The slow restaurant on a fast street


With its rich Italian heritage, Carlton has always been the go-to destination for authentic espresso and pizza, but a new wave of culinary openings like Kazuki’s is transforming this northside neighbourhood.

There’s a saying in Japan, ‘Ichi-go ichi-e,’ which means, every moment is one-of-a-kind and something to be treasured. This is the philosophy husband and wife team, Kazuki and Saori Tsuya apply to Kazuki’s — one of Melbourne’s newest Japanese restaurants.

After first establishing Kazuki’s in Daylesford in 2011, Chef Kazuki and Saori fulfilled a long-held dream of owning a restaurant close to the city — relocating their acclaimed regional dining restaurant to Lygon Street Carlton. A slow restaurant on a fast street, Kazuki’s is a place where flavours, service and interiors are harmonious.

Kazuki’s offers tasting menus of five or seven courses, as well as à la carte dining for lunch and dinner.

The tasting menus have been carefully prepared so you can experience the kitchen’s complete offering in a structured way, alongside an extensive wine and saké matching options.

“We use a combination of local produce and Japanese ingredients. I like to work with producers who take pride in their products and specialise in one area,” said Kazuki.

Diners can expect dishes such as Moreton Bay bug with ponzu and sake, or dry-aged duck with blood plum and smoked liver.

We all know that small sized kitchens are very common right across the industry so ensuring that equipment with multiple applications were installed in the Kazuki’s kitchen was paramount.

Kazuki’s comprises of 30 seats downstairs and 18 on the second floor. Its decor is minimal without losing any of its charm: lots of greys, dark wood, and leather accents which makes it cosy and intimate.

“We worked with Chris Love from Chris Love Design to update the kitchen to ensure it conformed with the current food premises regulations. They also worked hard to help maximise the use of limited space in the kitchen whilst working within my budget,” said Kazuki.

We use the RATIONAL oven to bake bread every morning, slow cook pork belly/lamb shoulder overnight and confit ocean trout at low temp (38°), definitely gets used a lot, said Kazuki.

“We are open Friday, Saturday and Sunday for lunch and Tuesday through to Sunday for dinner. Sunday is very popular, we offer a 4 course menu for $75. We quickly gained the support of the locals since opening in Carlton and also have long term customers from our restaurant in Daylesford.”

“We are a small team, we employ seven chefs in total. I do some prep work, I cook, and also help out front of house as well, which is a great opportunity to meet our customers.”

Kazuki’s is one of the most exciting restaurants to open in Melbourne in the past year. The Lygon Street location (Little Italy) may seem odd, but Kazuki’s has definitely created its own context and the relocation to the city is definitely paying off for Kazuki and Saori.

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