If you have been a reader of WenY Wonders Why from when it first started, the name Kanta would have been brought up many times over the years of my food blogging hobby. There has always been a strange attraction between this restaurant and I ever since I first came here. The price has always been right at the bottom when compared to other Izakayas in town like Bonsai, Ha-Lu, Satsuki, Shiro and even Izakaya Sakura. Yet the satisfaction has always been top notch. Additionally, the level of showmanship whenever I came here to dine was lovely. The chef used to be a lone ranger running the whole show in front of his diners for which he only does two sittings a night. Even now with an extra hand to do the deep frying and sort, the sitting at this little Izakaya is still extremely limited. Typically, you would get one sitting at 6pm and the other at 7.30pm. A meal at Kanta cost 10 times less than a degustation at the famed Tetsuya’s in Sydney, but in my mouth it provided no less satisfaction.
My choice of food here is very limited as I have grown fond of my past orders and so have always stuck to the same thing with perhaps one or two new orders from time to time. After an amuse bouche of savory pasta, I always call for an Agedashi Bean curd ($8) to start. Its light palatable flavors has always been a key attraction of this dish. Mixing the grated ginger into the soy, I cannot help but devour more of the liquid with the delicious bean curd. Kanta always seems to provide all the condiments and sauce in the right proportions!
Next up was something a little heavier but still extremely delicious. The Ika Shioyaki or grilled squid tentacles ($8.50) served with a dollop of mayonnaise and a wedge of lime. Lovely grilled flavors of the stove that leaves the protein a little crisp at the thinner ends with a yummy smokiness.
One of the newer dishes on the menu that has now become and indulgent staple. The scallop wrap in salmon. For $11 you get two large scallops wrapped by a salmon before being seared at the bottom. To finish, a wasabi – mayonnaise concoction that is blow torched.I normally eat it whole. Chewing this, you get a bit of salmon, a bit of scallop, all those lovely sauces and then repeat. This is in someway a blow torched seafood aka Aburi, so there is the lovely melt in each bite and those slightly charred flavors from a Salmon Aburi which are as always, sensational.
Last of the Izakaya is the salmon sashimi, and chicken roll with some avocado roll to clean the palate. If you have not been to Kanta before and intend to only eat the shared plates, definitely order a chicken roll to share. Every Teriyaki dish in Kanta is a forte and if you had just one bite, you would understand what the hype is all about. And with the perfect seasoning used in the sushi rice, there could be no more perfect setting than this.While the Avocado roll and salmon sashimi looks typical, it definitely was one of the best in town. Rich, and fatty. Smear a little wasabi and soy before finishing with a pickled ginger to cleanse. Dammmmmmmmmmmn that was fine!
While I could do without mains and linger on with more shared plates, there are some mains that just makes this part of dinner too hard to miss. For the veterans, we have the good old Teriyaki. Aforementioned as a forte, some cannot get enough and what better way is there than to enjoy two large crispy tenderloins coated with that sweet and sticky sauce.It used to be $9.50 when served on a rice bowl. Now it is $12.50 for more chicken and served separately. Massive serve that can easily feed two!
For the keen tongues out there, look no further than the Gyu Tongue Steak or simply, the Ox Tongue Steak $13. Cooked to perfection, the outers bits which tend to overcook taste more like steak whilst the middle parts are still pinkish in the middle. It almost melts in your mouth if not for the common trait of the Ox Tongue which was the mildly chewy texture. The sauce is quite similar to the Teriyaki except that it is a little less potent in terms of sweetness and feel more peppery than the usual. Served with rice, this is another staple that I added to my list around the same time like the scallop wrap in salmon.
The final main for tonight was something XL decided to try. It was the pan fried salmon with creamy sauce ($13.50). This was perhaps the underdog and true enough, it felt underwhelming to our senses. As far as I know, this was a new creation slightly more than a year ago. The fish was cooked nicely but it was the sauce that lacked flavor. It was cream on oil if you get me? The salmon itself is a beautiful oily fish which need not be complimented by another creamy sauce. More so when the sauce did not have substantial acidity or sweetness to move away from being bland. Bad luck but this was by all means a mediocre dish. A worthy try that might appeal to some.
The night ended with a serve of Kanta special ice cream for $5.50. With the appetizers and mains we ordered for 4, the bill came up to $132 including 4 pots of green tea. Needless to say, we were filled to the brim and was every bit satisfied despite the lows from the pan fried salmon in creamy sauce. If you ever happen to land a booking which should be done AT LEAST 1 week prior to your preferred date for group of more than 3, definitely do come in and enjoy some truly authentic Japanese food without a wallet busting bill.