Kappo by Kuon: Good quality Japanese omakase with heart in Sydney

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Kappo by Kuon omakase in Darling Square, Sydney, is a treat you won’t want to miss out on.

Kuon in Darling Square, Sydney, is known to have one of the best omakase dining experiences in Sydney. It recently extended its offering with Kappo by Kuon omakase, an eight-to-dine-seat omakase restaurant just opposite the original one.

The omakase (meaning to trust the chef’s choices) focuses on fresh seafood, including Japanese classic sushi and seasonal food.

Kappo by Kuon is led by head chef Shinji with Kuon executive head chef Fukada. On the night we dine, we’re in the good hands of Shinji, who we warm to for his jovial and approachable personality.

Kappo by Kuon head chef Shinji.

Kappo by Kuon omakase

The evening kicks off with a chawanmushi (silky egg custard) flavoured with spanner crab and ginkgo nut. It’s not as delicate and flavourful as other chawanmushis, but we have the opportunity to try ginkgo and appreciate its nutty and slightly bitter tones. Goma somen follows – that is, Japanese noodles and snow crab in a chilled broth. It’s a soft, elegant dish, given some bite with caviar plus aromatic bonito and sesame oil.

Next comes the hassun (meaning a little bit of everything on one plate). Here, we get to taste everything from the tangy mozukusu (seaweed shreds in vinegar sauce) and cooked oyster in sansyo pepper to the grilled duck tsukune (meatballs) with citrus pepper.

We also try komotikonbu, New Zealand snapper sashimi and fatty Queensland bluefin tuna akami. We appreciate being able to try something new with the komotikonbu. We’ve never seen this on Japanese restaurant menus in Australia, but here it is at Kappo: a pickled kombu seaweed with herring eggs. This delicacy is an auspicious dish that’s usually eaten for New Year. It’s the result of herring laying viscous eggs on konbu (kelp), which stick easily.

Hassun (a little bit of everything) at Kappo by Kuon.

We try something new again with the dobinmushi, a clear, bonito stock soup with matsutake mushroom, chicken and edible kiku flowers. This dish, which comes in in a teapot and small soup bowl, must be eaten a certain way. First, take an upside down cup from the top of the teapot.

Dobinmushi at Kappo by Kuon.

Pour the teapot into the cup to fill it with broth. Then, squeeze a wedge of lemon into the broth and sip. Open the teapot and scoop the mushroom, chicken, kiku flowers and broth from the teapot. Meanwhile, sip the citrusy broth from the cup as you please.

Dobinmushi ingredients at Kappo by Kuon.

Kappo by Kuon sushi

The next part of the omakase is dedicated to sushi. Shinji crafts quality seafood, wagyu and sushi rice into spectacular morsels. We devour the Japanese bluefin tuna otoro and the lightly salted Coffs Harbour calamari. The Western Australian aburi scampi sushi is great too.

Searing seafood for sushi at Kappo by Kuon.

Mrs Two Chat Food’s stomach struggles to move on to the tempura dishes, which is a shame since the tempura batter is as crisp as it comes and the prawn, cuttle fish and sweet potato fresh.

However, she finds room for the savoury finale and it’s a treat: the most satiny Tasmanian sea urchin, melting bluefin tuna tora and rice wrapped in a hand roll, finished with miso soup.

Sea urchin and tuna handroll at Kappo by Kuon.

Dessert

Dessert is a light anmitsu (small agar jelly cubes, made from red algae with azuki bean paste and lychee), a dish popular during the Meiji era.

It comes with green tea, which seems to work as a digestive and helps cleanse the palate after your meal.

Kappo by Kuon exposes us to Japanese dishes with a long history but which are hard to find outside of Japan. If you come, expect both dishes you may find at homely diners and others that are the stuff of the finest dining. However, all are infused with the delicacy that makes Japanese food stand apart.


Kappo by Kuon
SE20, 2 Little Hay St, Sydney

Experience more culinary adventures at Two Chat Foodand follow us on Instagram: @twochatfood.

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