Shortly after my first visit to Kuza in Victoria Park for lunchtime pork buns (check out my earlier review), I headed back for a double-date dinner! The restaurant is pretty funky-looking and offers fine-dining Japanese fusion items that are designed to be shared (“izakaya”).
I selected a bubbly, fruity concoction of sparkling wine and plum wine. Light and refreshing! A strange plum sits at the bottom of the glass, a small morsel when you finish your drink (but beware of the pip).
Sake (400mL for $20)
The boys shared a Large serving of sake, which can be served warm or cold. I heard once that good quality sake is often served chilled, while warmer temperatures work better to hide the taste of cheaper varieties. The drinks menu suggests drinking this particular sake warm (not surprising because it was one of the cheapest on the menu). I loved the plum sake and free tastings at Senoji, another restaurant along Albany Hwy in Vic Park, but I didn’t enjoy the non-fruity sake at Kuza. However, the guys seemed to find it palateable.
Wagyu Beef Tataki served with Soy Vinaigrette ($15)
Tender, marbled pieces of seared wagyu beef rested on finely sliced red onions. We enjoyed this dish, but I thought the sauce lacked dimension, it was vinegary but not very exciting. Personally, I rate the cheaper beef tataki from Kabuki, even though the cut of beef was less fancy. I guess you can pay to admire the marbling, but we were hungry and chomped our way too quickly through this dish…
Assorted Sashimi (small for $18)
There’s some flexibility when you select the assorted sashimi dishes, so my friend requested swordfish for something novel. Lovely silky fresh salmon pieces were the highlight for me! My boyfriend enjoyed his favourite, the tuna. The swordfish sounded cool, but honestly wasn’t that tasty compared to the other pieces. A huge mound of hot wasabi accompanied the dish; it was probably a bit excessive and we didn’t finish it. Beautifully presented on a bed of finely shaved ice with a pretty flower, an impressive dish :)
Soft Shell Crab ($16)
An interesting fusion combo - we thought salty crab would go well with sweet watermelon and the ginger vinaigrette. We agreed that the crab and watermelon together was weird, but enjoyed them in separate bites. Intriguing idea, but I wasn’t wowed by this dish.
Linley Valley Free Range Pork Belly ($16)
Four uneven squares of pork belly with miso and apple puree, delicious! The fatty layer melted in my mouth, the meat was tender, and the top was nicely browned. I would’ve enjoyed more crunch on top, as I’m a little obsessed with crackling. The puree underneath was also awesome (apple always goes so well with pork), but I’m not sure whether the flavours were actually very Japanese-ish.
Pork Gyoza ($12)
Six pretty little pork dumplings with spicy vinaigrette dipping sauce. By this point, I started to feel that the vinaigrette was over-used so I just enjoyed the juicy meat (that’s what she said) and unusual capsicum puree. An interesting twist to the usual gyoza flavours!
Chicken Karaage ($15)
Our last dish was deep-fried chicken served with salsa and spicy sauce. The alleged ‘spiciness’ didn’t tickle my pro hardened tastebuds, so I mostly ignored the sauce. The salsa was strange and it was awkward trying to pile zucchini and tomato pieces on top of my chicken, so I disregarded that too. Each chicken piece had a generous drizzling of Japanese mayo (yum) and tasted like Asian KFC, so I guess it meets the description of karaage. I wasn’t too impressed, so I let the guys wolf down the last pieces.
Service was attentive, lighting was dim, dishes were pretty, and the food was tasty. Our bill came to $136 for four people, which is really pricey considering the serving size, so we went across the street for cheap Chinese food afterwards to fill ourselves up.
Likes: fresh quality sashimi
Dislikes: $136 worth of appetisers
Value for money: not great
Overall: honestly quite difficult to justify spending $$$
393 Albany Highway
Victoria Park WA
(08) 9361 8888