One of the many restaurants lining the classy King Street Wharf is Kobe Jones, an upmarket Japanese fusion restaurant with a black, red and gold themed decor facing Darling Harbour. We had visited Kobe Jones earlier on in the year after purchasing one of their vouchers and tonight we returned for a similar deal, lured by the promise of more mouthwateringly tasty volcano rolls and other fusion delicacies.
We are seated at a table next to their showy teppanyaki bar, facing a window which gives us a nice view of the wharf and the service is quite prompt as they take our drink orders. We are dining in a group of 6 tonight and we order a mix of hot green tea, a cocktail, beer and a lemon lime and bitters – it is only when we receive our bill at the end that we realise how overinflated the prices of their drinks are ($6 for a LL+B? Really?!).
While we wait for our first dish, we are pleasantly surprised to hear that the background music is old school RnB music from the early 2000s by artists such as Nelly and Eve, which DK enjoys bopping along to as he reminisces about his primary school days. Soon enough our food arrives and we start off with a seaweed roll with crab stick, cheese, avocado and smothered in sweet soy sauce, mayo and fish roe. It reminds me of their signature volcano roll but that comes later on in the meal and this just serves as a reminder of what is to come.
NUMBER ONE SPECIAL – Crab salad with avocado wrapped in Hiramasa kingfish and baked with Kobe Jones’s secret sauce $21
The next dish follows quickly and it is beef tataki garnished with onions and shallots. I am not a big fan of beef tataki because I don’t really like my meats raw (paranoid about food poisoning), but the tataki this time is quite soft and tender and the onions deliver a nice punch of flavour to complement it.
WAGYU TENDERLOIN TATAKI – Seared and chilled, served rare with garlic, ginger and ponzu sauce $42
Kobe Jones does a nice twist on the usual California roll with their Hawaiian roll using raw tuna and avocado, accompanied by a hint of spiciness and more sweet soy sauce. At the same time the tempura scallops come out and the tempura batter is fluffy with succulent scallops and asparagus in the centre, a great balance of crunchiness and juicy seafood. This all-seafood course is rounded out with fresh diced salmon and kingfish sashimi in a cocktail glass mixed with seaweed and alfalfa sprouts and flakes of chilli, which is very moreish and we gobble it all up.
HAWAIIAN ROLL – Prawn, cucumber, burdock root and pineapple chilli jam, topped with tuna and avocado and drizzled with poke sauce and a bittersweet soy glaze $28
ANAGO SCALLOPS – Tempura Hokkaido scallops stuffed with crab salad and asparagus, drizzled with a bittersweet soy sauce glaze $24
SEAFOOD POKE – Hawaiian style sashimi cubes marinated in poke sauce $33
Our tastebuds are given a bit of a rest with the next dish of steamed Alaskan crab legs. Covered in spiky goodness, it gets a bit messy picking out all the juicy flesh but it’s well worth the effort as some parts retain their fresh flavour better than others (I unfortunately got a leg that had more dried out meat than juicy bits). However, the meat seemed to lack seasoning and could have done with some different types of dipping sauce to enhance the taste of the crabmeat.
ALASKAN CRAB – Grilled to highlight the sweetness and served in the shell with fresh lime $92 (for 300g of meat)
Finally the real volcano roll came out and it was just as delicious as I remember – it is smothered in mayo and roe just like the first dish of the night and I am not quite sure what else is in the roll (scallops? crabstick again?) but the explosion of savoury flavours makes it a winner in my books. This is followed by crispy chicken karaage with lashings of chilli mayo on top and I find it conventionally tasty as per usual for fried chicken but my dining buddies preferred the Chicken Karaage we had earlier in the week at Love Grub.
VOLCANO ROLL – Oven baked scallops layered on a crab salad and avocado roll with aspecial cream sauce and a sesame seed and shallot sprinkle $39
CHICKEN KARA AGE – Marinated chicken coated in seasoned potato flour shallow fried, served with teriyaki sauce and chilli mayonnaise $36
A selection of vegetable tempura comes up next and the flavours are traditional, with a nice typical soy dipping sauce and the tempura batter itself is suitably light but nothing remarkable.
VEGETABLE TEMPURA – Seasonal vegetables served with dipping sauce $18
Our last savoury course is the diced wagyu on a hot marble tile and we watch the waiter smear the tile with a cube of oily fat before he puts a few cubes of wagyu beef on and it starts sizzling. I start turning over the cubes quickly and tossing them into everyones plates to eat while still hot and they are yummy morsels of soft, tender beef as living up to their wagyu label. It is only when we are halfway through the meat that we realise that the dipping sauces are underneath the plate of raw meat and the selection of soy with radish? shavings or plain soy and salt flakes partner nicely with the flavour of the meat.
WAGYU HOT ROCK – Self-cook your wagyu beef just the way you like it, served with seasoning and two dipping sauces $38 for 50g of meat
There is quite a long wait between this last dish and our dessert but it is well worth the wait. We are presented with a log of green tea cold cake cake which consists of a layer of green tea powder on top with white chocolate ice cream, a layer of cream sponge in the middle between two blocks of ice cream. It is extremely scrumptious and if it existed, would be the high class version of all those Maccas birthday party ice cream cakes that we loved as children. But that wasn’t all for dessert! There are also 3 bowls of green tea creme brulee for the 6 of us to share and the torched sugar top is not that hard but still reasonably crunchy and fantastically caramelised, while the green tea flavours come out nicely in the custardy texture of the brulee itself.
CHEF’S SPECIAL DESSERT
All in all, a great value meal with a variety of memorable flavours (especially that to-die-for volcano roll) leaving us all hugely satisfied and stuffed full of seafood and wagyu. I’m not sure we would return without a voucher though, the prices that they do charge usually are a bit exorbitant for the quality of the food (and drinks!) that they provide but I suppose we pay a premium for the gorgeous waterfront location and fancy modern decor.
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Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9299 5290