12 The Esplanade, St Kilda
Last week a friend took me for a late dinner at Ichi Ni in St Kilda. Located next door to the Espy and sharing the same owners, Ichi Ni is one of the many Izakayas that have invaded Melbourne of late. Our table overlooked the bay and had a good view of the open kitchen.
(My date's attempt at turning the Blood's sign into 'blog')
The wine list is mostly dominated by Australian offerings with a smattering of New Zealand. We started with one of the ‘warm jugs’ of Suishen sake ($14 160ml) and edamame with salt ($6.5). The fruity sake was warming on a cold night and the edamame didn’t survive long enough to photograph well due to their ravenous company.
The menu has a good mixture of small dishes designed to accompany a boozy night. The miso soup ($3.5) also helped to warm us up.
We ordered the unagi (eel) and hamachi (kingfish) yakitori (both $10 for 2), however we ended up with the wagyu ($28.5) instead of the unagi, which was a bit disappointing. The wagyu was smoky, sweet and tender . The hamachi was thinly sliced, which resulted in it being served a bit overcooked and dry, although it had good flavour. On a previous visit to Ichi Ni, I enjoyed the unagi and butabara (pork belly $8) yakitori that were both deliciously juicy.
Our next dish was the miso pork belly ($12) and of course another jug of sake. The miso marinated pork was thinly sliced and grilled to perfection.
We finished with a sashimi platter ($34) and dragon roll ($20). The sashimi was presented beautifully and was all meltingly fresh. The tuna tataki, tuna slices and kingfish were amazing as well as the scallop sashimi covered in roe. The dragon roll contained seared tuna, cucumber and avocado and was topped with chilli sauce and Japanese mayo.
Despite the minor hiccups with the yakitori, Ichi Ni is a great place for a quiet dinner or hitting the sake.
Highlights: miso pork belly and sashimi platter
Lowlight: yakitori mix up