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L'avis de Gault&Millau
The Japanese approach to their national cuisine revolves around the mastery of particular dishes and techniques and an almost obsessive focus on perfection. Chef Shigeo Yoshihara has brought this approach to Melbourne, and at Tempura Hajime – as the name suggests – he demonstrates his mastery of tempura.
With only twelve seats in this tranquil dining room, guests can watch Chef Yoshihara as he prepares his tempura dishes. A real highlight of Tempura Hajime is the wait staff, who politely explain the dishes to you, and walk you through the experience.
The tempura is light, with a delicate crunch, and whiting, prawn, tuna, eel, and eggplant with spicy salmon are just some of the selections included in the tasting menu. While tempura is the hero of the meal, the daily sashimi is excellent, as are the rice dishes that form the mains section. This is not a place for loud chatter, or a boisterous evening with friends, rather it is a serene and unique experience, one of the most authentically Japanese in the city.
PSST! Affordable lunches are available, well worth a short trip out of the CBD.
Reviewed for the 2019 Guide