Ichitaro Dining is a modern Japanese restaurant located on the popular King William Road cafe precinct. Japanese restaurants are traditionally expensive, but when the word “modern” is used, I think smaller well presented servings are to be expected. Like most places these days, the sharing of dishes is encouraged, and this is reflected in the small and shared dishes sections of the menu. Classic items such as tempura, sushi, sashimi, rice and noodles dishes are also on hand if you want something on your own.
The interior is indeed unique with a series of ropes holding up a dead tree in the centre of the room. The walls and ceilings have been painted black, and the use of timber features quite prominently. The dining space is not overly large, and there is plenty of natural light flowing through it’s frontage.
To start off with, I had the Tuna Belly Nigiri. The tuna belly was so smooth and delicate, it almost melted in my mouth. The sushi rice was well seasoned with nice individual grains, and it was a perfect compliment to the prized piece of fish.
My friend had the Sashimi which came with raw salmon, tuna, kingfish and squid. There were no complaints as the dish was polished off quite quickly.
The Roast Duck in Yuzu Sauce is one of the dishes this place is well known for. The duck was cooked medium rare, and was simply tender and succulent. It came with an yuzu sauce which was slightly peppery with a prominent citrus flavour.
The Angas Beef Steak was also cooked medium rare, and was nice and juicy. The delicate thin slices of beef were soft and delicate, and simply melted in your mouth. The accompanying sauce had a subtle sweetness which made the dish more balanced.
The Teriyaki Chicken came with a soft boiled egg with runny yolk and crispy chicken skin. The chicken was well marinated and succulent, and the teriyaki flavours were well infused into the meat. The chicken skin was nice and crunchy, and reminded me of a prawn cracker.
The Unagi Eel Rice was served in a hot stone bowl. The eel was well flavoured, and it’s flesh was soft and delicate. The rice underneath was well cooked with nice individual grains. The heat of the stone bowl caused a caramelisation of some of the rice which made the dish taste even better.
I thought the service was slow and inattentive at times. The group waited over 30 minutes for our mains, which came at different times. When we wanted to order more drinks, we found it difficult to get the attention of staff.
Like all Japanese restaurants, the food isn’t cheap, particularly if it borders modern fine dining. The single piece of Tuna Belly Nigiri will set you back $5, while a small bowl of steamed rice is also the same price. The 4 shared dishes that we ordered ranged from $28 to $34, with portion sizes that were smaller than a typical main.
Having got all the negative aspects out of the way, the food was excellent. Each dish was faultless and perfectly executed. Some of the dish presentation was almost artistic. The quality of the ingredients was exceptional and the taste was just as good.
They really know how to cook in this kitchen. It’s a pity the service was a let down.
WHERE: 3/160 King William Rd, Hyde Park