Around the corner (literally less than 5 m) from the tiny space of Kura is sister store Kura Kura, an upstairs space that’s much more spacious with a lot more seating than Kura.
The menu on the wall outside does not correspond with the items available on their iPad ordering system inside, unfortunately. So putting aside my hops for asari clams in soy butter and takowasa aside …
This is Nasu Dengaku ($7.90) or miso glazed eggplant. The eggplant is piping hot, tender and soft (but still pleasant with a firmness) and slathered in a delicious miso/sake/mirin sauce.
The size of the nasu dengaku depends on the size of the eggplant, so on some occasions we get eggplant that fills the entire plate and much thicker. Yum, I could eat plates of this!
T tries their Takoyaki (6 for $5.50). Unfortunately, they’re warm rather than piping hot which gave them a gluggy mouthfeel.
Onto the mains, after my pleasant experience with the mini chirashi don, N and I try the Special Deluxe Chirashi Sushi ($15.90). Sushi rice is topped with salmon, kingfish, tuna, salmon roe, scallops, jellyfish, squid, grilled eel, prawn and tamagoyaki,
This bowl is beautifully balanced with a generous variety and quantity of fresh seafood on a bed of satisfyingly vinegared sushi rice. With a dash of soy sauce, this was the perfect chirashi don for a very reasonable price. I even enjoyed the side of salad leaves which were pleasantly undressed.
A Mini Chirashi Don ($9.00) comes with tuna, salmon and king fish on a bed of sushi rice. The amount of seafood is generous as usual, but we did get minced rather than cubed tuna on occasion and their rice portions aren’t consistent, so sometimes we ended up with more seafood than rice — a first, and not a complaint!
On another visit, I try the Asari Clam Udon ($12.50), a large version of the half bowl from their downstairs restaurant. There was an impressive number of clams with a delicious fresh flavour, although there was some residual sand in some of them. The udon was cooked perfectly with perfect bite, while the wakame added a spot of green.
T was nursing an URTI so sought comfort in the Karaage & Egg Don ($10.30). He found the egg comforting and the karaage crispy while remaining moist on the inside.
For dessert, we go back to the Taiyaki ($3.90 each).
These have a more smokey flavour than the ones we had at Kura, but with the same pleasant red bean filling and eggy pastry. Unfortunately, they’re still not crispy the way I like them.
It’s winter, so it’s time for the Zenzai ($5.50), a red bean soup with mochi. The soup is piping hot and thickens to a more dessert consistency as it cools. Unfortunately, the dango/mochi lacked the chewiness and elasticity that I was hoping for and tasted more like Chinese tangyuan. The accompanying matcha was a perfect pairing for the sweet dessert, although it was a bit thin and watery for my tastes.
Not a fan of their zenzai, we try their Shiratama Dango ($5.00) are a hit with one stick dusted in kinako powder and sugar while the other is slathered in anko. We enjoy the kinako sugar for its sweet nuttiness, but enjoy the anko version more as the red bean paste adds some moisture to the sweet nuttiness.
Kura Kura serves quality, comforting casual Japanese food with street food items being better left to the street vendors. We’ll be back for more staples.
Kura Kura is located at 3/76 Ultimo Rd, Haymarket NSW 2000.