Dine with Dari | Yakimono

Oops. I told my friend we were meeting for dinner, not at a club. Not sure if I had it mistaken or if it’s an intentional mistake.

Yakimono, the latest Chris Lucas venture under the opulent ‘Society’ is like a neon bright lighted Japanese powerhouse. You practically need your sunnies inside as the vibrant kitsch fluoro colours stream into your eyes. (And note to self, that ‘short skirt’ you had on but dismissed for showing too much leg – would have been highly appropriate at this joint).

Going up the stairs into this psychedelic party room, blurs your vision and instantly transforms you into the zone. The Yakimono zone. It’s sort of like a high energy Japanese cartoon meets Kill Bill, with insanely spectacular, and peculiarly awesome drinks and food.

Whether intended or not, you can’t help but start with a cocktail. The infusions are so theatrical, it’s like a circus joins your table in liquid form with a party in your mouth.

The dining experience is as cleverly eccentric. Boasting itself as a ‘celebration of food cooked over fire’; the froths, foams and fumes are prepared right in front of your eyes in the centre open kitchen. You get to see, hear and smell each sizzle and pop, which adds to the ignition of your already lit senses.

The best part, the taste. Edamame dip sounds so ‘standard’ yet is possibly the most creative ‘chip and dip’ appetiser in the country. Deep green oil with an emulsion of the earthy vegetable mixed with nostril flaring wasabi lathered on a plate, topped with dark black charcoal crackers. A flat chunk of raw tuna is soaking in a ruby rich red sauce of paprika and fermented chilli. Unmissable is the octopus. Circular charred crustacean looks like a cake on a plate with an interesting creaminess to balance the BBQ and teeny, sweet chilli crisps.

Whilst desserts may not be the standout, a few sakes in their rooftop bar are definitely the pick and adds to a fiery night of ‘choreographed chaos’ and ultimate delight.

Bottom line. There’s a new zone called Yakimono. No matter where you came from, you want to be in the zone.

80 Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000

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