Wabi Sabi Salon is the more down-home sibling to Wabi Sabi Garden, a gourmet Japanese fusion food institution in St Kilda. Here in Collingwood, the same attention to detail is lavished on every dish, and the same ethos of nothing-but-the-best-and-freshest is maintained, but the hip factor is amplified over and above the fine dining atmosphere associated with its sister. Wabi Sabi Salon’s Smith Street premises offer Japanese dishes just like you’d find in Tokyo’s culinary hotspots, emphasising a great range of vegetarian and vegan (and gluten-free) options to keep Melbourne’s health-conscious foodies happy. Check back regularly for the seasonal menus created by Wabi Sabi’s expert chefs, and remember to bring a good crew to share a bunch of dishes for a Far Eastern tapasesque experience.
At the time of writing, Wabi Sabi Salon had released its new summer menu, curated by master chef Chingo Tochimoto. It’s in part due to this seasonality that Wabi Sabi’s Collingwood outlet inspires such loyalty among discerning gourmets. Never a dull moment down Smith Street with this Japanese restaurant’s perfect balance of colourful, robust and delicate dishes, all created from ingredients that the team go to great lengths to procure during their daily trawls of Melbourne’s markets. Plus, with a range of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free dishes on offer, all cleaving close to traditional Japanese fare (with a modicum of impressive fusion flair), many have made Wabi Sabi Salon a default destination on their culinary maps.
While the seasons reign supreme over Wabi Sabi Salon’s offering, the restaurant is also true to its name and true to Japanese form in that its menus are really rather impermanent entities. The weekday special dinner bento changes up daily, meaning there’s always something novel to indulge in whether you select the meat, seafood, vegetarian, vegan, or sashimi bento. That said, you can expect standbys like the Wagyu beef wrap and Wagyu sashimi, prawn or kale tempura, gyoza and agedashi tofu with eggplant and shiitake to regularly make an appearance on the dinner menu. A highlight that draws crowds of adventurous diners to this Collingwood hotspot is the selection of sashimi Carpaccio – salmon with sweet chilli and lime, scorched scallops with apple cream and beetroot sauce, a simple serving of wasabi leaf and soy marinated tuna sashimi, and the white-fish-of-the-day with carrot and onion sauce. Plus, if you’re looking to host a function or private dining party, Wabi Sabi Salon offers some of the most beautifully appointed surrounds in Melbourne, with a main dining room accommodating up to 32 guests, a mezzanine for 10, and an atmospheric Japanese garden that can seat 16. Book in advance.
A cosy place with friendly service and well made tasty food. We will definitely be back. The drinks list include some less commonly available items such as Kirin Cider.
Absolutely fantastic. One of, if not the best, Japanese restaurants in Melbourne. The staff and atmosphere are just as great as the food. Each time I go is better than the last. Highly recommended.
Wonderful modern take on Japanese food without loosing any of the special taste & fantastic service that make it special. I'd certaily make Wabi Sabi my regular.