At first, if you search ‘Hibiki’, you’ll be inundated with a flurry of Suntory Japanese Whisky blends, and I suspect this is intentionally the case too, as you’ll find that water at Hibiki (the cafe) is served via ex-Hibiki (whisky-filled) bottles (very subtle but smart, I love it).
Maybe what I love most is that Hibiki combines two of the world’s most loved cuisines (Japanese food), and brunch together in a way that celebrates innovation but also a variety of flavourful tastes. I am a lover of fusion food so I really enjoy being able to experience menus where they deconstruct or find ways to evolve traditional dishes that pay homage to local flavours.
The menu is quite straightforward but definitely offers lots of great twists to much love Japanese dishes. So the first time I went, I actually had the Pork Shoulder Benedicto while my friend had the Smashed in Japan dish.
What I really loved about the Pork Shoulder Benedicto was how tender the meat was, but also that the rice (though it looks like plain rice) was actually layered at the bottom with a slight “chargrilled” kind of texture. Making the base of the rice “slightly burnt”, glazed with a slight (teriyaki?) sauce. The amount of rice given was very very filling but it was a lovely twist to your traditional eggs benedict.
The second time I came back (within a span of a week) we tried out the Tuna Tataki Carpaccio consisting of seared tuna crusted with sesame seeds, snowpea shoots, daikon hair, barley, toasted buckwheat, picked onion, cherry tomatoes, charred brussel sprouts, edamame beans, shiso leaf & shiso pepper dressing. This dish was flavourful but very light (but it was a very generous portion too). The tuna tataki was probably slightly overcooked, but the flavours were amazingly refreshing.
Middle Meets East consisted of poached eggs with korokke (Japanese for potato croquettes), on garlic shiso labne, with soy sage burnt chilli butter, toasted seeds, crispy fried leek, dried cranberries served on seeded sourdough. We added the halloumi and bacon (probably could have done without the halloumi, but the bacon was definitely a nice touch). This dish (like its name) definitely had Middle Eastern flavours, definitely less “Japanese” in taste, and while I personally found the sourdough a bit too tough I overall really enjoyed this dish and it’s appetising flavours.
I definitely will try to head over there again as I really want to try out the yakiniku beef bowl – but so in love with the interiors and just how calming the whole place is. The service is also top notch and everyone there is super friendly and cheerful.
Parking is relatively easy to find around here, either behind the cafe or you can also park opposite the cafe in dedicated parking space behind the low-rise buildings.
Cost per head will approximately be AUD$22-28 (including coffee/drinks).
1161 Toorak Road
Check out their Facebook page here at: https://www.facebook.com/hibiki.melbourne/
Phone: 9995 3815