men's clubs that do their showy thing further along King Street. Settle easily into the tranquil dining room, with its turquoise-coloured wall insets, plush chairs and lacquered surfaces. Armed with a flask of sake, 'ooh' over artfully presented entree specials, such as scallops served in shot glasses on shaved ice with pompom-like plants as whimsical garnishes. The long menu includes scampi encased in shredded potato and fried to crunchy perfection, and California rolls packed with fresh and delicate steamed spanner crabmeat, avocado, cucumber and mayo. A fluffy (complimentary) pork meatball may prepare the way for mains such as tender teriyaki wagyu beef or green-tea soba noodles, refreshingly served cold. End, perhaps, with a dessert platter comprising six or nine tastes that might include a memorable green-tea creme brulee and exquisite egg custard served in an eggshell - not too sweet nor too rich.