There are three Japanese restaurants called Kura in Chinatown and they’re all related ostensibly. We dabbled our toes at the tiny downstairs Kura opposite Haymarket before making our way around the corner to the larger restaurant upstairs, and this time we walk 3 blocks north and visit the one on Dixon Street, Kura at Dixon. All three restaurants have almost identical items on their menu with one or two variations.
The inside of this one makes no association with the Japanese storehouses of its namesake and instead has a wooden aesthetic typical of restaurants in Japan.
N’s skipped breakfast so she goes for the Special Set A ($19.50) with her choice of Mix Chirashi as the donburi, served with agedashi tofu (the alternative is salmon sashimi), udon, takoyaki and salad.
Tofu has a soft spot for N, and she particularly enjoys the agedashi tofu, which had a crisp skin holding together the silky innards. The takoyaki is the same as at the other restaurants even when piping hot with too much batter and not enough octopus. That aside, N enjoyed the variety in the chirashi with well-vinegared sushi rice and the thinly sliced squid avoiding the sliminess of typical squid sashimi. She’d have preferred bigger cubes of tuna and did not appreciate the sliced ginger infusing its flavour into most of the bowl.
And I go for Half Salmon Chirashi and Half Asari Udon ($15.50) with salad. I’m always hopeful that they’ll have the asari clams tossed in soy butter in store, but it seems to be a remnant of their past immortalised by the Internet.
I’d tried the half asari udon at one of their other restaurants and while this one is enjoyable, it falls short. The number clams were generous, but the soup lacked the intense seafood flavour and indeed tasted rather underseasoned with the udon being much too soft (although they retained some chew and was not mushy).
The half salmon chirashi has thin slices sitting atop a bed of sushi rice. The salmon is fresh and the rice well-vinegared. I enjoy cubes of salmon over slices in a rice bowl as its easier to ration the fish with the rice, but personal preference aside, the chirashi is the go-to for a satisfying variety of seafood.
And these are the Shiratama Dango ($6.50) topped with sweet soy sauce, roasted soy bean flour and red bean paste. This is a dessert item that does not appear on the menus of the other Kura restaurants. Our favourite was the red bean, followed by the kinako. The sweet soy sauce was a bit too salty and messy for my tastes.
Overall, prefer to visit the other Kura restaurants on Ultimo Road, but that’s because those two restaurants set the bar very high in terms of affordable and quality casual Japanese food. Kura at Dixon is somewhere we’d be happy to return.
Kura at Dixon is located at 6/12 Dixon St, Sydney NSW 2000.