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Hana

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Hana Restaurant A seafood tribute to Hawaii in Melbourne - with cocktails 
One day in the middle of Melbourne winter, I went looking for Hairy Canary. I remembered a long, dark venue with cocktails, somewhere on Lt Collins. In its place, I found Hana (212 Lt Collins Street, Melbourne), a new restaurant I'd read about but hadn't realised it had replaced the long-standing Canary.

I was intrigued, because HALLELUJAH, here was a new restaurant in Melbourne that was NOT yet another fried/slow-cooked/smoked/overdone tribute to Americana. Though technically still American, Hana celebrates and proffers the exotic flavours of Hawaii. Which basically means a lot of fish. Which is good. Because fish is good for you. And delicious.

So anyway, cut forward a few weeks to when my equally-foodie-friend is in town from Sydn…

Minamishima

Minamishima A Japanese den by a sushi master, hidden in Richmond 
If you're the sort that baulks at $150-per-head set menus, you'll never truly appreciate a place like Minamishima (4 Lord Street, Richmond).

Sure, it's got a price tag. But for foodie purists, every cent is worth it. You are not just paying for supreme-grade ingredients, some of which are regularly shipped in from a Tokyo fish market, prepared by world-class, highly skilled chefs, presented impeccably and all melt-in-your-mouth, oh-my-God orgasmic. You are paying for the anticipation. For the ever-filled water glass and replenished napkin. For the hushed, dramatic mood of the restaurant itself. For dishes timed to perfection, and the en-pointe realisation of your most specific drink requirements. You are paying for the entire experience.

In my opinion? It's better than a weekend away, which is hella more expensive.



Minamishima opened in October 2014 with no fanfare. Owner-chef Koichi Minamishima spent t…

Kisume

Kisumé Japanese Restaurant The new fine-dining venture on Flinders Lane by the Lucas Group
Any Melburnian foodie worth their salt is aware of the Lucas Group and its portfolio of very successful restaurants:

Chin Chin, a loud hall of colourful South-East Asian food and cocktails on Flinders Lane that still attracts queues of several hours' wait, some six years after its openingHawker Hall, a similar style venue to Chin Chin but on South Yarra's Chapel Street and with more of a focus on street food, that once infamously proffered a wait time equal to a return drive to Torquay with a beer stop in the middleBaby Pizza, quiet stalwart of the group, churning out delectable, fresh Italian food on Church Street, and Kong, offering Japanese-Korean BBQ fusion also on Church Street, and perhaps the most casual venue of the lot. 
And if you have read any of my posts before, you will know that I am utterly fed up with the 'Americana' craze, whereby every new venue in Melbourne off…

Hokkaido Baked Cheese Tart

Hokkaido Baked Cheese Tart Popular Malaysian Sweet Tart Inspired by Japanese Cheese  
You can't work in hospitality or be a food blogger and NOT have heard about the Hokkaido Baked Cheese Tart. Even if you're just a regular Joe Blow, they would have been hard to avoid on social media. I'm not sure exactly how the craze started, but suddenly they were EVERYWHERE - little yellow rounds of promise.



Like any good writer (!), I hot-legged it to the new Melbourne Central HBCT venue soon after its opening to try and obtain one of the cult-followed baked items, and alas, my first attempt was futile. (I stood in the queue for about 10 minutes, with over an hour left until the store's official closing time, only to see the person three ahead of me in the queue buy the last tart. So. Much. Sad.)

My second attempt was better; also towards the end of the day - on a Friday, no less, when I would have thought queues for anything self-indulgent would have extended round the corner - …