Thursday, September 17, 2009

Kobe Jones $25 All You Can Eat Sushi Lunch, Darling Harbour, Sydney

All you can eat? ALL you can eat?? ALL you can EAT?!?! Sushi? $25??! You couldn't drag me away with wild horses!

Again, another opportunistic read over at NotQuiteNigella informed me of the existence of this super special uber limited time only umami fest at Kobe Jones, Darling Harbour. I'd often stumbled past this harbourside icon when browsing the eateries along King Street Wharf and wanted to give it a try - only the prices put me off. Well-heeled it-girls and business lunchers make up the majority of the clientele on a bustling Monday lunchtime - there's hardly a seat left in the place. Not being one to miss out, I made reservations, especially as the lunch dining session is only 12 - 2:30.

Sushi Platter.
Clockwise from top - Kingfish Nigiri, Salmon Nigiri, Tuna Nigiri, Prawn Tempura Roll, Salmon and Cucumber Roll, Crab and Eel Roll, Spider Roll, Volcano Roll (centre).

On that note, I'll have to first apologise for the lack of photos. We were seated at 1:30, as it was the only time B could get away from the office, so I was too busy stuffing my face to pose the food. The sushi is served platter style, with the day's variety in quantities according to how many diners there are. The selection varies from day to day, though there is always fresh Nigiri and Kobe Jones' famous Volcano Roll.

The Nigiri was merely passable, all of the fish slightly too dry and slightly too warm for my taste. It definitely could have been fresher and the rice ratio for each portion was a little too much.

Recommendation goes to the Tempura Prawn, which was crispy, warm and very fresh. The roll was fleshed out with a little crab salad as well, which created a nice creamy dressing for the prawn. However, the tempura crumbs sprinkled on top were a little stale.

Salmon in the Roll was a lot fresher than its Nigiri counterpart and married well with the crunchy cucumber sticks.

The Crab and Eel Roll contained crab salad and teriyaki eel pieces. The eel was warm and melt-in-the-mouth tender, with the sweet teriyaki sauce offset well by the salad dressing again.

Soft-Shell Crab in the Spider Roll was average, neither good nor bad. It was warm, but not particularly crunchy, and it lacked in the flavour department. Spices in the batter would have gone a long way here.

Volcano Roll.

The Volcano Roll consists of three pieces of crab-salad (are we beginning to see a trend here?) and avocado roll with baked scallops in cream sauce on top. The sauce is very creamy, thick and a little sour, almost like a bearnaise, and is topped off by crunchy spring onion slices. The combined textures of the sushi roll, the sweet, tender scallops, and the thick creamy sauce create a very comforting feeling in the mouth - almost like a homemade mac and cheese. We ended up ordering three more plates of this - aren't we pigs!

All up it was a very satisfying lunch. The Volcano Roll really hit the spot with its comfort-food mix of flavours and textures. I felt like I needed a nap afterwards! I was a little surprised that the sushi wasn't of better quality, especially after hearing how Kobe Jones made its name as a sushi icon when it first burst on to the Sydney eating scene. As one of the chic King Street Wharf bunch, it quickly gained popularity and, judging by the crowd today, that $25 deal still draws them in.

I was disconcerted by the poor service we received on this occasion. It took 20 minutes for a waitress to take our order after we had been seated and a further 20 for our food to be served. I understand that the lunchtime rush had to be catered to, but the restaurant was clearing as we received our first platter and we had to hurry to order after that before the 2.30 last-order call. Still, a restaurant of this standard and experience should be able to cope with a Monday lunch setting with a little more finesse.


Food: 6.5/10
Service: 4/10
Value for Money: 7.5/10
Ambience: 6/10

Kobe Jones
29 Lime Street
King Street Wharf
+61 2 9299 5290 

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