Fakegf seems to possess the eyes of a hawk when it comes to new food places in Melbourne, and her eyes are even sharper when a good deal is up for grabs. Kumo Izakaya briefly offered a Japanese degustation for two at half the price via Living Social. She leapt at it effortlessly, and we dined there a few months later.
There’s been a fair bit of furor over whether bloggers should cover deal voucher meals, partly because the food may not be that representative of what’s on the normal menu. But over the course of our meal at Kumo, it became obvious that we were pretty much getting the same dish line-up as their chef’s omakase (priced at $75 per person). So I decided to cover this visit.
Kumo has a buzzy inviting feel to it, set within a modern industrial warehouse mould. There’s mood lighting, evening silhouettes, a long central communal table, cosy booths and a relaxing upstairs section.
Edamame w/ Murray River pink salt Wagyu beef tataki w/ ponzu
We started off nicely with a bowl of edamame and nicely seared beef tataki.
Sashimi Jo moriawase – premium chef’s selection
Chicken thigh yakitori skewers
Then came a thoughtful selection of delightfully fresh sashimi, and moist chicken yakitori. We were happy with both dishes, the chicken was nicely charred and its sauce wasn’t overly sweet.
Eggplant agenbitashi (fried and marinated) w/ amazake miso on crispy rice cracker
Seared scallops with butter & soy topped with bonito flakes
I also really liked the eggplant on a rice cake dish… good marinade. And while scallops were succulent, I found the bonito and sauce over it too salty.
Aonori flavered whitebait tempura w/ shichimi mayo
We started getting a little full from here on. This dish was very good, it reminded us of eating at a good fish ‘n chips shop, although it could’ve been served hotter.
Daikon salad w/ fried yuba & ume dressing
Spicy black vinegar karaage chicken
We were less keen with the daikon salad, I wasn’t a fan of the plummy-salty ume dressing. And while we didn’t mind the deep fried chicken ribs, it tasted quite Chinese rather than Japanese because it had fried shallots, spring onions and red chillies in it.
Chirashi rice & miso soup
The mains came with chirashi rice (scattered with sweet pickled vegetables), and a rather salty miso soup.
Chef’s selection of dessert plate
The evening’s dessert platter consisted of brown sugar ice cream, tea walnuts, a tea brownie and kinako brûlée. It was quite alright, the brulee held hints of toasted rice.
We enjoyed the first half of the omakase more than the second half. The more familiar dishes like the beef tataki, sashimi and yakitori earlier on were pretty good. This voucher meal was very good value for money, and even at full price, the omakase meal seems quite worth it. All that said, with the enormous selection of dining places on offer in Melbourne, it’ll be awhile before I’m coming back here.