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Monday, January 05, 2009

Kabuki Shoroku, Sydney

Premium wagyu marbled beef grilled on a hot rock $32

I know I'm a big kid at heart. That's why, even whilst I'm drooling a the sight of the fat-speckled slices of wagyu beef, I'm probably more excited at the prospect of cooking it on a rock.

And yet, Kabuki Shoroku is not really a restaurant for kids. It's a small and cosy eatery hidden within St Martins Tower, only a few doors up from Becasse. The element of secrecy continues at the entrance - the pebbled pathway requires a touch of balance as you step your way along the large polished stones, whilst a smiling waitress holds aside the curtain for you to enter the hushed and quiet dining room.

There's a sense of Zen-like tranquility and sombreness in the decor: dark wood, a gleaming granite countertop and kabuki masks mounted on the walls. A few ambient touches like bamboo plants and flickering candles warm the room, although it does feel very much like a "date night" restaurant, a dinner destination for intimate couples rather than rowdy friends.

Deepwaterdude and I are definitely not on a date, but we are on a hunt for amazing Japanese food.

Beef tataki $10
Australian beef eye fillet sashimi

The beef tataki arrives as five plump slices of rare beef served in the prettiest fan-shaped gold embossed plate. The beef is tender but toothsome, a sweet soy dressing enhancing its flavour, fine shreds of carrot, daikon and cucumber refreshing the palate. It's not as meltingly soft as the beef tataki from the Nippon Club, but the slices are thicker here, which gives greater textural appreciation.

Deluxe sushi and sashimi combination on a boat $58

Our deluxe sushi and sashimi boat arrives next, a huge vessel that threatens to overtake the entire table. The slices of raw tuna, salmon, kingfish and mackerel are all firm and fresh. The tuna and cucumber sushi rolls are inside out uramaki rolls.

Flame grilled unagi nigiri

My favourite item on the boat is the flame grilled unagi nigiri, a plump and soft morsel of sweetened freshwater eel seared with a blowtorch to a delicious caramelised charr.

Grilled scallops Kabuki style $12
Grilled scallops
dressed in mornay sauce

I hadn't been so keen on the thought of grilled scallops in mornay sauce but once I take one mouthful, I'm quickly convinced otherwise. The fat juicy scallop is a perfect match for the delicate but creamy mornay sauce, grilled to a golden brown. The sauce isn't overwhelmingly salty or rich. It's so good I practically lick the shell clean.

Deep fried white bait seasoned with seaweed flakes $13

It takes us a while to nibble through the large bowl of deep-fried white bait seasoned with seaweed flakes. The generous sprinkle of seaweed flakes remind me of those deep-fried nori sheet snacks found in Japanese and Korean convenience stores, a crisp shard of seaweed that is both salty and sweet. I find the seaweed flakes overwhelm the white bait a little, although a generous squeeze of lemon does lift and lighten the dish.

Deep-fried soft shell crab $13

Deep-fried soft shell crab arrives in a pale and airy batter. I almost cluck with fondness at the sight of the leaf garnish, an adornment that instantly reminds of so many good meals in Japan.

Premium wagyu marbled beef grilled on a hot rock $32

And then finally our prized wagyu sirloin arrives, the waitress taking extra care with the smooth hot rock set on a bed of salt crystals. Kabuki Shoroku prides itself on its wagyu, its menu proudly disclosing that its wagyu sirloin has a high quality grading marble score ranging from 6+ to 9+.

The marinated beef slices make a satisfying sizzle as they hit the surface of the hot rock. They take only about 7 seconds to cook on each side, a bit of chopstick negotiation resulting in a piping hot mouthful of meltingly tender beef. The beef seems to relax without a care in the world. A bit like me, as I go for my next helping of beef.

View Larger Map

View Larger Map

Kabuki Shoroku
Ground Floor, St Martin’s Tower
202 Clarence Street Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9267 4552

Free parking available after 6pm in the St Martins Tower building

Opening hours:
Lunch: Monday to Friday, 12.00pm - 2.30pm
Dinner: Monday to Saturday, 6.00pm - 9.30pm

Closes at 9pm on public holidays
Closed on Sundays

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18 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 1/05/2009 12:16:00 am


  • At 1/05/2009 7:11 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yum, yum, yum and so beautifully presented.

  • At 1/05/2009 7:23 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I really like Kabuki Shoroku.

    The last time I went there, I parked myself at the sushi bar, left all the selections up to the sushi chef, and talked with him the whole time about what fish he uses. He was very generous in indulging me.

  • At 1/05/2009 8:58 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oooh, we've recently become addicted to wagyu... there's a place at Rhodes that sells it, as well as the butcher at Chatswood Chase. Yum!

