Wabi-sabi, the Japanese art (and aesthetic, and philosophy) of the incomplete, the transient, the imperfect; but also of the simple and the intimate – an immediately felt and appreciated economy of taste and sensation that extends just as easily to food as it does to architecture and objects. Wabi Sabi Garden has upped the ante for fine Japanese dining in Melbourne, and brings the principles of wabi-sabi to more than just its name. The restaurant’s premises along St Kilda’s Wellington Street present a playful frontage outside and in, forming a kind of wry asymmetry when the impeccably plated dishes begin to roll out of the kitchen. This is Japanese fusion at its finest, just, as the proprietor’s say, as you’d find in Tokyo.
Really good service . They were welcoming and helpful and gave us a selection of sakes to try because we didn't know which one to get. The food was a high standard and they have some interesting variations on Japanese food. Casual atmosphere was good too.
One of the best Japanese restaurants we've ever been to. Every dish was cooked to perfection, and despite a busy Saturday night the staff seemed to always be on hand when wanted. Definitely a keeper.
Fantastic little restaurant, great atmosphere and amazing dishes! Great for groups as well if sharing dishes.
Wabi Sabi Garden work hard to ensure only the freshest ingredients are put under its professional Japanese chef’s knives, scouring Melbourne’s markets daily and judiciously selecting premium ingredients for import. When it comes to ordering, Wabi Sabi Garden rightly recommend a round of shareable dishes – the best way to explore what’s on offer and a social way to dine. While casual dining is the go for most, Wabi Sabi’s St Kilda premises down Wellington Street houses a charming Japanese garden space that’s perfect for weekend private hire and functions. For those in the Collingwood and Fitzroy areas, sibling restaurant Wabi Sabi Salon offers another chance to sample some of the city’s best Japanese.
What exactly is on offer at Wabi Sabi Garden? Focusing on traditional Japanese cuisine with a considered amount of fusion flair, the daily lunch bento boxes are a must for those looking for a midday meal in Melbourne. Choose from meat, seafood, vegetarian and vegan options (gluten-free is also available) and enjoy the chef’s special selections alongside vegetable gyoza, sides and salads, miso soup and white or brown rice. Other lunch options include Japanese-style burgers – Wagyu beef, panko pork loin, chicken karaage teriyaki – generous lunch plates, curries, slurpable ramen, sushi and sashimi and Wabi Sabi’s signature gourmet salads: tuna sashimi, buckwheat soba noodle and quinoa, and grilled salmon. Dinner is a well-structured affair, with small plates like the Wagyu beef wrap, soft shell crab tempura, and vegan agedashi tofu ideal for sharing. It goes without saying that the evening selection of sashimi and sushi is superlative, while mains like the double braised pork belly with yuzu sauce, Japanese duck breast, and grilled black cod with Kyoto saikyo miso are unmissable. Round off dinner at this St Kilda Japanese restaurant with the delicious green tea cheesecake and you’ll quickly be a convert to Wabi Sabi Garden’s artful offering.