B01/139 Bourke St
A standout entry, this Japanese kaiseki restaurant beautifully ties together design and the dining experience.
The harmony and intertwining of nature, artistry, balance and flow are key to the kaiseki style of dining; they are also evident at Ishizuka, a basement restaurant that is somehow conservative and radical at once. Even before entering the dining room, Ishizuka's sense of place and occasion come to the fore with a large backlit lantern egg greeting diners, sweeping them in and signalling the narrative about to unfold.
The interior is epic but muted, dignified, almost filmic, suffusing the restaurant with texture, tone and a sense of mystery. The balance of nature and human agency is expressed through the interplay of flora and the built environment. The jury senses that diners will feel part of the hum and play of Ishizuka while there; enveloped, transported and honoured.
Kaiseki is a traditional Japanese dining experience where courses are curated, crafted and served over several hours. This 16-seat basement diner is designed to celebrate the Kaiseki tradition, but with a uniquely Australian take. The interior is bold, unusual, controversial, thought-provoking yet in complete balance, just like Kaiseki.