If you’re after a dining experience like no other, head to Lûmé, where fine dining meets the weird and the wonderful. The chefs have put together a creative 15-course degustation menu that will wow you from start to finish. Each course is beautifully presented; expect the unexpected with combinations that may be confusing but delicious on a whole. There’s also an a la carte menu that changes seasonally; you can allow the chef decide on the menu or select your own entrees and main courses.
Lûmé, 226 Coventry St, South Melbourne VIC, Australia, +61 3 9690 0185
Tempura Hajime has clearly taken exclusive to a whole new level. Upon entering the simple wooden door, you’ll find yourself in a dim corridor that soon opens up into a dining area that only seats 12. For lunch, there are a handful of classic Japanese set meals, such as Unajyu (grilled eel), a sushi & sashimi combination platter, and of course, a tempura set. Dinner focuses solely on tempura, with a choice of a tempura set or a tempura & sushi set. The tempura is exceptional; the batter is light and crispy and the items cooked to perfection. Once you try the tempura prawn here, you’ll never want to eat it anywhere else. Come here if you want a taste of Japan without getting on a plane.
Tempura Hajime, 60 Park St, South Melbourne VIC, Australia, +61 3 9696 0051
This quirky little café is one of those places where you know you’ll get a good feed without breaking the bank. It’s also one of the few Taiwanese restaurants around town offering traditional Taiwanese food alongside Japanese and Chinese-influenced dishes. Most of the items on the menu are pretty good, but they’re famous for the Pop Chicken. They also offer appetizers, bento boxes, and noodle soups. For dessert, try the Japanese cotton cheesecake or the black sesame ice cream. This place does crowded quickly though, so it’s probably best to make a reservation beforehand.
Peko Peko, 190 Wells St., South Melbourne VIC, Australia, +61 3 9686 1109