A new menu stokes the flames of Kenny Rens’ robata grill restaurant.
Tucked away on Queen St Woollahra, Kenny Rens has a modest shop front that grabs your attention not by sight but by the wafting smell of meat charring on the robata grill. When entering, you are greeted with a small takeaway counter where you can quickly grab-and-go but behind Shoji doors is where you will find their intimate bar and restaurant. The Izakaya-style dining setting has a long bench for seating that looks over the lucid flames of the robata grill, with simple wooden tables and stools dotted throughout the restaurant. Originally launching in March 2017, Kenny Rens is owned and managed by businessman Nick Diamond, who along with interior designer Paul Kelly, have brought the Queen St space to life.
Kenny Rens’ new menu was introduced in Autumn to provide solace for those struggling with the cold snap that has now hit Sydney. The menu offers hearty comfort food with a focus on bolstering the flames of their robata grill. After soaking in the menu changes, here’s what you can expect.
Kenny Rens’ new cocktail list sings sweetly with a melodic balance of flavours. Do you enjoy the combination of whisky and orange? Then go for the Kyushiki ($22), which is a mix of Suntory Kakubin, bitters, fennel and orange blossom. If whisky isn’t your thing, they now offer a more diverse range of cocktails such as the Melon Mint Daiquiri, Kaffir Lychee Martini or Mango Margarita (all $19). Kenny Rens’ cocktails use subtle notes of Japanese flavours that refresh the palate between courses. On offer is also an extensive range of Suntory whiskeys and sake along with local and imported wines and beers.
As for the food, we started with the classic mixed sashimi, the daily chef’s special now offered in three sizes. The small is $25 for 9 pieces, medium is $32 for 12 pieces and large is $45 for a whopping 18 pieces (for when you’re low in Omega-3). Kenny Rens seafood produce cannot be faulted – a staple feature of any good Japanese restaurant. The small sashimi plate comes with salmon, tuna, kingfish and a generous side of house-made wasabi and pickled ginger.
From the specials board, the house made Gyoza ($18) kicks the trend of traditional Japanese flavours with a black squid ink gyoza wrapper filled with feta and spinach. These oozing parcels are reminiscent of spanakopita from a Greek restaurant and accompanied by a sesame sweet chilli sauce. Lobster Tail Lettuce Cups ($26) are moreish morsels of juicy lobster. The flavours were subtle enough to allow the lobster to shine through.
However, not all menu changes are positive. You can still indulge in Jack Creek Wagyu beef but it’s marble score has dropped from 7 to 5. While this doesn’t seem like a significant difference, the amount of marbling notably effects the eating quality of beef in terms of tenderness, juiciness and flavour. At $34 for 100g or $49 for 200g, the stand out of this dish was surprisingly the sweet and smoky four valery Japanese mushrooms that accompanied the main dish.
The stand out on their new menu however is the Pork Belly Kakuni ($38), which is slow cooked with a rich reduction sauce and topped with crunchy ginger tempura chips. On arrival, the pork belly looked gelatinous and chewy as if the fat had not rendered down. However, this assumption was wrong as the pork belly had been braised to perfection. The meat was juicy, tender and dripping in a rich umami flavoured sauce. Our only regret was not asking for spoons so that we could have greedily slurped more of that porky broth.
If you are looking for an intimate spot to impress a date then snuggle up together by the flames and see what delights Kenny Rens offer.
Check out the full menu here, or head to the website for more information.
146 Queen Street, Woollahra NSW 2025
(02) 9363 0219
Sunday – Saturday: 10:30am – 10:00pm