MELBOURNE | Hokkaido born chef Motomu Kumano opened Komeyui in 2011, after working in some of Osaka and Melbourne’s top sushi restaurants. The Port Melbourne original was a highly regarded, intimate, traditional restaurant, but Motomo’s ambitious was always going to outgrow that. Fast forward to 2020, and the restaurant relocated to its current Southbank digs (another location, in Brisbane, opened in 2023). Bigger and bolder in every way. I was recently invited to take a look.
Walking through the unassuming curtains at the entrance and past the reception space, you’re greeted with a calm, modern space. There’s the main dining space with tables and seats, and a long raw bar with stools to the right. Diners have three experiences to choose from – a sushi focused omakase, a kaiseki tasting menu, or a la carte. There’s also a takeaway menu, refined during two years operating the new space during lockdowns.
I opted for the seasonal omakase, taking my seat at the raw bar. It gives you a great view of the action, from the rice cooking in large cast-iron ‘hagama’ pots, to head sushi chef Danii (aka the ‘Bald Sushi Man’) and his team preparing each dish with precise technique and finesse.
Sushi at this level is often referred to as art, and chef Motomu has always been inspired by the link between art and food. This is apparent from the first dish of the meal. It’s a salad of black lip awabi (abalone), foie gras cream, caviar, and edible flowers. A cloud of dry ice dissipates to reveal a delicate creation of colour and texture.
Following this it’s a saikyo miso ocean trout, dry-aged snapper sashimi, and then 10 pieces of sushi, the selection of which depends on the freshest and best available local and Japanese product at the time. Fatty otoro (tuna belly) is a delight, as are things like saba (mackerel), and mekajiki (swordfish). Some of the sushi is served simply with rice, others wrapped in nori with balancing ingredients, or interesting touches like garlic butter.
There’s daikon, pickled ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce on the table, but I recommend asking Danii to guide you on when to use it. Mostly, the sushi doesn’t need anything extra. If you have any questions, Danii more than happy to chat as he makes sushi behind the counter.
To finish, its hydrangea tofu miso soup, and salted caramel miso ice-cream with crispy charcoal blossoms and toasted rice.
To drink, it’s a selection of around 30 sake and 50 wines, plus a few cocktails, beers, and non-alcoholic options. I highly recommend the wasabi martini if you’re looking for something different to start, followed by whatever sake is recommended as a pairing for the sushi.
181 Ferrars Street
Tue – Sun: 11:30am to 2:30pm; 5:30pm to 10:00pm