Happy 34th Birthday to my big sister! It’s hard to believe she’s a full eleven years older than me sometimes… She decided to take the day off work today, and shout mum and I for lunch, to a Japanese restaurant that her and her boyfriend have been to before in Neutral Bay, called Kai.
Kai is slightly out of the way of the main strip, inside a little arcade and up a set of escalators. The inside is modern, the staff courteous and friendly. Outdoor seating on the balcony is available, but it was a tad windy today so we decided to sit indoors beside the big glass windows. The menu was fairly expansive, with sashimi, udon, various rolls, but their special seemed to be ‘sets’ and bento boxes. Upon my sister’s recommendation, we ordered a Salmon Carpaccio ($15), a Teriyaki Salmon Set ($14.50) for myself, a Pork Cutlet Set ($14.50) for my sister, and a Tempura Set ($14.50) for our mum. The sets were all part of their lunch special menu.
The carpaccio arrived out in record time:
I’m known to not like sashimi, as the texture reminds me of extremely fatty pork belly and the non-taste element of it doesn’t inspire me in the slightest. However upon my sister’s urgings, I picked up a slice of salmon (a bit thicker than I was expecting, for carpaccio), and it was delicious! A light dressing of soy, vinegarette, ginger and garlic had been drizzled over it, accompanied with a few fried pieces of fragrant garlic, as well as the light salad.
My Teriyaki Salmon arrived, and while it was nice and the salmon pieces not overcooked, it was nothing that I wasn’t expecting. Each of our sets came with rice, miso soup, a small dish of pickled vegetables (Burdock), and a small cup of steamed egg mousse.
I was delighted with my steamed egg, silky smooth like a savory creme brulee, and it had a piece of crab meat and moist chicken thigh at the very bottom of the cup. It was only after when I looked at the specials board that I realised that if you were to order the steamed egg off the a la carte menu, it was $7.50 for the same size. A much better deal getting it as part of a set!
I also tried a few pieces of my sister’s pork katsu:
The cutlet was nicely crumbed, although I usually prefer chicken katsu over pork. I also had a prawn from mum’s tempura mix:
The prawn was nice, although I was disappointed to find out that they hadn’t de-veined the prawn. My sister had the other prawn and declared it to be de-veined, so I assumed it was a mistake, rather than something they tend not to bother with.
My mum’s tempura mix also came with a small bowl of mixed sashimi, which was so pretty!
Even though I don’t like sashimi, I couldn’t help but admire the bowl with all the succulent pieces of fish in it. My mum and sister declared the sashimi very fresh, even better than the carpaccio we had earlier.
After this very satisfying meal, the three of us girls sat back and thirstily polished off our green tea before settling the bill and making our exit, dropping by our favourite Crows Nest Italian cafe to get a slab of their carrot cake and homemade tiramisu (my absolute favourite) as my sister’s birthday cake. We’ve made a change over the last few years, where instead of buying a whole cake to celebrate a birthday, we buy individual slices of various cakes or small cakes, as with mum not being able to tolerate large amounts of sweets and my sister not having much of a sweet tooth, I end up having to finish everything and having break outs for the month following, not to mention hit the gym intensively. Life is so difficult at times… 😉
Take care, stay warm and have a good week xx
Kai Sydney Japanese Restaurant
13/166-174 Military Road, Neutral Bary NSW 2089
(02) 9908 7045