As a food blogger, I'm often asked what is my favourite restaurant or cuisine. While the former question has no straightforward answer (it depends on the feed of the day, cuisine yada yada), I do have one clear-cut answer for the latter and that's Japanese.

While this may not have been the case a couple of years ago, my relatively newfound appreciation for seafood and raw seafood (my 2010 visit to Japan saw me grilling my sashimi on several occasions...) sealed the deal. My daily dealings with social media frequently exposes me to foodporn of all sorts and after seeing one too many pics of Hinoki Japanese Pantry's inviting spread of sushi and sashimi, I finally made the trip to the Collingwood eatery. And have made several more since that first visit... 

The eatery also serves as a grocery store filled with all the necessities required to whip up a delicious Japanese meal at home. Dine in space is quite limited, with seating available for 10 or so people. Fortunately, takeaway is a go!

The assortment of sushi and sashimi comes in various sized packs ranging from the standard 8-10 pieces and then there's the larger 'share' platters - I've been told by some friends that finishing on of these larger platters on your own in an achievable feat... I'm not convinced. Across my handful of visits to Hinoki Japanese Pantry, the sushi and sashimi has been sensationally fresh and tasty. The larger platters are perfect to share between two or three people. I've tried both the mixed sushi+sashimi and sashimi-only platters and recommend the mixed version for variety. I didn't think it was possible but finishing half a platter of sashimi actually put me off sashimi and salmon for a good week or so. The grilled salmon option (smaller sized pack) also comes highly recommended, with a beautiful char that heightened the natural sweetness of the salmon. 

On another note, the larger platters do take a while to prepare so call ahead to place your order and save some time. 

Hinoki Japanese Pantry

279 Smith St,

Fitzroy, Victoria, 3065.

(03) 9417 4531

EatMaggie Lam