Ichiro Izakaya Bar is a busy Japanese restaurant in the sustainable Burwood Brickworks Shopping Centre. This lively venue knocks out fusion favourites, but it’s their set menus and bowls of ramen that really shine.
Location: Burwood Brickworks Shopping Centre, 120/70 Middleborough Rd, Burwood East, VIC 3151 Ph: (03) 9077 1229
Behind the Burwood East Branch of the RSPCA, a new development has mushroomed. Alongside the swish new apartment blocks and carefully planned open spaces, there is a striking shopping centre. Striking both in design and execution.
For the Burwood Brickworks Shopping Centre has aspirations to be the most sustainable shopping destination on the world.
This admirable aim has resulted in the creation of a ‘living building’, rather than a regular shopping mall. Within its eco-friendly walls there are a range of retail outlets, as well as a lively ‘Eat Street’.
One of the busiest eateries at the Burwood Brickworks is the Ichiro Izakaya Bar. This is a thriving Japanese restaurant and bar serving fusion dishes which combine Australian produce with traditional Japanese flavours and techniques.
Ichiro Izakaya Bar has an extensive menu and the ‘fusion’ element is clear in how this menu is laid out.
And so we have regular Japanese fare like Chirashi & Sashimi and at lunchtimes, Donburi and Ramen Soup. But then, there’s more unusual items such as Hot Tapas and Cold Tapas, Sushi Tacos and even a Chicken Katsu Burger & Potato Wedges ($18.50) available for weekday lunch. It’s an interesting selection.
For a guide to the Best Asian Fusion Restaurants in Melbourne, see here.
When we ate at Ichiro, it was a Saturday evening prior to a trip to the Readings Cinema, so a number of plates from the daytime menu weren’t on offer.
Initially, we considered ordering their Feed Me Tasting Set menu (more on those later), but instead opted for a hotch potch of dishes from the a la carte.
We opened with Salmon Nigiri ($13.90), which glistened appealing and was clearly very fresh.
From there we ventured into the Hot Tapas with a plate of Pork Gyoza ($8.80) and a bowl of crunchy Ichiro Kara-age ($14.80). The Gyoza were moist and tasty, but I would have a like a little more ginger in my deep-fried chicken.
I’m a sucker for Miso Glazed Eggplant ($9.90) and the one at Ichiro Izakaya Bar was suitably silky and rich with sweet umami goodness. We ate it between bites of zingy Beef Tataki ($20.50).
We went slightly out of our comfort zone with our final dish – the Cold Buckwheat Noodle ($8.50). Happily, it turned out to be an inspired decision.
Chewy, strands of buckwheat noodle, liberally topped with bonito flakes, sat in a light broth. The smokiness of the bonito flavoured the entire dish and elevated it from an unexciting-looking side dish to a real star performer.
If you’ve not tried making your own Sushi Hand Rolls, we recommend giving it a try. It’s especially fun to do with kids or dinner guest. For information and prices, click here.
So back to Feed Me Tasting Set meal.
It is said that we eat with our eyes, and certainly the Feed Me meal makes quite an impression when it arrives at our neighbours’ table. Presented in a 9 compartment wooden bento box, it offers a taste of many of the most popular plates on the menu. Moreover, it looks extremely tempting.
We made a mental note to order it next time we visit.
Of course, this Japanese restaurant is an izakaya, as well as a dining spot.
With this is mind, the drinks menu features a range of Japanese sake to go with the food. There are also a number of Asian-inspired cocktails and chilled Japanese beers. The latter would go well with a bowl of salty Edamame ($6.90).
Though the name Ichiro Izakaya Bar implies that this might be a place to head for a drink, in reality, this doesn’t feel like that kind of place.
Clean and light, with pale woodwork and plain wooden tables, the ambience isn’t truly conducive to sitting around drinking beer into the night. Instead, this is the perfect joint to grab a filling bowl of ramen a q quick lunch. Or even to fill up before heading to the movies, as we did.
The service is swift and efficient. Interaction with customers is limited compared to other venues due to their contactless ordering system. Each table has a tablet on a stand and you simply scroll through the menu and order whatever you fancy. That said, both the person who showed us to our table and our waiter were friendly on a busy night.
Ichiro Izakaya Burwood is a great addition to the local dining scene and a good reason to check out the environmentally-friendly Burwood Brickworks.
The kitchen serve much-loved Japanese dishes with a nod to Australian tastes. The food is good, the minimal service is friendly and the price is reasonable.
And those Feed Me Set Meals are a real stand-out.
Editor’s Note: Acre Farm & Eatery – Acre Burwood
As a side note, we’ve sad to note that the Acre Farm & Eatery (also known as Acre Burwood) up on the roof of the Brickworks Shopping Centre has closed.
Admittedly, we weren’t impressed by the cafe the first time we visited. Unfortunately, neither the service nor the food were up to what we are used to in the area.
However, the Acre Restaurant was a considerably better and housed in a beautiful space.
We hope it’s closure doesn’t bode badly for other Burwood Brickworks restaurants.