Koi (again!), 8 Jan 2010

With the array of wonderful food choices in Sydney it can sometimes be difficult making return visits to those that are extra spectacular. So when Ms London was back in town, we absolutely had to take her to Koi as she loves her Japanese food. The fact that she is also an avid photographer meant that I knew I wouldn’t be the only one taking photos of the beautifully presented food on their rustic plates. Yes, friends can serve so many purposes aside from providing enjoyable company.

With us being firmly ensconced in summer, I get a better appreciation of Koi’s entrance compared to our last visit in the darkness of winter. The pair of stone lions at the doorway seem less menacing but the daylight doesn’t take anything away from the dark wooden interiors under their soft, warm lighting.

Our square table in the corner has a beautiful floral centrepiece and we start our evening, as we did on our previous occasion, with ‘Seared scallop carpaccio with soy butter.’ The fragrance of butter drifts up to us and we dig into the scallop slices with their smoky seared surfaces and decoration of salmon roe and snipped chives.

This is followed by the ‘Tuna Tartare’ presented in a martini glass. A gentle prod of the egg and golden yolk is released from its centre to coat the springy tuna ‘mince’ in a lather of creamy, sticky goodness. The caviar on top provides some salty and almost crunchy contrast but this is a dish which we discover is rather hard to share!

There is no chutoro nor ootoro available when we enquire and Ms London orders the ‘Whiting usuzukuri with ponzu sauce’ instead. It is something that neither Monsieur Poisson nor I are familiar with and we are met with thin, almost translucent, slices of whiting arranged in a radial pattern. With a squirt of lemon and a quick dip into the ponzu, the thin yet firm flesh of the whiting is sublimely refreshing.

And because we are greedy, we order the ‘Large mixed sashimi’ (21 pieces) even though there are only the three of us. A long wooden plank makes for a dramatic entrance and Ms London and I snap away with our cameras in a flurry. Closest to my end is the snapper arranged as a rose petal atop a slice of lemon, followed by oyster with ponzu, kingfish and salmon before the intricate centrepiece of cuttlefish pinwheeled on top of a lime. The cuttlefish is sliced so thinly that it takes on an almost creamy texture.

The other end of the wooden plank plays host to sashimi of tuna, bonito, scampi, seared scallop arranged on a slice of lime, and cod. The lime and lemon which support several sashimi arrangements impart a subtle fragrance without their tartness dominating the fish in flavour.

Our gluttony is followed by my husband’s favourite uni sashimi which arrives atop a thick slice of grapefruit with half the peel pared back and tucked back on itself. It’s still not my favourite thing but I trust Monsieur Poisson and Ms London when they say it is fresh, creamy and sweet.

We then finally move onto our warm dishes of the meal with ‘Miso grilled silver cod’ which has a sweet miso ‘crust’ balanced by the peppery side salad of baby rocket dressed with an apple-y vinairgrette and sweet, stuffed zucchini flowers.

This is followed by our soft-shell crab roll which is served warm with a filling of finely shredded cucumber, avocado, tobiko and mayonnaise.

We decide that we can, indeed, squeeze in dessert and this is preceded by a palate cleanser of watermelon granita with chamomile and citrus foam. Oh, how I could just eat more of this as an actual dessert! So refreshing and fragrant and perfect for the season.

We order three desserts; all of which must be different of course. The ‘Single bean chocolate marquise’ is served with a sesame tuille which is chewy and nutty but not crisp or crunchy as we expect. Short rounds of coconut pudding adorn the plate with a texture akin to pannacotta and reminds us of the coconut pudding/jelly which is often seen at yumcha.

The ‘Macadamia cake with salted caramel mousse and wattleseed honey ice-cream’ is unfortunately the least attractive of the three desserts chosen and is very brown to photograph. However the cake is dense with a fine nubbly texture and is great with the wattleseed honey ice-cream and its smoky, charred flavour. The revelation is the salted caramel mousse which reminds both Ms London and Monsieur Poisson of Columbines!

I, of course, order the ‘White peach soufflé’ which is served in a copper pot and a side of raspberry sorbet. The soufflé is thinly crusty on top and is marshmallowy in the centre with the subtle flavours of white peach.

Full to the brim and feeling very happy with our efforts, no meal is complete at Koi without their complimentary fish-shaped chocolates served on a chilled stone platter.

We chat a little more while our green tea is continually topped up. It is dark by the time we leave and we wander down the road in search of our cars with satisfied bellies, wondering when we’ll be back at Koi once again.

