Friday, July 5, 2013

Kobe Jones - New Winter Romance Menu

Mrs Shanks and I were lucky enough to be invited to try out Kobe Jones new Winter Romance menu which was just perfect as we missed out on a date for our wedding anniversary back in April.  It was a much need distraction from the everyday business plus being cooped in the house the past few weekends due to the excess rain we've been having in Sydney.

Kobe Jones is located in the heart of the dining district of King Street Wharf.  A stylish restaurant with modern Japanese influenced decor and I've noticed the glass bi-fold doors that open up the dining area to panoramic waterfront views of Darling Harbour.  Well known for it's Japanese-Californian fusion style of eastern cuisine matched with western sauces and their famous Volcano Roll, Kobe Jones now has a new head chef Hong Sub Lee (Edan) running the show. It's been a while since we've been to KJ so it was great to come back and see what has changed.

Kobe Jones Sunset and LLB
On their website I have noticed that the menu structure has changed focusing on sharing-style banquet meals that range from $55-$180pp.  Their a la carte menu ranges from rolls, sushi & sashimi, tobonayki, hot rocks, and everything in between.  I like the vast variety of the banquet menus so that you're not restricted based on budget or the number of courses.  The variety also showcases the chef's specialties and we got to try dishes that we would not generally consider ordering off the menu.

Number One Special
A great start to the banquet was KJ's Number One Special Roll.  Crab salad with avocado is always a win for me, but when it's wrapped with kingfish and baked in secret sauce makes it all the better.  KJ's secret sauce sweet, sticky, caramelized, hoisin flavoured goodness that balances well with the cream topping.  I'm not a big fan of alfalfa but thought this added some freshness to the dish and an additional dimension to the overall taste.

Tantalising Tasting Plate: Spicy Ebi Nigri, Wagyu Tataki, Salmon&Seafood Poke, Lollipop Sushi, and Spider Roll
The Tasting plate is elegantly plated on a long slate tile (hard to photograph though) highlighting the level of detail into each bite sized morsel.  As sushi and sashimi are chef Edan's first love, this platter truly displays his passion.  Each mouthful had distinct textures and flavors.  My favourite would have to be the Seafood and Salmon Poke, Hawaiian style marinated sashimi cubes served with poke sauce which I think had a dash of sesame oil which just brought the dish together.  This also reminded me of a similar dish we had on our honeymoon, the Fijian Kokoda - which we dubbed "fish in a cup".

Pacific Calamari Fritto

The Calamari Fritto was a highlight.  Crisp light panko crumbs encasing pillow soft calamari drizzled with roast shallot mayonnaise.  Mrs Shanks and I also couldn't get enough of the marinated yellow radish which had a smokey flavour and we both agreed we could have a whole bowl of this stuff with an ice cold beer.

Jalapeno Salmon Tataki
The salmon had a wonderful texture, lightly flamed slithers of salmon with briney pops from the salmon roe and hint of heat from the jalapenos.  The dish was a bit on the oily side to my liking and could have been lifted with some citrus.

Spicy Seafood Tabonyaki
IT'S ALIVE!!  is what Mrs Shanks said upon witnessing the air-dried tuna shavings wriggling on top of this warm hearty dish.  A seafood medally of prawns, scallops, squid and mussels with wild mushrooms tossed in KJ's seaweed butter and baked Tabonyaki style in cream sauce.   This was a welcomed hearty dish but we both feared the carb-overload as we were only halfway through the banquet.

Volcano Roll
KJ's infamous Volcano Roll oven-baked scallops layered with crab and avocado roll covered in a molten cream sauce, roasted sesame seed, smelt roe, and shallots with lashings of bitter sweet soy glaze - enough said.  It's a great dish with a good combination of flavours and textures.  If I were to be really picky I would have to say that having this straight after the seafood tabonyaki was border line cream sauce overload, and it may have been better served before the calamari ... but seriously, who can ever get enough cream sauce!?!

Alaskan Crab - Before and After
The dish I'd been waiting for had come.  The Alaskan crab legs were as long as my arm and surprisingly quite thorny.  KJ's menu describes that the crab leg is grilled robata style to highlight the crabs sweetness and I'd have to highly agree with this cooking method.  Not only was the crab meat succulent and sweet, the grilling also gave smokey tones that enhanced the crab's natural seafood flavor.  The separate soy/lime dressing was not required in my mind as the taste was already complete.

Lobster Hot Rock
Fresh sweet slipper lobster meat served on a hot rock at the table - what's not to love?  The initial searing of the lobster gave an amazing aroma as well as a smokey charred flavor to compliment the lobster's natural sweetness.  The lobster was served with three sauces garlic seaweed butter, ponzu and motoyaki sauce.  Out of the three sauces the garlic seaweed butter was the winner for me.

KJ's  Tiramisu + Flaming Green tea Anko
Not that we weren't spoilt (and full to the brim) enough already with an awesome array of dishes, but then our waiter did not ask us which dessert (a choice of two) we wanted.  Instead he came out with the flaming lot - literally.  The green tea and Anko (red bean paste) brulee arrived alight, infusing the vanilla liqueur to the brittley sugar coated top.  I was surprised to find the brulee still retained a crack-worthy toffee crust.

The tiramisu consisted of a green tea and sake infused sponge served semifreddo topped with chocolate shards and strawberries.  A refreshing dessert with good contrast in flavours. 

One the way out I also noticed that KJ is not only for fine banqueting, but they also do lunch and dinner specials for those wanting a quick meal.  $32 (at time of review) for a mixed plate lunch and they are still doing $29pp all you can eat sushi platters (min 2 persons).  Time to get your Volcano Roll fix!!

Anyway, we enjoyed a fantastic winter-romance date, with the atmosphere, seating arrangements, heaters (which were very welcome on a particularly wet and cold night), great service and the sharing-style menu providing a warm and intimate dining experience, with a hint of luxury thrown in.

Till next time ... we eat.


Yaya's Yum Yums dined as guests of Kobe Jones.

Kobe Jones on Urbanspoon


  1. Your photos had me salivating! All looks very tasty! :D

  2. Ahh, the Kobe Jones special sauce and Alaskan king crab legs, legendary!

  3. We've had mixed experiences at Kobe Jones but it sounds like you had a much better one. The dessert definitely sounds nice and warming!

  4. I does look rather delicious... may have to add it to my Sydney list :)

  5. The lobster hot rock looks so dramatic! Much fun!