3A Shaw St
Bexley North, NSW 2207
How gross has the weather been recently?? Having always lived in dry-as-a-bone Melbourne, the humidity in Sydney was a complete shock, and it still throws me how much worse a 30-degree day feels when the humidity is constantly at 80%. Mind you, I’m hoping that by the time this post comes out, the weather will have calmed down – this visit to Ken’s Sushi Bar actually happened in mid-January; I’m trying to get a really good backlog going before med school starts again and inevitably gets the best of me.
So back to the weather being terrible. When I’m sweating through pores I didn’t even know I had, I always end up craving sushi, which has all the trappings of a satisfying meal without the accompanying heat. Ken’s seems to be a popular place for sushi in the outer south-east, and just to make sure that I can get my fish-fix, I called ahead in the morning to make a booking. And it was just as well that I did, because I saw more than one person turned away (albeit very politely) at the door come dinnertime.
The meal was started with a plate of Vegetable Tempura ($8.8, entrée). Though the batter was crisp, it was a little too dense, and fried a little too long for my liking. This was a big shame, as the veggies were all super fresh and crisp, but the strong flavour of the batter masked that somewhat. All in all, it was good but not great, and got the job done without too much fanfare.
I’m a sucker for a top-notch bowl of Chirashi Sushi ($21.8), and this one… was a bit of a mixed bag. The seafood was reasonably fresh, with the sweet scallops being the highlight, and the rice was fluffy and precisely flavoured with the right amount of sweet yet slightly tangy sushi vinegar. The dish, however, was let down by the inconsistently-sized pieces of seafood that made me feel like I was eating the off-cuts from the kitchen. Just a little more care could’ve made this a really nice bowl of chirashi.
The drawcard here, however, was the massive maki rolls filled with all sorts of non-traditional, but tantalising, combinations. The Golden Dragon Roll ($10.8 4pcs) will make any purist cry with its filling of grilled eel, tamagoyaki, cucumber, topped with lashings of fish roe and sweet BBQ sauce. However there’s no getting past the fact that it tastes good, and did I mention that it’s so massive that it’s almost as thick as my (albeit small) forearm? Just don’t expect to eat this neatly, as the rice is rolled up very loosely, and the sheer amount of filling makes the structural integrity precarious at best.
The Dynamite Fresh Tuna Roll ($9.8. 4pcs) was similarly generous, filled with fat chunks of tuna and buttery avocado. What I hadn’t expected was the heavy drizzle of sriracha-like chilli sauce over the top. I had hoped for the spicy sauce to be mixed through the tuna in a tartare-style, and unfortunately when done this way, the sauce completely overwhelmed the delicacy of the fish.
I haven’t eaten at enough (non-ramen) Japanese restaurants in Sydney yet to work out where exactly Ken’s sits on the spectrum of quality. Based on my previous experiences in general however, I found Ken’s to be pretty middle of the road. I enjoyed the maki rolls, which were both generous and tasty, even if authenticity isn’t their drawcard. But all up, it’s just too expensive for a restaurant that I consider to to fall under the ‘casual weeknight meal’ category, though I have been told that for Sydney, this place is about as cheap as it gets.
Rating: 13/20 – forearm maki.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.