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Monday, October 31, 2005

Kura, Haymarket

hoso maki

Isn't it funny how for x number of years you can walk past a noodle shop without ever seeing it enter your field of vision. When you do finally notice, you stare at the menu, you peer inside curiously, you make plans to eat there, and finally you head for a table, you have a great meal, and you wonder how you could've ever been so blind.

kura external

Kura is my case in point. It's located on one of the busiest intersections of Chinatown: opposite Market City, on the way to George Street, across the road from the Dom Nang Asian grocer, right next to the crazy Blue Star hairdressing salon, and I never noticed it until earlier this year.

Sure I'd somewhat noticed the Asian students eating with faces almost pressed against the glass, but it never occured to me to pay closer attention to what they were eating. They weren't from the House of Guangzhou next door (which I still haven't visited). This was a cosy Japanese noodle bar. And I mean cosy.

kura bar

Seating fourteen people at a stretch, Kura is endearingly reminiscent of the claustrophobic functionalism that is the Japanese way of life. A melodic chorus of welcoming Irrashaimases brings a smile to the face as you desperately inhale to suck your stomach in, clumsily manouevring yourself into an impossibly squashed table setting.

One benchtop lines the crazily narrow kitchen, another faces a wall adorned with a giant pair of silver fish cut-outs. The two tiny tables are prime seating here, although it's a little unnerving having passersby stare at you and your meal from the other side of the glass (guilty as charged).

A wisp of a waitress suddenly appears with laminated menus as she merrily rattles off the contents of today's ever-changing lunchset. All the menu options come with handy pictures, although the range of choice is dangerous for the indecisive diner.

All up I've eaten here four times now and only just posting now. I have been a lazy foodblogger.

miso
Miso soup and green tea

today's lunchbox
Today's Lunch Set $8.50
Pork with seaweed and pickled ginger on rice;
udon noodles with seaweed;
and miso soup.

udon
Udon noodle soup with seaweed

chicken cutlet
Another Day's Lunch Set $8.50
Chicken cutlet on udon noodle soup;
vegetable tempura on rice with pickled ginger and seaweed;
and miso soup.

I've eaten Today's Lunch Set twice now. The chicken cutlet day was definitely the winner, a thick juicy fillet of chicken crumbed and fried, atop a mass of slippery udon noodles in soup.

The pork was also tasty, soft and ribboned with just enough fat for flavour. Whichever dish is featured for the day, the generous portion of noodles and rice should be enough to satiate even the keenest carboholic at lunchtime.

sashimi
Combination sashimi set $9.80
Tuna, kingfish and salmon sashimi;
salad; miso and rice


Sashimi was a little disappointing. Whether it was just my luck to get the scraggly end bits of fish, the salmon slices were almost torn in two although the kingfish was pleasingly tasty.

nigiri
Combination sushi set $9.80
7 pieces of sushi (salmon, tuna, kingfish, squid, prawn,
octopus and unagi eel) with 6 cucumber hosomaki rolls
and served with miso.
See also picture at the start of this post

The combination sushi, on the other hand, is always visually spectacular. A colourful spectrum of seafood is showcased on ivory beds of rice. Six guards of hosomaki keep a watchful eye as a mound of gari and wasabi invite mischief in the corner. Yep, this is food porn baby. Let's get it on...

octopus
Prawn, octopus and unagi eel nigiri

tamago
Tamago nigiri

kura chopsticks
Kura Japanese Dining & Take Away
Shop 3, 76 Ultimo Road, Haymarket, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9212 5661


Open Mon - Sat 11am-10.30pm,
Sun 11am-9.30pm

They also have another outlet a few streets away
Kura III (not sure what happened to the second one)
Shop 1, 6 Dixon Street, Haymarket, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9268 0016
19 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (AugustusGloop) on 10/31/2005 11:59:00 pm


19 Comments:

  • At 11/01/2005 2:41 am, Anonymous Mama BoK said…

    Never been here before.. AG.. but i guess it must be because it is very squishi (small).. heheh!! i like a spacious table.. heh!!

     
  • At 11/01/2005 8:43 am, Anonymous kat said…

    Have you tried Men-ya nearby? It's quite a find too.

    Personally though, my favourite Japanese restaurant in Sydney is Ju-Ju in Kings' Cross. Good atmosphere, good food, and suitable for a student's budget.

     
  • At 11/01/2005 8:59 pm, Anonymous Susan said…

    Oh! We saw them in July this year when we were in Sydney, but never stepped inside (so many delights in the area...mm...mouth waters in memory of..) Thank you, thank you, thank you for doing what I wish I could have done and then writing it up. What delectable photos. We're in Sydney in July 2006 and will visit this time!