  • At 1/05/2009 9:11 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow! Helen, I think you need to be re-named 'secret Japanese spots in Sydney expert'. That's three I think in the last month! I'm so excited to find them all, cheers. Christie x

  • At 1/05/2009 11:56 am, Blogger Miss Honey said…

    Ooo cooking on the stone really appeals to me!!! I always welcome additional fun lol. Love the look of that scallop:)

  • At 1/05/2009 3:35 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That wagyu looks great! I love the idea of cooking on a hot stone too. I've also heard of hot stone massages although I'm sure the stones aren't anywhere near as hot!

  • At 1/05/2009 7:02 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    wow wow wow helen that looks goooooood! hehehe :) from the wagyu to the soft shell crab!.. i wanna go eat there but a bit pricey for a casual lunch for 2 though? (im always at ramen kan)lol so i should go there for special occassion hehe...

  • At 1/05/2009 7:29 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Those scallops look lovely. The hot rock looks like fun!

  • At 1/05/2009 9:14 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh wow that looks like so much fun! I have passed this place so many times but it has always been closed when I walk past so I didn't know what it was like. Thx for the review I am definitely going to try it now :)

  • At 1/05/2009 11:40 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Veruca Salt - The Japanese always have this fantastic ability to make food look good. Fresh ingredients always helps too.

    Hi anarcist - Ooh I love sitting at the sushi bar - a meal and a show is more than twice the fun. I'll have to remember that for next time, or perhaps use it as an excuse for a next time :)

    Hi hunnyb - I've only ever seen wagyu at Tokyo Mart in Northbridge but good to hear its supply is slowly spreading.

    Hi Christie - lol. I'm not sure how many more I can find, plus some of them have come about courtesy of others helpful tips :) Always on the lookout for secret spots though! We need to uncover all the wonderful delicious eats in Sydney!

    Hi Miss Honey - Cooking on the stone was fun and thankfully the meat didn't stick. The scallops were great. So plump and juicy.

    Hi Lorraine - Ooh a hot stone massage sounds a little bit painful! In my case it might be hot stones on wagyu. lol!

    Hi Kay - We ate in the formal restaurant but I believe that lunches have lower prices (check their website). They have bento boxes and lunch sets available too.

    Hi Arwen - You can't beat the sweet taste of fresh scallops and yeah, if only we could cook on hot rocks all the time. It'd save on washing up!

    Hi FFichiban - You must always walk past on a Sunday :) Hope you make it there soon - look forward to seeing your pics and your take on the food.

  • At 1/06/2009 9:25 am, Blogger SydneyGal said…

    I'm desperately searching for some place in Sydney I can sit at a sushi bar and eat some fatty tuna (toro). I did it in Tsukiji a few years ago and it was oh my god so good. It's my birthday and I feel the need to reacquaint my tastebuds with this delicacy. Any hints?

  • At 1/06/2009 12:32 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi SydneyGal - An understandable craving! I had toro in Japan too and the flavour and texture was amazing. I haven't seen much toro in Sydney and according to this eGullet thread it probably has a lot to do with most of our best tuna heading straight to Japan as export.

    I maanged to google a few alternatives which appear to serve toro however I haven't been to any of them so I can't vouch for any Tsukiji-like similarities! You could try Busshari, Azuma, Koi or Ainoya. Let me know how you go. Would love to hear if you find someone swoonworthy!

  • At 1/06/2009 2:17 pm, Blogger Annie said…

    I am a sucker for soft shell crab... and that hot rock wagyu looks like fun!

  • At 1/06/2009 11:58 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Annie - I have a weakness for soft shell crab too :) The hot rock was fun - and highly effective too!

  • At 1/07/2009 10:32 am, Blogger SydneyGal said…

    Thanks for the tips - I've made a note of those and will try them out and report back. Always love a good Japanese restaurant.

    Very disappointing regarding otoro not being available here. You'd think somebody would grab some before the Japanese got it and serve it - there's enough people who'd pay through the nose for the occasional slice of heaven!

  • At 1/07/2009 8:09 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi SydneyGal - Unfortunately I don't think the number of toro lovers in Sydney represent a worthy enough market for tuna exporters. It is a shame, although it is a good excuse to head back to Japan though :) Keep me posted on your findings :)

  • At 8/27/2010 4:46 pm, Blogger Artr said…

    I know there's a small sushi bar Ju-Rin (Previously Bokkemon) in Crows Nest that has had toro on their specials board before.
    best bet would be to call up and ask for their specials ^_^


  • At 9/12/2010 6:16 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Artr - Thanks for the tip. Will have to check it out!


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