Friday, February 3, 2012

KuraKura Japanese Casual Dining, Chinatown

On one of the busiest street corners in Chinatown you will find a microscopic Japanese eatery. This is Kura, and though only seating about a dozen people at a time, has been a long-time favourite for us hungry uni-students to take a quick food break from procrastinating in the UTS library across the road. Late last year, we noticed something new was happening with the upstairs space and soon after, KuraKura Japanese Casual Dining off-sprang from the original joint in a mitosis-esque manner. The new adjoining diner is freshly done up and much more spacious, featuring the original menu and then some. While the tiny yet busy space downstairs incites a more dine-and-dash atmosphere, the extra room here invites a more leisurely lunch, featuring long windows facing a bustling Chinatown intersection, perfect for people-watching.

Okonomiyaki, KuraKura
Okonomiyaki $6.50

We start with a classic okonomiyaki, a thick Japanese-style savoury pancake swathed in otafuku sauce and liberally drizzled with mayo, topped with spring onion, dancing bonito flakes and a cheerful pile of pickled ginger. It's served in its pan, the fried exterior hot and crisp, the insides soft and filled with shredded cabbage.

Tempura Gyoza, KuraKura
Tempura Gyoza $5

Also recommended here is the tempura gyoza, which trust me when I say if you, like me, don't care about clogging your arteries, it is the most incredible thing.

Hoddaiko Udon, KuraKura
Hokkaido Udon $9.50

A rather unusual dish, the Hokkaido Udon is made with a 'special cream sauce', topped with thin slices of pork sukiyaki, parmesan cheese and an onsen tamago (half-boiled egg). Served on a large wide plate on a bed of baby spinach, it resembled an Italian pasta dish more than any type of Japanese udon I've ever encountered. The perfect googie egg sitting in the middle was pierced, allowing the thick orange yolk to ooze out before being mixed in. The fresh wriggly noodles were toothsome and coated in the creamy, silky sauce with the egg yolk adding another layer of richness. The tender strips of pork lent saltiness, working perfectly with the parmesan and freshly cracked pepper. For lack of better words, I'd say the combination was heavenly. Indeed the dish was similar to carbonara, but the udon was texturally different to pasta in a way which I actually found preferable; while the pork sukiyaki definitely gives any bacon a run for its money. Divine, really.

Gyoza Udon, KuraKura
Gyoza Udon $9.90

My dining campion Tim went for the gyoza udon, a big bowl of steaming udon topped with goyza, bean sprouts, seaweed, spring onions and there's a fried egg hiding in there too. I had a taste of the broth and it was strong and flavoursome, and although he had gone for the spicy version (I can't hold my chilli), I found it incredibly addictive despite the (probably mild) burn. The gyozas were fat and plentiful, I also stole one and it was one of the best ones I've had (listen to me wax lyrical, seriously), the pork and cabbage filling was so soft and tender and delicious everywhere everything gosh darnit

Umeshu Jelly, KuraKura
Umeshu Jelly $4.50

Leisurely lunch indeed it was and we punched on for dessert, I went for the umeshu jelly which was crushed up and served with a pickled ume (I assume) and a sprig of mint. Umeshu is a Japanese liquer made with the ume fruit, commonly known as Japanese apricot or Chinese plum (thanks, Wikipedia!). The jelly was light and refreshing, slightly sweet with a mild alcoholic taste and sour where it was stained by the pickled fruit.

Green Tea Iced Latte, KuraKura Green Tea Ice-cream, KuraKura
Green Tea Iced Latte and Green Tea Ice-cream 

I wanted Tim to get the green tea ice-cream with red bean spring rolls, but he said he was trying "watch his weight" so he passed on the spring rolls (pffft). Regardless, you can't go wrong with plain and simple green tea dairy and I am completely obsessed with that stuff so all's well ends well.

KuraKura Japanese Casual Dining
Shop 2, 76 Ultimo Rd, Haymarket 2000
Telephone: (02) 9212 5661

Kura 1 on Urbanspoon


  1. Whoah all that food looks so good for 'casual' dining food. Great photos and I love the colours!

  2. Once again beautiful photography! I'v just eaten but looking at all these foods just makes me want to eat again now.

  3. Okonomiyaki!Looks a good one too :) Tempura gyoza sound interesting.

  4. It's been a while since I've stopped by Kura; seems to be new things on the menu, must go back to try!

  5. I looooove Kura and stoked they have opened Kura Kura upstairs! It is sooo good. Great service, great food and awesome prices! IT IS LOVE!