Monday, 3 September 2012


Kabuki on Urbanspoon

Not sure what sudden interest propelled me to drive 30 minutes just for some Kabuki.

Maybe it was the flood of positive reviews on Urbanspoon (I don't care what they say, Urbanspoon is always right.
...most of the time.
...ok, when it isn't rigged and bombarded with painstakingly obvious self-praising comments like OHMAGAWWDDD best meal everrr, LOVE THIS RESTAURANT FOREVERZZZ XOXO!)

So because of its relatively high rating, here is another dinner featuring Japanese cuisine to add to my seemingly Japanese diet.
I've eaten so much of it.
I just might turn Japanese.

Una Don - $13
I've heard Kabuki's kitchen produces a mean sushi roll, but the idea of having sushi for dinner is far too unsubstantial for my gluttonous mind and stomach.

I've gone with their Una Don, out of my pure everlasting craving for eel. The star of the show sits in the centre, fanned out on top of glorious sauce soaked rice and glistening with teriyaki sauce. Simple garnishes of cucumber, tomato and carrot shreds are a nice touch, but a bit plain.
A dressed salad would work wonders instead.

I have yet to come across a poorly grilled eel in any of my dinners, as it seems that eel is just one of those things that work.

I appreciate a hearty slab of thick juicy eel, complete with delicate layers of skin and flesh having different textures and feels among them. The smooth, soft white flesh is beautifully moist with the fatty element, attached to a grilled chewy skin on the underside.

An absolute delight to eat. Could do with more. A lot more.

Salmon Teriyaki Donburi - $9.50
Looking strikingly similar, the noticeably more dehydrated sibling of the Una Don is this Salmon Teriyaki Donburi. Although presented in the same way, the slices of grilled salmon are disappointingly thin, and tongue-scratchingly dry as a consequence.

Overcooked salmon cannot be saved really, and even copious amounts of teriyaki sauce cannot bring back the moisture, that's now forever gone.

All donburi meals give you the option to add miso soup and salad for an extra $3 as items are not included. Oh you thought! And oh I wished!

Beef Tataki - $7
The starter that came after the main meals arrived - a gorgeous looking dish of neatly arranged beef in a shallow pool of tangy sauce. Apart from its appearance on this long slender plate, the sauce is also present in a separate bowl as dipping sauce.

I'll have my steak done rare thanks :)
It's odd, that I don't have the guts (or I have the guts, but my guts can't stand the sight) of pink steak cooked (well, uncooked) to the state of rare, yet I can stomach as much beef tataki you feed me. Pretty much the same thing, but just oh so different!

Described as "slightly cooked" on the menu, the slices of beef are lightly seared on the outer edges, leaving the centre raw and untouched in its deep pink, chewy form. Multiple tender beef strips are laid across a bed of shredded lettuce that have soaked up the vinegary sauce, perfectly marinating the beef fillets.

Vinegar dipping sauce
Big but thinly chopped garlic pieces and spring onion rings adorn the beef tataki and float amongst the tangy vinegar dressing to pack more flavour into the mouthful.

Having bathed in this sour liquid, the garlic pieces have soaked up the sourness into themselves, and resemble pickled garlic. They've lost a lot of their pungent odour and sharp garlicky flavour, and are much more milder in taste (should you decide to have a go at eating it!)

Green Tea
Tea is not free here, however at $1 or $2 per person, can get you a cute teapot of Japanese green tea. Upon taking off the lid to peek at what's happening inside (just like any kid would do), I was greeted with an abundance of roasted brown rice floating on the surface.

This gave the green tea a really nice, distinct nutty aroma that was really pleasant to drink. The pouring of tea process itself scared me a little, because the ability for a cup to suddenly break off from the handle is not unusual for me. True story. I bawled my eyes out. I was 5.

So, while the teapot appears so robust, it also seems delicately fragile. Just like myself.


After the plates, bowls and boxes were cleaned (via eating every last speck of food), admittedly it was not a truly satisfying meal. It wasn't bad, though it wasn't great either, and it certainly didn't live up to all the expectations I created out of the hype on Urbanspoon for it. Perhaps the comments are a little outdated, I'm a little skeptical and just a little late (as always).

The better side to Kabuki is its cheap and cheerful style, offering affordable meals at acceptable portions. The menu is not extensive but is well rounded with the usual Japanese cuisine items. Service is quite efficient however, you can't really judge that efficiency in a restaurant with only 2 occupied tables during dinner. Meaning, the 2 of us made up half their dinner crowd that night!

The shop exterior isn't anything to jump about, and the limited seating inside makes it popular for takeaway instead of dine in. The restaurant's design is simple and casual, with wooden flooring and plain, practical furniture and very warm yellow orange lighting. I can see why takeaway is more exciting.

More suited to its "little local takeaway eatery" status,  I'm guessing Kabuki is more popular with the "30 seconds around the corner" crowd, and not the "30 minutes from the other side of the river" type.
Gee, the lengths I would go to get good (and mediocre) food!

(08) 9362 3550

Mon - Sat: 11am to 9pm
Sunday & Public Holidays: 5pm to 9pm



So what did you eat today?

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