• Hibiki (Camberwell)

Fusion is beyond my comfort zone. It takes flavours into unimaginable combinations. But sometimes, I just have to take that leap. Who knows, I might learn something, or even enjoy it.

Hibiki is a tiny but popular café and bar on Toorak Road, Camberwell. It is Japanese inspired, brunch, lunch, sushi and bar. On a weekday morning, you will still see the tables full, as locals enjoy the Hibiki signature playlist, and the boutique coffee, with innovative fusion meals.

I ordered a flat white. It held a rich crema with thick frothy milk. I loved the cute matte mugs, without handles but warm to touch. The coffee was so good that I fell into ordering another, only to be jittery and overly excitable for the rest of the day (worth it for me, apologies to anyone who spent time with me afterwards).

There are many vegan and vegetarian options for brunch, and as freshly made sushi too.

The Middle Meets East is exactly as the name suggests.

‘Poached eggs with korokke on garlic shiso labne with soy sage, burnt chilli butter, toasted seeds, crispy fried leek, dried cranberries served on seeded sour dough,’ said the menu.

There are many tasty bits in this list (burnt butter, labne, korokke, toasted seeds… in fact most of the components) but I was unsure how they would come together.

Leap one, a success. It was delicious.  The korokke were served hot, crisp on the outside with soft, seasoned potato inside. The nuttiness of the burnt butter complimented perfectly. The labne was flavoured heavily with garlic. This was balanced by the dried cranberries, which were added to give just enough sweetness, but not too much. The toasted seeds added to the nuttiness and added an enjoyable crunch. With dill, a few slithers of red chilli and seeded toast balanced in triangles, the presentation matched the quality of the tastes.

The ambiance here is super cool Tokyo hang out versus fun Melbourne hot spot. The tunes are purposefully selected for maximum vibe, hand illustrated T-shirts are for sale behind the counter, as well as hand-made ceramic keep cups. You get the idea.

I want to return to eat the freshly made sushi – packed with goodness and flavour these ones look delicious. I also want to check out the night-time shenanigans promising fun drinks and up-beat tracks. Okay, I am hooked.

Hibiki is not try-hard fusion with a drop in quality of either side of the two joins. (My pet hate, can you tell)? Instead it is innovation with skillful flare. This is the best kind of fusion – the kind that extends the quality of both, merging into the unique and spectacular. If you love Japan, are sick of the same old avo on toast, love brunch, love coffee, love art, love anything that tries to be creative, or are hungry; then get your friends together and go and try Hibiki.

1161 Toorak Road
Camberwell 3124
03 9995 3815

Opening hours:
Monday to Wednesday, 8:00 to 3:00pm
Thursday to Saturday, 8:00am to 3:00pm and 5:00pm to late
Sunday, 9:00am to 3:00pm

Hibiki Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato