Kenzan, restaurant, Melbourne.
Kenzan, restaurant, Melbourne. Photo: Supplied

Lower level, Collins Place, entry via 56 Flinders Lane Melbourne, Victoria 3000

View map

Opening hours L Mon-Fri; D Mon-Sat
Features Accepts bookings, Business lunch, Licensed, Lunch specials, Private dining
Prices Expensive (mains over $40)
Chef Kaname Komatsu, Koichi Takeuchi
Seats 100
Payments Diner's Club, AMEX, Visa, Mastercard
Phone 03 9654 8933

Japanese may be trending in Melbourne thanks to the wave of izakayas, but for Kenzan's loyal customers the cuisine is no mere fad. Cocooned in a 1980s time warp in Collins Place, yet looking as fresh as the day it opened, Kenzan remains at the top of the heap. There's not so much buzz as a calming hum from a place that goes about its business confidently, with impeccable service and a room full of satisfied diners. The main menu offers few surprises - expect tempura prawns, tatsuta-age (deep-fried chicken), agedashi tofu, slices of beef rolled with spring onions and the like, with beautifully presented sushi and sashimi to round it out. There's more novelty to be found on the specials list, such as grilled hapuku neck and must-try skewers of fluffy-crisp calamari balls. Throughout, the level of detail is commendable, right down to a wafu salad that's been fussed over like an artwork to resemble a luxuriant rockpool.