Kagura Surry Hills

Rebecca Varidel
17th May 2015

Do you like fried chicken? Kagura has some of the best chicken karaage in town. It's succulent and juicy and tender inside, the bone still in place for finger munching goodness, a crisp lightly spiced batter protecting the prize. Chef doesn't stop there. You'll find tokoroten sticky jelly noodles pressed to order, fresh or grilled oysters only $3.50 each, cured wagyu with tequila herbs, and baby abalone, amongst the many Kagura menu choices. Latchet is favoured in Japan, but not often seen in Australia, and here at Kagura it is presented in paper thin slices, with the whole head and bones.

While there are some little modern touches, like the use of tequila in the wagyu cure, in the most part, Kagura is a traditional Japanese izakaya.

Kagura was supposed to open as a new small bar with food, but the existing liquor license hasn't been transferred yet so for the moment, it's a Japanese restaurant only, and BYO. Once that gets sorted dive into the Japanese whisky. Flynn McLennan has the best Japanese whisky knowledge in town. That's how we met, when he taught me about Japanese whiskies a few years back at the bar he was working in then. Now, with Chef Yoshi Harada, they've opened there own humble but welcoming Surry Hills joint.

Once they really kick off there'll also be eight Japanese inspired cocktails for the offering, each cocktail representing one of the traditional Japanese regions.

The boys have opened this on a shoe string budget so you'll find a rescued painted door as the bar bench and other innovative repurposing. This, with an eclectic mix of glassware, mismatched light fittings, hand painted mottos, and generous Japanese toiletries in the restrooms, only adds to the small bar atmosphere. Origami birds not only cover the ceiling, but serve a purpose as chopstick holders at the tables.

"When it comes to small and independent, I don't think there is anywhere in Sydney as small or independent as us" McLennan proffered.

Locals from the gym next door quickly found their way here for the terrific food, friendly service, and the authentic atmosphere, so the place already has regular customers. Harada is Japanese; McLennan has a love of that country and has travelled there five times; Kagura is reminiscent of small bars in Japan. So much so, you'll feel like you're travelling without needing your passport.

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84 Foveaux Street
Surry Hills
+61 2 9212 1981

Tue – Sat midday – 3pm; 6pm – 11pm

Sun midday – 6pm