Kuon Omakase Review Sydney 2022 Review

shop 20 2 rue Little Hay
New South Wales

See the map

Opening hours Thurs-Sat lunch; dinner Tue-Sat
Features Licensed, Accepts reservations, Tasting
Prices Expensive (mains over $40)
Payments eftpos, Visa, Mastercard

Quick, pinch my napkin. Is it real? Did we succeed? Am I really here? After months of trying to land a reservation at one of Sydney’s most popular omakase restaurants, is it finally time to experience a level of seafood that may have other food critics crying in delight over fatty tuna? “Happy are we for this piece of moderately dry tuna. – aged fish!”

Kuon Omakase opened two years ago in Haymarket’s neon-tinged Darling Square which, depending on who you talk to, is either a boil in the back of Chinatown or a family-friendly bubble tea neighborhood and Pancakes on the Rocks.

To plant your own rear in one of Kuon’s nine seats, you need to hover over its website at noon on the first (but sometimes fourth) Tuesday of every month when reservations open a few weeks in advance. Refresh, refresh, refresh. Click, click, click. Refresh. Click on. Refresh. Click on. Throw the laptop against the wall.

Essential dish: Otoro of red tuna. Photo: Wolter Peeter

Infuriating reservation systems are a hallmark of Japanese omakase restaurants, which have popped up like mushrooms after a downpour over the past two years. The set menu format – usually around 20 fishy little things for north of $150 – is a smart way to lock in customer spending and staffing needs. It’s also a fun and mindful way to eat.

After more than a year of unsuccessful attempts, I manage to secure a place on Tuesday evenings at Kuon’s elegant blond-wood counter. It’s a soothing, sparsely decorated room that says, “You’re here to watch out for the chef who hand-molds every piece of sushi.” A very attentive waiter clears the plates, pours wine and shows the guests the restrooms across the aisle.

Before nine bites of nigiri (raw fish served over vinegar rice), a procession of free-form creations showcases chef Jun Miyauchi’s skill at putting pretty things together on beautiful plates. The pan-fried langoustines are a highlight; soft and delicate and served with a leaf of perilla and a large piece of avocado, it requires a certificate IV in chopsticks to be picked up on the first try.

Chawanmushi with dried scallop, sweet corn, lily flower root, potato and edamame.

Chawanmushi with dried scallop, sweet corn, lily flower root, potato and edamame. Photo: Wolter Peeter

Steamed chawanmushi cream is a comforting dip of dried scallop, turnip-like lily root, edamame, and corn; ponzu butter gives luster to a giant Pacific oyster served in a shell that looks like a souvenir ashtray; the fillet of wagyu with monkfish foie gras – the foie gras of the sea – is enhanced with a shot of sauce based on red vinegar. Is it delicious? Oh yeah.

I’m less taken with the optional $25 course of tempura sea urchin gonads. Although I’ve had the occasional witty moment with a sea urchin when it’s served fresh from the deep waters, most food served in restaurants seems to be chefs joking, “Hey, let’s see how much we can charge for that snot of kraken that tastes like a fishmonger’s armpit.”

So it happens. The alpha. The omega. The nigiri imperador. Crowned with a patch of salty kelp, it’s a moment of balance and harmony and the pure essence of the ocean, New Zealand’s buttery fish firm and sweet against every grain of al dente rice. The heavens open and Gabriel’s trumpet sounds. There you have it, that perfect piece of sushi.

Akami zuke (marinated ruby ​​red tuna) nigiri.

Akami zuke (marinated ruby ​​red tuna) nigiri. Photo: Wolter Peeter

If you like that stuff, those 10 seconds of bliss really help justify the $230 price tag.

Unfortunately, the imperador was missing from the menu a week later when I sent a photographer because Kuon only uses the best seasonal catches of the day, et cetera, et cetera. The bluefin tuna caught by Bermagui, however, is a little more regular and almost as wonderful.

Miyauchi serves three cuts of the noble fish during my visit: marinated ruby ​​red akami (lean meat from the back of tuna); Succulent, heavily marbled otoro (from the fattest part of the belly) and chutoro, a medium-fat pale pink cut with a flavor that thrills all pleasure receptors.

Wagyu fillet, monkfish liver, truffle and red vinegar sauce.

Wagyu fillet, monkfish liver, truffle and red vinegar sauce. Photo: Wolter Peeter

There’s also pearly white southern calamari sprinkled with caviar, meaty scallops that melt on your tongue and the sweetest New Caledonian prawns.

Many pieces of the jewelry box are seasoned with nikiri, a secret blend of soybeans brushed on just before serving.

Scruples, I have a few. The only white wine by the glass is a dry, textured 2019 Grace Koshu Toriibira from Japan and it costs $27. The sake is better value, but still far from a bargain.

But, well on my way to becoming one of Sydney’s many omakase fanatics looking for seasonal fish and signature specialties, I will absolutely be returning.

How does Kuon stand up to Yoshii’s Omakase at the Crown which costs – wait for it – $350 per person? I’ll have to let you know when I get a fucking reservation.

Vibe: Sushi shrine revered for delicious moments of zen

Essential dish: Bluefin tuna otoro (as part of a set menu)

Drinks : Short and expensive list of mostly French whites, one red and lots of sake

Cost: $230 per person for a 20-course omakase menu


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