It’s all a little secretive and exclusive if you manage to get a booking at this twelve-seater restaurant. Those in the know book on the first of the month – Hajime only takes bookings for the month ahead. You’re asked if anyone in your party has an allergy, which is catered for in advance, and the day before your dinner, you receive an SMS leading you to the elusive front door.
Most of the dishes are perfectly battered and deep-fried in front of you, but there’s also an impossibly fresh sashimi selection, a few salads, a donburi dish and dessert at the end. Don’t bother asking for a second serving of a course if you think it’s particularly amazing – Chef Shigeo only purchases enough for the evening.
Eating at Tempura Hajime allows you to appreciate the simple perfection of single items as they are served – a perfect, fresh plum and crunchy prawn, a spear of green asparagus that still maintains its crunch, and an amazing scallop stuffed with raw sea urchin. Tempura Hajime is worth waiting for.
60 Park Street, South Melbourne
(03) 9696 0051, www.tempurahajime.com