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All over Melbourne there are small restaurants tucked away in shopping centres. Some are ordinary, some are pleasant and a few are worth the journey from wherever it is that you call home in Melbourne. Shiranui, in Glen Waverley, is in the latter category. It’s not much to look at from the outside, but it’s what lies within that counts. It is here, behind a pale wooden bar that you will find chef, Hiro Nishikura who spends his evenings doing such spectacular things with knives and fish that a bar seat can turn into dinner and a show.
As in many Japanese restaurants, there are separate menus for lunch and dinner. Dinner is more expansive, more adventurous and, most importantly, offers the choice of omakase; a menu that is specially prepared according to what’s available after which you sit back and wait for course after course to appear. The sushi and sashimi here are outstanding. The beautiful arrangement of the different cuts of salmon and tuna are presented like a still life and is enough to make a geisha clap her hands in delight. Lunch at Shiranui is exceptional value – expect a noodle salad, an appetiser of brilliantly soft and flavourful eggplant, chawan mushi, a handsome assortment of sushi with kingfish, swordfish, cod, tuna, salmon and prawn and a bowl of miso. If it’s available, have the grilled oyster sushi, which is a divine mouthful of a sushi roll topped with a grilled oyster and all its salty-sweet juices. Be sure to book, be it for lunch or dinner, because Shiranui is not such a well kept secret.