Walking in to Iki Jimē, you may feel you’ve stumbled into a ship: there are drawn curtains, blackened walls and low-hanging lights making the outside world seem far away. This is the latest addition to Shannon Bennett’s fleet of restaurants; it replaces the 11-year-old French restaurant Bistro Vue. Even though the site’s reincarnation retains some of Vue’s physical features, Ike Jimē is setting an entirely new course. It’s all about Australian seafood, ethically and sustainably caught.
You’ll find Josper-roasted abalone stuffed with calamari; a Spanish mackerel chop dressed in nasturtium vinaigrette; and a grilled whole barramundi.
The man behind the seafood is the Tasmanian-based Mark Eather, who practises the Japanese fishing technique for which the restaurant is named. Ike Jimē involves spiking a fish’s brain as soon as its caught, then immediately freezing it for optimum quality. Proponents of the technique say it reduces the fish’s stress level at the time of slaughter and helps to maintain optimal flavour in the fish.
The menu begins with a number of smaller dishes such as oysters, a Moreton Bay bug tart and snapper “snags” followed by four mains and four sides.
Try Ike Jime’s play on the prawn cocktail and a nod to the Aussie barbeque with the snapper sausages served with a tarragon emulsion and kohlrabi slaw.
Things get a little more serious with the mains. The whole barramundi is cooked in a Josper charcoal oven and served wrapped in paper bark with lemon myrtle, chilli and clams.