Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Kuza Urban Japanese Food

Tonight, I left my hubby at home and caught up with a couple of my favourite girlfriends, SA and LT.  It's been a while since our last catch up and as usual we decide where to go last minute.  LT wanted Japanese so we ended up at Kuza Urban Japanese Food, a restaurant I've wanted to try but have been reluctant to go because of mixed reviews and knowing that it wasn't owned or run by Japanese people. 

I got there first and was greeted by an unsmiling waitress who asked me if I had a booking I didn't but that was fine, she sat me at the other end of a table already occupied by a couple (which was a bit awkward).  SA and LT arrived shortly after and we managed to pick a few items from the large selection, using a menu that was not at all user friendly.

Our order
  • Scallop Ceviche (Scallop Sashimi served with Avocado, Tomato & Spanish Onion with a Citrus Sesame Dressing) $18 
  • Kamo Ro-Su (Seared Duck Breast with Rocket Leaves & Pear Slices topped with a Creamy Mustard & Sake Sauce) $18 
  • Assorted Sushi Mori (5 assortments of Chef's Selection of the Day) $18 
  • Truffle Chirashi Roll (Tuna, Salmon, Truffle Sauce) $16 
  • Soft Shell Crab (Fried Soft Shell Crab served with Fresh Watermelon Pieces & Ginger Vinaigrette) $19 
  • Linley Valley Free Range Pork Belly (Twice Cooked Pork Belly served with Miso Apple Puree & Horseradish & Parsnip Slaw) $22 
  • Green Tea Mousse with Azuki Beans $12 
  • Black Sesame Panna Cotta with Fruits of the Forrest $12 
  • Creme Brulee with Raspberry Vodka Sorbet $12
  • Green Tea x 3 $9 ($3 each) 
  • Green Tea Plum Wine x 2 $14 ($7 each)

Food & Presentation - 3/5
For a restaurant selling themselves as serving urban Japanese food, I was a bit disappointed.  Don't get me wrong, the food was nicely presented but it just wasn't that great especially for the price you are paying.  Let's start from the beginning, the assorted sushi mori and truffle chirashi sushi came out first, the taste was not bad but the rice tasted like it wasn't cooked with enough water and I think they had completely forgotten to add vinegar to it.  The duck breast was cooked well, the meat was pink but the salad was drenched in dressing which was overpowering and made the rocket soggy.  Scallop sashimi with avocado is not the best pairing, bland plus bland, soft plus soft, you couldn't really differentiate the texture or taste by much and there was way too much onion.  By this time, I said to SA and LT, " you realise we have found something to complain about with every dish so far?"  The soft shell crab was a bit overfried and a bit too salty, the watermelon balanced the saltiness, however, I couldn't taste the ginger in the vinaigretteLast but not least, the pork belly which was not bad was accompanied by a slaw which was unpalatable, I could not make myself eat it.
Assorted Sushi Mori $18
Truffle Chirashi Roll $16
Kamo Ro-Su $18
Scallop Ceviche $18
Soft Shell Crab $19

Linley Valley Free Range Pork Belly $22
We were not full and were tossing up between ordering sashimi to clear our palates (surely you can't go wrong with sashimi) or having dessert.  We opted for dessert which tasted nice but (1) the green tea mousse was more like a cream than a mousse, it was not fluffy or airy at all, (2) the black sesame panna cotta was not hard enough, it was the same texture as the mousse and (3) the creme brulee was the right consistency but we were sharing the dessert so it ended up being one big plate of cream.

Green Tea Mousse with Azuki Beans $12
Black Sesame Panna Cotta with Fruits of the Forrest $12
Creme Brulee with Raspberry Vodka Sorbet $12

Service - 3/5
Apart from one male staff who constantly smiled and was very polite, I don't think the rest of the staff got taught how to smile.  They were not rude but they were not friendly either.  SA managed to scare the living daylights out of one of the waiters (who we think is a newbie) when she asked him to refill our tea.  They did refill our tea a couple of times but missed either SA or I each time, not sure why.
Atmosphere - 3.5/5
Nicely decorated with an open kitchen.  I loved the Japanese wine/sake display, the lights and the Japanese newspapered ceiling, although not too sure about the mural (which I managed to forget to take a photo

Value for money - 3/5
The size of servings were small and lacked quality for the prices charged.

I won't be going back to Kuza again but a friend did tell me that lunch is better in quality and value for money so I might give it another try later.

Taste Test Total Score 12.5/20
Kuza Urban Japanese Food on Urbanspoon