Kazuki’s: a genre-bending dining experience

Jack Hayes

With classic European techniques, seasonal Australian produce and Japanese discipline, you’d be forgiven for thinking Lygon St fine diner, Kazuki’s, falls under the ever-growing umbrella of “fusion” dining.

But whatever you do, don’t say that to husband-and-wife team Kazuki and Saori Tsuya.

Rather than a fusion of flavour and cuisine, Kazuki’s is an amalgamation of two decades of refinement, working as a culinary institution like Alla Wolf-Tasker’s Daylesford icon, Lake House, and Jean-Paul Prunetti’s bustling, France Soir, resulting in a genre-bending dining experience like few others in Melbourne.

Nestled on the bustling southern end of Lygon St between an Australia Post and a woodfired pizza restaurant, stepping into Kazuki’s you are immediately met with a lesson in finesse.

From the monochrome façade to the soft, but distinct interior which sets the tone for a five or seven course journey (depending on lunch or dinner bookings), from the crowd favourite black seaweed butter and house made bread to Moreton Bay bugs with ponzu and cabbage.

According to Mrs Tsuya, after first establishing Kazuki’s in Daylesford in 2011, the couple fulfilled their long-held dream of relocating their acclaimed regional dining destination to the city in 2018.

“The preparation time to find the right location was quite long. It took us over a year to find the right space and then relocate to Carlton,” Mrs Tsuya said.

 

It was a hard process. In a sense, we had to be found again, and that was a challenge.

 

After two years since the start of the pandemic in Australia, the team at Kazuki’s, much like rest of Melbourne’s hospitality industry, has become all too familiar with the rollercoaster of reopening and shutting due to lockdowns, the near impossible task of replicating its food for a takeaway offering, keeping staff in work and keeping its head above water.

But now, as the light at the end of the tunnel becomes more persistent, returning to its foundations of procuring and championing hyper-seasonal, predominantly Victorian produce, the Tsuya’s have their sights firmly set on the now, with a very cautious eye on the horizon.

“We are grateful that we can do what we do now. We have been pretty lucky, over this summer we haven’t had to close like other restaurants,” Mrs Tsuya said.

“We always talk about new projects, but for now we want to put a highlight on great producers in the Victoria, and others from overseas, and continue to enjoy what we do.” •

For more information visit: kazukis.com.au

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