We first visited Kenny Rens in Woollahra in June last year and were taken by surprise at how outstanding the fresh sashimi, poke bowl and Wagyu steak were in such a cosy and unassuming establishment. (Read it here). One year on, we returned to check out the new menu and were delighted that the experience even topped off the first visit. So what makes us such big fans of Kenny Rens? The answer is consistency both across the menu and over time.
Having tried sushi, sashimi and a poke bowl (all highly recommended) on our last visit, we were keen to try some more wintery and hearty dishes on the new menu. The three daily specials sound just like what we needed to warm up on a chilly evening – Pork Belly Kakuni ($38), Braised Beef Short Ribs ($38) and Seafood Hotpot ($42). The ribs are slow cooked for 5-6 hours together with heirloom carrots, onions, chestnuts and apples. The sweetness from the vegetables and fruits are all absorbed into the sauce which is thickened and seasoned with soy sauce and Japanese mirin. The balance between the savoury and sweet flavours are spot on and the meat, needless to say, falls off the bone. This is one dish that will satisfy even the most discerning palate.
The seafood hotpot is warming and satisfying in a different way – the broth’s flavour comes from a variety of seafood, such as blue swimmer crab, mussels, Yamba prawns, calamari, salmon and kingfish, and seasoned by miso paste for that earthy and fermented soy bean taste. It is essentially a Japanese-style Bouillabaisse and we enjoyed the generous amount of seafood.
We tried Miso Cod last time and were intrigued whether Toothfish ($46) would work equally well as a substitute with Saikyo miso. The answer is in the affirmative because toothfish has a very similar flakey and velvety texture to black cod. The miso paste caramelises on the hot grill and forms a mild sweet charred crust on the fish fillet. This is a decent alternative to the world famous Nobu Black Cod Miso.
Every now and then we caught the chargrill aroma from the open plan Robata Bar where several dishes are cooked. If you are not in the mood for cold sashimi or sushi rolls, the tempura is a comforting option to start the meal – zucchini flowers, vegetables, prawns and, in our case, Lobster Tail served in lettuce cup with tomato salsa ($26/2 pc). The sweet meat is only revealed after you bite through the light crispy batter, contrasting with the cold salsa. The batter itself is very thin and not oily at all. What a better food and drink pairing than deep fried seafood and ice cold Japanese beer!
Yuzu Creme Brûlée concluded our second trip to Kenny Rens. The mild citrus flavour comes through subtly and the custard is creamy and rich. A Japanese interpretation of the classic French dessert indeed.
We thought our first trip to Kenny Rens was a triumph that would be hard to top off but our second trip was just as memorable and satisfying. It doesn’t look much from outside, but once you step into Kenny Rens on Queen Street Woollahra, you are in for an amazing culinary treat that is consistently on point.
146 Queen St, Woollahra NSW
Phone: (02) 9363 0219