When we of TVC arrived at an almost full Kenji at 8 pm on a Saturday night without a reservation, we were found a table with smiles and alacrity. The space is a rather uninspiring box on Hutt Street but the décor (modern, clean lines, olive green and black, traditional Japanese ornaments) is pleasing, although L did have a view of the toilet door. L’s entrée size sashimi of 10 pieces was generous and succulent. P’s lamb chops were a surprising inclusion on a Japanese menu but then, the menu at Kenji is surprising and innovative. P’s chops were also succulent (although overcooked for medium rare).
The service was warm, if a little confused – there seemed to be too many servers for our table. The wine list is good, although the brut de brut could have been more chilled. Unfortunately, despite its sophisticated and inviting western/eastern mix, Kenji, like most Asian-inspired restaurants, suffers (occasionally) from a lack of understanding of wine. The desserts looked wonderful – a first for an Asian restaurant, but we were too full. We decided to go to Kenji again when we had more tummy-room and this time we will book a table at the front.
When TVC arrived at an almost full Kenji at 8pm on a Wednesday night without a reservation we were found a table with smiles and alacrity. This time we were at the front, at the window. There was no confusion about wine or anything else. With the exception of a lump of unpleasant meat of some description, L’s bento box was fresh and luscious – tender sashimi, crunchy prawn sushi, fried chicken and miso. Again P’s choice was surprising – a lush concoction of fried haloumi, green cherry tomatoes, marinated nashi pear, green beans, sublime zucchini flowers and other interesting stuff. Same story with the menu – maybe next time! But Kenji is getting better and better and we mean to return, and soon. Domo arigato!