Chris Lucas’ much anticipated latest restaurant venture, Yakimono, will open for trade as Melbourne comes out of lockdown. Situated in the bustling 80 Collins Street in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD, Yakimono is a high energy Japanese-inspired eating house. The restaurant aims to bring a modernized take on inner-city fine dining.
Yakimono came into being under the creative minds of restauranter Chris Lucas and award-winning chef Chris Martin. The two have previously collaborated on the highly-acclaimed restaurant Society, which happens to be neighbours with Yakimono. Lucas’ family of restaurants, known as LUCAS, have been some of the best new restaurants to open in Melbourne in the last couple of years. All of them are high-regarded for their excellent hospitality and exquisite food and drinks. The LUCAS family also has acclaimed Melbourne restaurants Chin Chin, Kisumé, Hawker Hall and Baby.
Martin Benn is one of the most highly awarded chefs in Australia, and his internationally acclaimed Japanese restaurant, Sepia, is one of the most awarded Australian restaurants of the decade. Sepia earned three chefs hats from the Age Good Food Guide from 2012 – 2018, won restaurant of the year in 2012, 2014 and 2015 and was named one of the 50 best restaurants in the world; Benn was awarded chef of the year in 2011. Due to his expertise in creating successful Japanese restaurants, he was an advisor for Yakimono but will not be the executive chef.
Daniel Wilson is taking up the position of executive chef of Yakimono. Born in Auckland, New Zealand, Wilson completed a degree in culinary arts in Michigan before working in some of the best fine dining restaurants in Australia and the United States of America. Fine dining restaurants he was trained in include Blake’s in Southgate, Melbourne, Daniel in New York, Arintji and Graham restaurant. In 2003 whilst he was working at Blake’s, he was awarded Young Chef of the Year. He opened Huxtable in 2010 and was awarded a chef’s hat in 2014, 2015 and 2016. However, he left that venture to focus on the growing Huxtaburger, which he successfully grew to an eight-store successful operation. In 2020, he left Huxtable to join Lucas and Martin in creating Yakimono.
The food and luxury experience are at the heart of Yakimono; literally, the restaurant features a completely open kitchen at its heart. Diners will be able to observe their food as it cooks on the grill. The menu will focus on Japanese-style grill food, which also inspired the restaurant’s name, as Yaki means grill in Japanese. The restaurant can seat 220 diners, but they have a private room for hire called “The Corner Room” that will provide an exclusive fine dining experience for up to 14 guests. The combination of Lucas, Benn ad Wilson is bound to produce an award-winning restaurant. Yakimono is one of Melbourne’s most exciting fine dining prospects, and it will be opening in November.