When I looked up Hibiki in my Japanese translator the translation was sound, but more accurately echo or reverberation. I am not sure if that is what the owners of Hibiki in Melbourne were alluding to, but as soon as I read it, it resonated. Sitting in this little cafe in Toorak Rd in Camberwell, Super Sake Boy and I agreed we felt like we had been transported to Ebisu, Naka-Meguro or Omotesando. The Tokyo vibes in this place are strong. The food is fusion, leaning more toward Japanese ingredients than not…. the menu was so amazing it physically made my mouth water, and then made my decision making process almost painful. The menu was so good that as I was leaving, I sent a message to my cousin organising lunch three days later, as I wanted to try other things on the menu. I am wanting to go back again, and soon, to try all the other things which appealed to me.
The name may also allude to the funky beats that waft around the amazing space at Hibiki, given the website is called Japanese Brunch N Beats. The music definitely adds to the Tokyo feel, and the general atmosphere. It’s busy, up-beat and casual and although quite small in size, it has an airy feel of spaciousness.
The space is very cool, uncluttered, fresh and Japanese. The attention to detail in the aesthetic made me immediately fall in love with the space. The coffee machine is beautiful, the bar is laden with wabi sabi pottery, indoor plants, a retro and yet, contemporary feel. The furniture is simple but stylish and the yellow and white striped wall is fresh and uplifting. The little courtyard out the back is a great place to sit in the sun and enjoy a yuzu smoothie. It is a little slice of cool Japan in Melbourne.
The food was absolutely delicious. The presentation was also delicious, for the eyes. Super Sake Boy and I were in Heaven as we started with a masu (wooden box for drinking sake) overflowing with renkon (lotus root) chips with Sriracha and Kewpie mayo drizzled over the top and flecks of nori. Super Sake Boy had a pumpkin croquette special, with miso hummus, crispy kale, poached egg, pomegranate and Japanese dukkah. I had the kombu buckwheat soba with broccoli, seared cherry tomatoes, shredded kale, teriyaki mushrooms, spring onion, shaved daikon, toasted buckwheat and fresh chilli with a kombu soy dressing. Our food was so good. The menu is excellent, it is interesting and has a point of difference. Hibiki use Industry Beans coffee (yum), Konomi matcha (yum) and their Japanese tea selection is from my local tea shop, Tea Leaves in Sassafras. Locally grown Japanese tea varieties of the highest quality.
When I returned three days later, with an appetite that had been building in anticipation, I was not disappointed. This time I tried the tuna tataki carpaccio, seared tuna crusted with sesame seeds, snow pea shoots, daikon hair, barley, toasted buckwheat, pickled onion, cherry tomatoes, charred Brussel sprouts, edamame beans and shiso leaf with homemade yuzu pepper dressing. It was super oishii!!!! (delicious) I suspect Hibiki will become a regular brunch place for us, despite the 35 minute drive each way. It is totally worth it.
Hibiki website can be found here and there is a link in the site to the amazing menu.