Yesterday E and I were in the city making major purchases (a laptop for him and a bread tin for me!) and we were heading for a coffee and cake, when we passed the GPO. I suddenly was struck with a yen to show E the quirky sushi I had found here months ago.
The GPO is Melbourne’s former general post office and like so many old buildings has outgrown its original purpose in the last decade. It is a gorgeous Renaissance Revival building with a soaring clocktower and elegant archways. I remember it as the place you went for stamps and paying bills in the good old days. In fact, as a fresher student in O Week I had to do the dead ant dance on its steps with my fellow freshers – makes me so glad not to be a student any more!
These days it is full of boutique shops. The little laneway between the GPO and Myers Department Store is full of stylish eateries which get very busy at lunchtimes but were quiet mid afternoon. I stumbled across Kenzan @ the GPO last year and was amazed at their roll your own sushi. Now I have wondered if I am the last person in Melbourne to discover this (apart from E who didn’t even know this little laneway of eateries was here) and if it is available elsewhere.
The vegetarian sushi fillings are fairly standard – carrot, cucumber, mushroom and avocado. But when I buy sushi at most places it has been rolled for sometime and the nori sheets around the rice have softened. The Kenzan sushi is sold in a funny packaging which keeps the rice and nori separate so you actually roll the nori around the rice cylinder just before you eat it. The crispness of the nori against the soft rice is a pleasing meeting of textures.
These are not sushi to take away and munch on the run. It is best to stop at the simple stools and tables set up in the laneway – where vehicles once travelled according to signs on the GPO’s stone walls – and concentrate on assembling your sushi. The wrapper includes instructions which are welcome when faced with layer upon layer of plastic. Too much packaging to be environmentally friendly which is a shame given the delicious results.
I also had a salad of radish, avocado, carrot, cucumber, lettuce, wakame, tomato and broccoli. A lovely selection of fresh vegetables but next time I wouldn’t bother with the dressing which was bland and much too oily for my liking. And I had a bottle of Emma and Tom’s Kamarama juice. A much healthier and more interesting snack than the cake which we had intended to find.
Kenzan @the GPO
350 Bourke St
Phone: 03 96637767