The name of this upscale Japanese restaurant stems from the words for rice (kome) and knot (yui), with the combination signifying the connection and unity felt through a shared meal. And if you're after traditional, authentic and high-quality Japanese cuisine without having to board a plane, allow your tastebuds to be whisked away to the archipelago with dishes by chef Motomu Kumano.
Kumano, who often refers to himself as 'kuma', meaning bear, originally hails from Shiraoi, a small fishing town in the Hokkaido prefecture. After studying at one of the most prestigious culinary schools in Japan, Kumano went on to work at some of the busiest restaurants in Osaka. With this experience under his belt, he made his way to Melbourne in 2005 where he's remained to this day.
The chef's tasting menu rotates seasonally or based on the produce of a particular region that Kumano is keen to highlight, such as Wakayama prefecture. This region, just south of Osaka, is the birthplace of soy sauce and is also known as the 'Kingdom of Fruit' for its abundant production of mandarins and persimmons. As a result, you can expect dishes like an ice cream sandwich made with dried persimmon, walnut and soy cream cheese, or oysters topped with caviar and a mandarin jelly.
For main courses, expect high-quality cuts of Wagyu and an abundance of seafood, including everything from mussels and oysters to cuts of raw fish. You can get everything from classic salmon and tuna to bites of rich yellowtail and buttery, melt-in-your-mouth chu-toro imported from Japan. The drinks menu has an extensive range of sakes and Japanese whiskies, and you can opt for a matching menu or simply ask your server for suggestions on what would pair best with your dish.
If you're catching a ride or public transport to the venue, be sure that it's the South Melbourne address: the restaurant moved from its original home in Port Melbourne in mid-2020. Past the entryway and through the noren (cloth dividers) lies an ultra-sleek and modern space for enjoying some refined Japanese dining.
Looking for more things to do while you're in the area? Check out our guide to the best bars, shops and events in South Melbourne.