We are familiar with Kenji-san’s skilful sushi and sashimi from having eaten at Koi previously. Kenji is Kenji-san’s latest venture and we notice a few familiar items such as the ‘Seared scallop carpaccio’ on the menu. We start our dinner, however, with the ‘Small chef's selection sashimi’ which is all about the fresh produce and nothing else. Monsieur Poisson is a little disappointed as he was hoping to order uni (sea urchin) as well but, alas, is it not uni season.
It is the proximity of the seating and the casual setting which affords us an opportunity to speak with Kenji-san. We discover the high standards he sets for his food and his passion for quality ingredients. He insists on using Japanese nori sheets which cost $10 per pack and rice from Japan which he finds less gluggy than local variants. When we tell him we really enjoyed his version of the ‘California Roll’, something which is inherently not Japanese, he offers a simple reason and justification for its $15 price tag – the filling is a combination of scallop and crab meat. As in, it is real seafood and not the usual seafood stick/extender stuff.
The ‘Soft Shell Crab salad’ is a jumble of mixed leaves and crispy crab legs with a light, tangy dressing topped with matchsticks of crunchy radish. It is the perfect contrast to the steaming bowl of ‘Tempura Udon’ where the crunchy tempura prawns are cooked before your eyes and served separately on the side (yay!) negating any soup-induced sogginess.
A short stroll later and we find ourselves at Guylian Café wanting something sweet. We share a larger than expected milk iced chocolate (because Monsieur Poisson is not a big fan of dark chocolate, unlike me) which comes with a little square of Guylian chocolate for nibbling on.
And then comes our plate of petits fours which Monsieur Poisson has devised. As soon as you step in the store there is a display cabinet of these dainty creations for takeaway purchase, but because they had so captured our attention we wanted to try them in house. Monsieur Poisson chooses several and we are surprised when they are presented with the extra effort of chocolate and fruit gel decoration on the plate – thoughtful!
A choc fudge slice sprinkled with the finest trail of salt flakes. A passionfruit cake-let with a mini-syringe of raspberry sauce for injecting into the centre. A tiny tiramisu in a miniature chocolate teacup! And a bite-sized lemon meringue tart. Everything was so adorable and had Monsieur Poisson talking about Sugar Hits again – not long to go now!
Opera Kitchen, Lower Concourse, Sydney Opera House NSW
Tel: 9247 0480
Shop 10, Opera Quays, 3 Macquarie St (entrance on harbour foreshore next to Dendy Cinemas), Sydney NSW
Tel: 8274 7900