Chablis over sake, at a sushi restaurant? Restaurateur Chris Lucas’ latest venture, the three-storied Kisumé, succeeds in both turning antipodean Japanese dining on its head while remaining true to the cuisine’s origins. Behind a suitably low-key entryway down Melbourne’s Flinders Lane, Kisumé first asks what dining experience you are seeking this evening. Journey down to the windowless basement level and you’ll find yourself face to face with an open hot kitchen serving wagyu with salmon roe and wasabi; the ground level offers a New York-style sushi and sashimi bar serving freshly cut Australian and New Zealand seafood – its sleek black timber tables and low wooden roof beams perpetuating the restaurant’s intimacy – while the top level provides another departure: a Chablis bar and a omakase bar called The Table.
The food is immaculately presented, the produce fresh from the ocean (a live prawn dish can attest to this) and the 80-strong Chablis selection more than settles the argument that a French drop pairs just as well with Kingfish as rice wine does.