102 Woolwich Rd, Woolwich NSW
Tel: (02) 9817 6030

Opening Hours:  Mon & Tues  CLOSED
Wed  6pm-10pm (dinner only)
Thurs  12pm-3pm (lunch)
           6pm-10pm (dinner)
                        Fri & Sat  12pm-3pm (lunch)
                        Sun  12pm-3pm (lunch)
                                6pm-9:30pm (dinner)

Koi on Urbanspoon

*EDIT*: As at mid-2011, Koi has been "temporarily closed" according to their voicemail message.

happy eating!


  1. looks like such a special place. i'd love to try one day. fish shaped chocolates are so cute :-)

  2. This place looks amazing (inside and out!). Love the look of the cod and chocolate marquise yum yum. Hehe I had watermelon granita last night at Spice Temple!

  3. That sushi platter looks divine... we still haven't made it to Koi yet.. hopefully when we do go they'll have some ootoro... :)

  4. This place reminds me of the restaurants in Kyoto. I really love their presentation. Koi is now on my hit list. Thanks for sharing.

  5. What a beautiful meal, though I just can't look at uni without thinking of tongues.

    I think I might have to try making some wattleseed honey ice cream.

  6. Welcome back. How was the wedding? Did you get a chance to see my orange macarons....with orange dust, as suggested by a certain someone? And oh, I made friands a couple of days ago - thank you. Very nice, for a first try, made a couple of errors but...they came out tasting good. Stay well

  7. wonderfull pictures, such a beautifull place!!

  8. Oh, I must go to Koi! The presentation is gorgeous. Lucky you to have experienced it more than once!

  9. Wow, everything looks like little works of art or sculpture! :o I don't think I've ever seen sushi presented so artfully! :)

  10. Hey Simon, it is, it is! I've been twice and we'll definitely go back again.

    Hey Lily, it really is a beautiful and soothing place to eat at. And although their desserts aren't very 'Japanese-y', they are most excellent!

    Hey Lis, that sushi platter - never have a I eaten a more visually appealing one! Haha, the chutoro and ootoro all depends on the season/market price??

    Hey Amy, it's kind of in the middle of nowhere but it is really worth going to.

    Hey Conor, haha, uni has always reminded me of little tongues as well! It's that fine bubbly surface texture. Can't wait to see your wattleseed ice-cream =)

    Hey Kitchen Butterfly, wedding was great fun but tiring =p And I have seen your orange macarons - so honoured to have been part of their creative process!

    Hey Zia, thank you! And believe me, the food tasted as wonderful as it looks.

    Hey Belle, yes, please try Koi! I can't rave about it enough to people who will listen =p

    Hey Lorraine, the food is such a visual spectacular before you even get a chance to eat it...then wow!

  11. I still haven't made it here, but boy it looks good! I've only heard delicious things about it and the presentation is really pretty!

  12. Hey Forager, go, go! It really is as wonderful as it looks and is a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach.

  13. Looks fabulous. Haven't been back here in awhile, and I loved finishing the meal with some chocolate fish, the last time we were there.

  14. Hey Y, apart from the food being great, the chocolate fish are a really nice added touch in keeping with the name of the restaurant.

  15. OMG I Miss this place so much. I've only been there once, and was very impressed with the food on offer, although I did find it was a little expensive. I need to ask the boyfriend to take me there again.

  16. Hey Linda, I've been twice now and both the food and its presentation are beautiful! On the expensive side, I agree, but I suppose they do classify themselves in the fine-dining category.

  17. looks fantastic, thanks for the review, Thang

  18. Hey Thang, thanks for swinging by =) The food here really is great and I never seem to stop telling people about it. But it is 'special' occasion food so find a reason to treat yourself!

  19. What a stunning selection of dishes. I've been to Woolwich just once and fell in love with it instantly. I think the next time I get out there will be for a beautiful lunch at Koi

  20. Hey John, the husband and I are planning on taking a couple of people there soon but it will be the first time for us eating there since Chef Kenji has left.

  21. We just tried to book to go tonight, but I think it's closed down as of Jul/Aug 2011?? The phone numbers on their website are disconnected too....

  22. Hey Florence, the husband tried booking in July (I think) and got a voicemail message saying it was "temporarily closed". Unfortunately I have no idea what's happened since then.


Thanks for leaving a comment!


Related Posts with Thumbnails