Quiet, Calm, Slow
Wabi Sabi Garden is situated slightly away from the downtown St. Kilda area of Acland Street and Harbour Esplanade. It has an atmosphere of one’s own secret hiding place because of its quiet and secluded location, making it enormously popular with local people.
The interior decorations utilise glossy wood, which reminds you of nostalgic old housing from the Showa Era, as well as there being an irori fireplace inherited from the owner’s grandmother, stools that are designed to look like “hands” and a Japanese garden that looks its best against sunsets, all of which further increase Wabi Sabi Garden’s popularity.
A tree standing in the middle of the restaurant space is decorated with simple lightings which emit soft red and orange light, and modern art drawings by Japanese and Australian artists are displayed and sold on the walls. Wabi Sabi Garden is packed with charms, and both interior and exterior decors are flooded with its unique originality.
Mr Atsushi Kawakami
After experiencing years of arduous training early on in Japan, Mr Kawakami was lured to Australia by the owner Mr Kawasaki. He fully displays the skills he has gained as a chef through this training to cooks straightforward dishes that seem to clearly express his characteristics, ‘youth’ and ‘vigor.’ His figure at work in the kitchen expresses his presence to such an extent that his back exhibits an aura which resembles that of a veteran chef.
The taste of Japan ‘Now’
The dishes’ presentations give out an impression of ‘male cooking,’ but they taste very delicate. It is wrong to call it a collaboration of Japanese and Western cooking arranged by Mr Kawakami. He utilises the essence of cooking from all around the world and provides us with “Japanese meals,” as in recent years Japanese meals appearing on our everyday dining tables contain elements of Italian and French.
The menus include only the dishes that Chef Kawakami can confidently recommend. Among them there is a Wabi Sabi Garden’s most recommended menu, the Wabi Sabi Signature Shared Plate Course. The description reads “Chef’s special selection of entrée and main dishes to share” which suggests this is a great deal which allows customers to enjoy the course menu that changes daily while also include Chef Kawakami’s specialty dishes. In addition, dishes are provided based on the number of customers. For example, a six-dish course can be adjusted to two customers or three or more customers.
The menu presented here was a six-dish course for two people, which included dishes not on the menu.
Lightly scorched king fish marinated in ponzu lime dressing garnished with garlic chips and fresh mint
Grilled and drained of excess fat, making it taste refreshing
Such a tender meat would be fit for a king!
Who could resist this delicate whiting and its thick sauce!
A sizable piece of tuna!
Packed with the flavour of Wagyu. You will eat until the last drop of sauce.
Wabi Sabi Signature Share Plate Course
6 plates $45.00 (per person)
8 plates $55.00 (per person)
11plates $70.00 (per person)
Strive to Make the Most of Ingredients, Not for Perfection
Chef Kawakami’s impression of Kirin Megumi (beer’s name) is… “It is just light and easy to drink, so you can drink more than other kinds of beer and it matches any dish. Today’s course menu provides various kinds of dishes, and it should match any of them. I think you can savour the course presented today while enjoying Kirin Megumi.”
It can be a hard work to provide true Japanese cooking in a foreign country, and he explains that his cooking “utilises local ingredients and expresses Japan’s taste.” Not being too caught up in making the perfect Japanese dishes, he keeps in mind to provide Japanese cooking with fresh ingredients. ?
Matches Our Dishes!
The first time he drank Kirin Megumi, the Owner Mr Kawasaki strongly felt that it “matches our dishes!” He praises its refreshing taste and says that it matches Japanese dishes.
The dishes in the course menu presented here is up to the chef, and the course is designed to allow customers to eat only the Wabi Sabi Garden’s specialty dishes. Of course, this is the course that Mr Kawasaki himself describes as its most recommended.
Creating a Place that Satisfies Every Need
At Wabi Sabi Garden, Mr Kawasaki strives for a trendy izakaya in Tokyo opened in Melbourne providing customers entertainment upon their first step into the place and seeing the customers off with their five senses fully satisfied. When many still imagine that Japanese people eat traditional Japanese food, another concept of Wabi Sabi Garden is to express an idea of actual Japanese dishes and have it widely acknowledged.
“Dishes at Wabi Sabi Garden are created out of our passion to provide only the dishes that meet our standards after spending an unbelievable amount of time in the preparation for each dish. We are not easily satisfied thinking that local people do not know the differences, and we strive for a place where those who are tuned in to Japanese people’s taste can leave satisfied. This is a place where, once you come, you will make returning a habit. There is a hidden Japanese garden at the back. Please do visit us,” says Mr Kawasaki in a message.?
Wabi Sabi Garden
Address: 17 Wellington Street, St. Kilda VIC 3182
TEL: (03) 9529 8505
Opening Hours: (Lunch) Tue – Fri 12pm – 3pm
(Dinner) Tue– Sun 6pm – 11pm
*You can make a reservation on the website.