Monday, May 26, 2014

Happy 11th birthday to Kobe Jones

If there was a comparison, I think restaurant years would comprise more time than dog years. So the fact that King Street Wharf's Kobe Jones is celebrating 11 years at the waterside site this year, I think is more like celebrating a 90th birthday - completely commendable and worthy of respect in the Sydney dining game.

Miyamizu sake at Kobe Jones, Lime Street, King Street Wharf, Sydney
To celebrate Kobe Jones' entry to restaurant tween-hood (or nonagenerians) earlier this year, we were invited to indulge in an 11-course kaiseki set course meal featuring menu favourites from across the last 11 years. Indeed, a lot of these favourites remain on the menu today; a testament to the staying power of customer favourites.

We commenced with a celebratory "kanpai" before sipping the delectable chilled Miyamizu sake from the Nada region in Kobe.

Number One special
We started with one from the many of Kobe Jones' signature maki sushi rolls, the Number One Special, which arrives in a torched cloak of the restaurant's secret creamy sauce.

The large, at-least-two-bite sushi pieces comprise Hiramasa kingfish rolled with nori seaweed sheets, filled with creamy threads of a crab salad and avocado, and topped with smelt roe.

It was a full-on mouthful of seafood and creaminess; the latter a characteristic of the fusion Californian-Japanese style Kobe Jones is known and loved for. As a starter, this was matched with Wild River Sparkling Brut NV.

Seared salmon carpaccio (left) and tuna tataki Kobe Jones style
Sashimi took on a new form with slight searing of both the raw salmon and tuna slices in the next combined offering.

The salmon carpaccio, seared with extra virgin olive oil, was dressed with a mildly spicy wasabi and pepper sauce, garnished with microherbs; while the tuna, also seasoned with pepper, was topped with a special cream sauce.

The platter was completed with steamed mushrooms and poached asparagus spears, and matched with the sweet 2009 Xanadu Next of Kin Rose.

Yellow Submarine roll
With modern Japanese restaurants now doing all sorts of things to the traditional sushi forms, I was interested to sample Kobe Jones' Yellow Submarine Roll which is wrapped in a soybean "sheath" rather than nori seaweed.

Soft and smooth, the yellow soybean sheet loosely held rice and a filling of prawn, julienned cucumber and crunchy pops of bright orange fish roe, garnished with more salmon roe.

Calamari salad
Next, a not-so-healthy salad featuring thickly crumbed squid pieces dressed with Kobe Jones' own mayonnaise dressing.

The salad comprised mixed leaves, carrot, shallots and more fish roe and was an appropriate break from sushi and sashimi, although the heavily battered calamari was disappointing, albeit crunchy.

These two dishes were matched with the 2013 Peter Lehmann Pinot Grigio; one of my favourite drops of the evening.

Yuzu soy scallop
In another modern Japanese favourite, plump sashimi style scallops appeared beneath a tumble of microherbs; the molluscs marinated in yuzu and soy. I adore the sea-sweet flavour of scallops and these were no exception; absolutely highlighted by the well-rounded, citrusy dressing.

Lobster roll
The celebration of Kobe Jones' special creamy sauce continued with the lobster roll, which was barely distinguishable beneath the cavalcade of sauce, smelt roe, shallots. sesame seeds and soy glaze.

There was slipper lobster meat to be found under the sauce, and further in, crab and avocado rolls in another rendition of classic Kobe Jones contemporary sushi style.

Tempura prawn
Crunchy tempura fried tiger prawns didn't surprise anyone but they were done very well with an airy and crisp batter, perhaps a tad oily but still a satisfying few mouthfuls dipped into tempura sauce. These were paired with the 2011 Yangarra Estate Viogner.

Alaskan crab
The dish of the night for me was undoubtedly the Alaskan king crab legs, cooked on the robata grill and served simply in its shell with fresh lime.

Just cooked with a slight char flavour, the simple cooking process allowed the sweet crab flesh to truly shine. There was no greater pleasure than pulling out whole strips of crab leg and savouring each sweet bite slowly.

Wafu style grilled wagyu
Nine courses down and I was struggling to look at the wagyu steak; also cooked on the robata to a slightly more than medium point. Pre-sliced and served with a balsamic teriyaki sauce, a round of grilled onion, baby corn and mushrooms, it was a heavy, slightly chewy end to the savoury courses.

The steak was matched with the not-too-heavy 2009 Logan Cabernet Merlot.

Flaming anko
Having left the table for a short moment, I missed the flaming of the green tea crème brûlée which was designed to brûlée the toffee top. In addition to the well-flavoured custard, there was sweet mashed azuki red bean within the pot in a classic Japanese pairing.

We finished with delectable glasses of 2010 Peter Lehmann Botrytis Semillon, deliciously decadent and entirely appropriate for a birthday celebration. Happy birthday to Kobe Jones - here's to many more happy restaurant years.

Food, booze and shoes dined as at Kobe Jones as a guest, with thanks to The PR Partnership.

Kobe Jones on Urbanspoon


Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

We were just talking about how difficult it is to survive anything longer than 8-9 years in Sydney!

Unknown said...

Wafu style grilled wagyu is interesting

Helen (Grab Your Fork) said...

You've put the Yellow Submarine song in my head now! lol

Tina said...

Hi Lorraine - I think 5 years is a feat in Sydney now!

Hi Helen - Haha, great name for a sushi roll, isn't it?


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