     
  • At 11/01/2005 9:48 pm, Blogger Rachel said…

    I've always seen it walking past and thought I might try it one day. How do you think it compares to sushi suma for quality and value for money? The sets seem reasonably priced, but it seems a lot of noodle and rice. Really beautiful pictures though ... very appetizing.

    BTW ... house of guangzhou has to-die-for claypot crab and tang hoon (dong fen or rice vermicelli)

     
  • At 11/01/2005 10:59 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Mama BoK - Finally a restaurant you didn't manage to get to =) Yes it is squashy but that's part of the charm!

    Hi Kat - I've walked past Men-ya but haven't eaten there yet. I've eaten there when it used to be a Japanese sushi restaurant (about 5 yrs ago). If I head to the Prince Centre it's often for a handmade noodle fix.

    I've actually had its sister restaurants Suminoya and Koyha recommended to me as well.

    Hi Susan - Glad to be of assistance =)

    Hi Rachel - I think Sushi Suma has the upper hand but Kura is a handy pit-stop for a movie or shopping adventure.

    Thanks for the tip on HoG too. I do love a claypot!

     
  • At 11/02/2005 11:31 am, Blogger Veruca Salt said…

    Yum! I am having serious sushi withdrawl.

     
  • At 11/03/2005 3:22 am, Blogger obachan said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

     
  • At 11/03/2005 3:24 am, Blogger obachan said…

    You know, what looks so interesting to a Japanese is a miso soup coming with a set menu which already includes a bowl of udon. We rarely do that in Japan (at least in the places I've been to), but it seems to be popular outside Japan, because I think I’ve seen a set menu like that on Reid’s site, too.

     
  • At 11/03/2005 1:50 pm, Blogger pseudo chef said…

    Hmm at the sashimi - and wow at the colour of the tuna, looks extremely fresh and so alluring :)

     
  • At 11/03/2005 9:13 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Obachan - I didn't even notice that, but yes that's true. The cynic in me would say it's probably because miso is relatively cheap so it adds greater perceived 'value', especially when the customer waddles out full (of liquid).

    Hi pseudo chef - I thank my lucky stars every day I was born in Sydney with access to lots of fresh seafood! =)

     
  • At 2/03/2006 11:44 pm, Blogger Antti said…

    I also found Kura when I visited Sydney a few weeks ago. I'm going to blog about sushi, and thought Kura would be a nice example of a laid back and inexpensive sushi bar - and thus found your nice blog too :) Here in Finland sushi is expensive... but I'm already thinking about moving to Syd ;)

     
  • At 9/02/2006 12:38 am, Blogger ~ Roy said…

    I like Kura. So cheep cos.

     
  • At 9/05/2006 12:21 am, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Antti - Kura is a great little sushi bar. And yes, you should move to Sydney. Our seafood is fantastic =)

    Hi ~ roy - I love their daily lunch specials too. It's always a surprise meal.

     
  • At 11/09/2007 11:12 pm, Blogger red bean said…

    I went today- after remembering your recommendation! I couldn't believe they squished 8 chefs and 2 waitresses behind the counter.. there was a line outside the entire time I was there. (Always assumed people were just waiting to cross the lights) Had tempura gyoza. They've changed their chopstick wrappers~ its interesting the designs on those things.

     
  • At 11/11/2007 11:26 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi red bean - Isn't it a gorgeous little noodle house? I remember it took me ages to realise it was there too!

     
  • At 4/12/2008 5:59 pm, Anonymous Bobby said…

    I've come back to Sydney after a hiatus of 2 years in Melbourne and it appears that they aren't doing their lunch special anymore. Which is a real pity cos it was amazing value especially when you're a poor student. The food is still fantastic though and very good value for money .... I just miss the lunch specials. :)

     
  • At 4/26/2008 10:37 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Bobby - I walked past recently and noticed the absence of the daily special too. A shame, as the mystery of the daily special was half the fun :)

     
  • At 8/26/2009 1:34 pm, Blogger shor said…

    Kura recently opened a new kitchen up on Harris St, Pyrmont. Same tiny layout, same great value food.

    The worker bees at the many media companies and agencies located in Pyrmont no longer have to go without a great Japanese lunch spot!

     
  • At 8/27/2009 1:21 am, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Shor - Thanks for the heads-up. I didn't realise they'd opened another outlet in Pyrmont. Am sure it's doing a roaring trade!

     

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