Sunday, January 07, 2007

Kazu Sumi-Yaki Restaurant, Cuppage Plaza

The menu options for this place was astoundingly large for variety. I think I've probably had about a third of it registered in my head while running through the list of items that was available for order and this place really made one spoilt for choice. That meant that there was still a whole bunch of stuff which I've may have just given cursory glances and did not remember seeing. And that boded well, especially when we liked the food they serve.

Kazu is located at the fourth story of Cuppage Plaza which is right behind Orchard Point or just across the Starhub building near Centrepoint. It is actually one of numerous Japanese restaurants and looks to be one that actually got really crowded during dinner. The atmosphere of this fairly small joint does get a little noisy from the din of the crown and wait staff along with the constant background sizzle of the grills in the kitchen which seems to be continuously ongoing without end from the time we stepped into the restaurant. Tables were packed quite closely from one another, so seating arrangements per individual included space that was just slightly bigger than elbow room at the tables. If you're looking for peace and quiet at dinner, this place is not it. Otherwise, you've landed yourself in what I feel to be a good Japanese eating joint. Note that this vibrant hustle comes from a weekend crowd, so I've no idea if this place is equally crowded during weekdays.

I'm quite sure this place does serve the regular Japanese food, but we were here today for the grills on sticks (most of which are simply dressed in just some salted seasoning and pepper) which I have been curious about after reading it from D's entry.

Herring roe

This came in five pieces of cut up roe which have texture akin to dry fish maw. The roe was buoyantly firm and crumbled as you sunk your teeth into them. Each crumbled piece was still firm. I could feel the eggs burst like hundreds of tiny water balloons in between my teeth as I chewed them, releasing their fragrant soy based saltiness. On the top are bonito.

Angler fish liver

The smooth creamy angler fish liver was like a chilled foie gras, albeit with a stronger liver taste. I really liked this stuff. The orange grated topping was textured like grated sweet potato, but I wasn't not sure what it was because it was spicy. The chilled ponzu sauce at the bore an invigorating citrus flavour that paired well with the spiciness and the spring onions on top. According to the waitress, this liver is seasonal and is only available during the Japanese winter. Another item which was mentioned to be seasonal for winter in the menu was cod sperm.

Horse sashimi

Now that I've tried horse sashimi, I had to admit that it was nothing very much out of the ordinary. The meat was still slightly frozen and didn't have much of a taste. I was not sure what to expect of horse meat since it was the first time I'm having them. The meat felt like cold and unsalted salami which I thought was rather boring. There was an oil dip on the side which helped with addition flavour but otherwise, this was not something I thought was outstanding.

Oyster in pork belly wrap

There wasn't much I needed to say about these. Oysters blanketed in pork belly which was really akin to having them wrapped in bacon. These skewers were served hot and one should not be too enthusiastic in popping the whole rolls into the mouth lest the hot juices from the oyster scald bursts out.

Golden mushroom(top 2) and asparagus(bottom 2) pork belly wraps

The pork belly wraps for the mushroom and asparagus were sliced very thinly that one can almost not taste them. However I really dug the golden mushrooms and asparagus so this was a must try for us since it was our first time here. Honestly, they were not bad at all.

Foie gras

Foie gras was another no brainer. At $5.50 a stick, it was really affordable though it wasn't specified if they were from ducks or geese. It was not as good as the pan fried ones but it came quite close. A slightly crispy grilled surface that enveloped a soft creamy inside which disintegrated as you wedge it between your tongue and the roof of your mouth.

Grilled squid in sweet sauce

I mentioned liking squid before so it's something that I generally will do once at least at a place that does them. Kazu's grilled squids were pretty good. The flesh was firm and with enough chew, yet not rubbery. I did think it would have done better if it were to be a bit more charred. The legs were actually removed and skewered in the grill as compared to other places that serves them along with the rest of the body in large and not so manageable chunks.

Grilled pork with apple

I was instantly curious about these after reading about them on D's blog. Not surprisingly so, these were also pretty damn good and was claimed to be something of a specialty by the server. Apart from the pork belly wraps, this was the only other pork item that was ordered tonight and it was definitely good to savor chunky pieces of tender meats infused with the flavor of the grilled apples wedged between them.

Minced chicken with cheese in zucchini(left 2), grilled cod belly(second from right) and grilled chicken hearts(right)

The minced chicken and cheese in the zucchini wasn't really special. I could hardly taste any cheese. I'll not order this again the next time. The cod belly was decent but I prefer my cod to be in larger pieces. Grilled chicken hearts were chewy. I'm not sure if I've ever had chicken hearts before today, but primeval urge in me found them delicious. The heart is the strongest muscle in your body and I would presume it to be so for chickens too. So the texture of the hearts are more meaty, yet not tough. 

grilled tuna

Though I don't dislike cooked tuna, I'm not exactly big on them. These were quite good. The insides of the meat were medium well done instead of being fully cooked which worked quite nicely for me. Didn't touch the leeks though.

ox tongue(left) & Japanese wagyu beef(right 2)

Ox tongue tastes like a chewier beef. The word to describe the meat texture and flavor was probably just hearty. This was also tasty stuff if you would believe me. It doesn't really taste like tongue. The wagyu here was quite well cooked. Despite that, it wasn't tough and the buttery flavor still retained, courtesy from the heart clogging amount of fats marbled into the meat. I've no complains here, but I think I would prefer the juicier incarnation of it from steak. We were not sure of what's the difference between the Japanese, Australian or the US version, so the choice of having Japanese was a random pick. If I remember correctly, it was $10 a stick.


And that's a dessert call Snowdrop. The lump in the centre was ice cream (which you can choose between green tea or black sesame) that is wrapped in mochi skin. In the ice cream were some almond pastry and a chunk of milk chocolate right in the centre. The golden weave (or hair) on the top is made of sugar. It's not a bad dessert, I just didn't think too much of this.

I would definitely like to return again someday since I never got to try the crab and pumpkin croquette and pumpkin ice cream as they ran out of pumpkin. I would also think that there are more other items from their large menu that would appeal to me. What we've had so far left a pretty good impression of the food. This would be another place which I would recommend if you're into Japanese food and more so if you've adventurous taste buds to match will explore beyond just grilled meats on sticks.


D said...

Hey man,

Glad you enjoyed this joint as much as I did. Yeah, actually a few of my mates were telling me not to blog about Kazu since it's getting hard to even get a table on a weekday night, but that defeats the purpose of my blog doesn't it? And a belated happy New Year to you. Keep up the entries aye?


LiquidShaDow said...

Happy belated new year to you too D. I see you're still doing the entries of Vietnam.

I had no idea Kazu is so hot. I'll be back one day. There's just so many things in the menu. :P

LiquidShaDow said...

Thanks for dropping by and the note E-a-l B. Will bear the location in mind the next time I am in the vicinity.

Indigo said...


wonder what's the damage here? Have seen some of the individual pricing but not for the whole meal, correct?Thanks!

LiquidShaDow said...

Hi indigo,
If I do not recall wrongly, the total's about $165 for 3 persons.