At the start of the year, we visited Kid Kyoto when it was led from the kitchen by Seb Gee with a menu that was fun and full of flavour. As the industry goes — chefs move onto new ventures, which makes room for other chefs to jump in and add their own spin on the menus. Justin Lee now runs the show and his subtle yet noticeable updates to the menu show great focus and refinement.
Served in a plume of smoke and seared to perfection, the smoking salmon comes with umeshu jelly, whipped avocado and grapefruit so you can play with the flavours yourself and create your perfect bite. If you like it bright and citrusy – get that grapefruit on there. If you prefer it rich and creamy – slather on the whipped avocado. Straight up sashimi is a wonderful thing – but there is an argument to be made that this is much more fun.
Last time round the beef tartar was one of my favourites and on return it is still one of my favourite beef tartars in Sydney. They’ve stepped the beef up to Wagyu grade for extra tenderness and the sweet hits of the nashi pear round out the richness of the beef. The puffed rice cracker that accompanies is the perfect bed for the beef and is a welcome change.
Okonomiyaki is a savoury Japanese pancake generally made up of a batter with shredded cabbage and whatever you feel like putting into it – typically it will be thin slices of pork belly or seafood. Traditionally it’s made as thick as a deep dish pizza but we all know Kid Kyoto doesn’t stick to tradition. Their take on an okonomiyaki is along the lines of a Vietnamese crepe aka “Bánh xèo” with a thin pancake folded over bean sprouts, cabbage and that lovely charred octopus. Topped with cured egg yolk and bulldog sauce you get all the flavours of a classic Japanese dish in a funky form.
Chef Justin Lee also rejuvenated Kid Kyoto’s signature braised pork dish by going from pork belly to pork hock… and I love it! Pork hock has less fat but just as much flavour as the belly cut and is underutilised in my opinion. Here it is braised in a dashi, soy and sake stock before being fried and tossed in a sweet salty nori jam and topped with a crisp bright salad. Having had both versions I prefer this updated one as it brings an added depth – a must order.
Not being sure what to order for dessert I threw it to our waitress and asked her what her favourite was – she came back a firm yet enthusiastic suggestion of the Yuzu pudding and let me tell you now it was fantastic. With a fluffy cake-like texture, you get that yuzu citrus scent throughout as you spoon on the velvety mascarpone for added richness.
Having had the pleasure to dine at Kid Kyoto again, great flavours and further refinement of the concept are seen with Justin Lee as head chef. The sound track here is still rocking as is the service – if you haven’t been here yet then you definitely should!
17-19 Bridge Street, CBD, Sydney, NSW
Phone: (02) 8317 2878
I Ate My Way Through dined as guests of Kid Kyoto