Kenny Rens, a new Japanese Robata and Sashimi restaurant has opened in Woollahra. The intimate izakaya combines a takeaway poke bar at the front with a wood-fired Robata grill and restaurant at the back. The venue was inspired by owner Nick Diamond’s extensive travels throughout Japan and has focus on contemporary Japanese dining with bold flavours and elegant presentation.
Kenny Rens Woollahra – Photo Supplied
Kenny Rens is designed by acclaimed interior designer Paul Kelly (Sokyo, Black by Ezard and Salaryman). The intimate 20 seater venue is divided into two areas (Sashimi Bar and Restaurant) with a pink stone sashimi bar in the front room, charred timber detailing, flamed granite bar for the charcoal robata grill and Japanese indigo artworks on the walls. It’s sleek, elegant and inviting.
Robata Grill – Photo Supplied
The food menu features well-loved Japanese flavours given the Kenny Rens touch. The drinks menu impresses with a list of Japanese whiskies from Kakubin to Mars Whisky, Nikka from the Barrel, Hibiki Harmony, Hakushu and Yamazaki 12 yo and 18 yo. You’ll also find a solid wine list by the bottle.
The cocktail list includes 8 strong cocktails with a Japanese influence.
Mugen (or Infinite Dream $20) combines nashi pear with lemon juice, IWAI Tradition whisky in a beautifully balanced aperitif style drink that pairs well with the menu. Fruity notes are balanced with citrus while the whisky lingers gently on the palate.
Akuma (Fire Demon $24) is simply delicious but not for the faint hearted. Suntory Hibiki, blood orange, agave syrup and jalapeno give it a sweet, fruity and spicy note that packs a lot of heat.
Zucchini Flower Tempura
The food menu features Mixed Sashimi with daily chefs special selection. Take your tempura to another level with the Zucchini Flower Tempura ($13) in a light, crispy and well seasoned batter with pickled cabbage.
Balmain Bug Lettuce Cup
The Balmain Bug Lettuce Cup ($22) is difficult to resist when it comes in a crisp lettuce cup with a spicy mayo, tobiko (flying fish roe) and a micro salad. Pick it up and enjoy the flavoursome bug meat in a crisp batter with a touch of spice.
The standout dish is the Salmon Tartar ($17) with cubed salmon pieces, pork crackling and chives served with crisps. The dish is a flavour sensation with the freshness of the salmon, the creaminess of the sauce, and the umami notes that come together in harmony. It’s well worth ordering one just for yourself.
Balmain Bugs from the Robata
Moving on to the menu from the Robata, the Balmain Bugs ($32) are infused with spicy yuzukosho garlic butter. The sweet succulent flesh carries the flavour of the robata smoke.
Wagyu Beef from the Robata
The other standout dish is the Wagyu Beef from the Robata (200g $46 marble score 4/5). Cooked perfectly at medium rare, it’s tender and full on flavour with earthy mushrooms on the side and a sweet sesame sauce for dipping.
Sides include broccolini and Sweet Corn ($9) that’s been grilled and seasoned with salt and pepper.
Yuzu Panna Cotta
For a light dessert option, the Yuzu Panna Cotta ($15) with seasonal fruits and strawberry crumble is both fruity and floral with a silky texture,
while the Creme Brulee ($15) with black sesame and figs dusted with matcha puts a decadent and sweet ending to the dining experience.
There’s so much to like at Kenny Rens. Once you step past the dividing door and you’re greeted by the aromas from the Robata grill, you know you’re in for a good time and a most enjoyable casual dining experience. The space may not be designed for lingering but the food is served fast and the flavours will bring you back. And if you’re after the takeaway option, the sashimi / poke bar is open daily from 11am to 8pm.
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146 Queen Street, Woollahra
Lunch: Thursday – Sunday 11:30am – 3pm
Dinner: Monday thru Saturday 5pm – 10pm
Sunday 5pm – 8pm
Sashimi / poke bar – 11am to 8pm daily.
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