The 20-seat Ichi Ichi Ku is much smaller and cosier than its siblings, Ichi Ni St Kilda and Ichi Ni Nana on Fitzroy’s 127 Brunswick Street. It has a strong takeaway customer base, with solid wooden beams to partition the two different environments: slow, intimate dining or fast and on the run.

Ichi Ichi Ku (literally “one one nine” in Japanese) refers to the street address. Locals and regulars abbreviate this to “Ku”, which fits with the venue’s cute and intimate identity. Recycled timber clads the floors, walls and ceiling. Meshing conceals the windows, fostering a warm and hidden vibe. The interior is filled with countless Japanese trinkets and ornaments to discover upon each return visit.

The all-day menu is almost entirely gluten-free and features a handful of traditional Japanese dishes, which are all served with brown rice. But the focus at Ichi Ichi Ku is innovative creations with a Western spin.

The breakfast ramen comes with honey-smoked bacon, oyster mushrooms and a poached egg. For a quick lunch, order a bento box. For dinner, get a few plates to share, such as the nasu dengaku flamed eggplant skewers and tuna tataki, then choose a Wagyu don to follow. End the night with an Ichi Lick ice-cream in flavours such as rose water and pistachio or white chocolate. Drinks include Japanese beers, sake, plum wine and whisky.

The entire dine-in menu is available to take away and can be ordered online via Ichi Ichi Ku’s website, which will reach you via one of Ichi’s customised Japanese-inspired scooters. The venue’s close proximity to the Botanic Gardens makes it a popular visit after a leisurely stroll or workout. Order a coffee or matcha latte at the window counter and grab a baked treat to-go.

Updated: January 4th, 2022

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