July 14, 2016

Located in Symonds Street on the outskirts of the Auckland Central Business district, Kazuya Restaurant is an establishment offering a fusion of European and Japanese culinary delights.  The restaurant has been in business since 2013 and racked up a steady stream of accolades from Metro and Cuisine magazines, the two most prestigious dining and lifestyle publications in New Zealand. It was founded by Chef Kazuya Yamaguchi who had previously worked in two other award winning restaurants based in Auckland before establishing his own.

Decor wise, the restaurant is understated but tastefully appointed, with leather upholstered seating booths and a capacity for 20 diners. Kazuya offers a lunch and dinner menu. The lunch consists of a set three course meal costing $45 NZ, and you get Italian fondue, pasta, and a choice of either the fish of the day, roasted duck breast or premium Wagyu beef.

Photo Courtesy of Kazuya Restaurant

For the dinner menu, it is divided into three preset options. The chef’s degustation course, a five course option costing $80 NZ and a seven course dinner costing $100 NZ. The seven course meal and the five course option take items from the degustation menu and are determined by the Chef and the current season, making each dinner somewhat unique. During my visit to Kazuya, I decided to try the five course dinner option.

The starter comprised two dishes. First to arrive was the seasonal soup sphere. Consisting of a pair of jelly spheres, filled with a hot, salty soup, the dish was a surprisingly stimulating start to the dinner, and brought to life my taste buds. After that was the Salmon sashimi and crispy tofu. While the tofu was nothing special, the sashimi was on point, with a perfect texture and cool temperature.

Next I proceeded to the main course which like the starter also came in two stages. The first part was the market fish, turnip, bottarga chives and miso soup salad. The impressive variety of premium vegetables worked well with the haraki gulf flounder that had been steamed to perfection. Next came the wakanui beef, Japanese taro, choy sum and black garlic. While the beef and choy sum had been prepared well, I found that the black garlic had been burned somewhat, which spoiled the overall taste.

Photo Courtesy of Kazuya Restaurant

To conclude the dinner, I had the pleasure of savouring one of Kazuya’s three dessert dishes. The one chosen consisted of sorbet, sangria jelly and yoghurt. While the sorbet and yoghurt were delectable, the true surprise of the night was the sangria jelly, an item which would win over the hearts of many sweet tooths out there.

As I was the first customer to arrive at the restaurant, I did not witness any manpower issues that plague other restaurants when there is a surge of customers. I found the serving staff at Kazuya eager to please, yet highly professional and efficient as they went about their duties. With such service, combined with dishes that would not be found anywhere else in Auckland city, I wouldn’t mind returning soon.

193 Symonds St, Auckland 1010, New Zealand