For those in the know though, they would laugh at all the talk of underground dining while happily eating their sashimi in the garage of Ibuki House restaurant. Friends of mine have gone to Ibuki House for many years before they moved to a restaurant in the city and then moved back to their Bentleigh East location. Basically, the restaurant is held in the renovated garage of the chef/owner and the room probably holds about 30 people. It's definitely pretty cramped but I guess you don't go there for the space.
The way the meal works at Ibuki is you get served a banquet meal, which cost about $80 depending on produce costs. The banquet, a perfect description, is epic. There is so much food that by course 3 you'll already be wanting to roll home.
The meal starts off with the table laid out with so much sushi and sashimi that you totally start salivating. There's lots of different types of nigiri sushi, and depending on how many people, a massive boat of sashimi. The sashimi has many varieties, even including lobster, abalone and yabbies. I liked most of the sashimi and especially loved the lobster and abalone.
The next few courses are also heavily seafood based. There's oysters with smoke salmon, chawan mushi and scallops with crab and bacon. I liked all the dishes as they were all tasty and well executed.
The seafood extravaganza keeps going with a seafood soup. The soup is served in a paper which is kept warm by a tea light. The broth is nice and the seafood in the soup is ok. Following the soup is the tempura of prawns and vegetables. The tempura is well done but this is the part of the meal that I really hated. The small kitchen in the enclosed garage meant that when they were frying the tempura, there was so much smoke in the room and it got really smelly and actually my eyes starting to sting badly. I'd rather they removed this item from the menu or cook it outside as the room became extremely uncomfortable to sit in the room.
The savoury courses ended with a beef sukiyaki. This dish was nice but was quite oily and fatty too.
After such a large meal, the simple dessert help to revive me. Nice green tea ice cream is served with a strawberry jelly and some fruit. A good clean end to the meal.
The ambiance in the room will vary greatly depending on who's there. I went with a large group of friends so it was really good and buzzing all night. The service from the staff was good and efficient. The restaurant does have a liquor license and you can order various drinks to go with your meal. Overall I enjoyed the meal. The most impressive part was the sashimi boat. Everything else was good without being amazing. I think the meal is worth the price and would recommend it.
For another opinion on Ibuki House, check out Winston's review.