If speaking Japanese is not part of everyday life, then this next word mightn’t mean much either: izakaya. The word ‘restaurant’ isn’t really the perfect translation. ‘Bar’ doesn’t clinch it either. That’s because, in Japan, an izakaya is much more.
Eating and drinking take place in equal parts but then there’s the social aspect – the meeting, the greeting, the fact that everyone really does know everyone’s name. Sort of like a new millennium ‘Cheers’ if Ted Danson had black hair, a hankering for sake and knew how to fit out a space in uber-cool contemporary style.
Outside of Japan itself, the unique culture of the izakaya has come to East Brunswick in stylish fashion – a mingling of Melbourne-cool design with Tokyo tastes to serve you and your crew up a range of sharing platters that are prepared under the careful eyes of head chefs Akimi Iguchi and Eriko Hamabe, who come to the table with the foodie-forward culture of their homeland firmly in their minds.
Deep-fried fare might not help your waistline but, damn, it tastes good. Perhaps the sashimi will inspire less calorie-laden guilt. If not, there’s always sake and the drowning of such sorrowful stresses.
Kumo’s reverence to Japan is obvious but not cliché. Andre Bishop, the venue’s owner and bar owner extraordinaire, wears his passion for the country on his business sleeve and the site – a former bank building – lends a grand beauty to the scope of the vision.
Kumo Izakaya & Sake Bar
152 Lygon Street, East Brunswick
T: (03) 9388 1505