Kura at Dixon, Sydney

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.