Bexley North locals have known about Ken’s for years. Dinner is almost impossible to get into unless you have a booking at this humble 36-seater. Lunchtimes are just as chaotic. There’s a good reason: they’re sending out quality Japanese at very reasonable prices.
Lunch sets offer the best value. $9.80 scores you a multi-course meal of dumplings, sushi rolls, salad, miso soup and your choice of protein served as teriyaki, crumbed katsu or tempura. Upgrade to sushi for $14.80. An extra buck gets you a can of drink.
Sushi is the biggest drawcard. Ken’s sushi special is the easiest place to start: 16 pieces of assorted sushi that includes seared scallop, wagyu beef tataki and tuna nigiri. Four fat slices of California sushi roll are filled with crab sticks, avocado and cucumber, then covered in slippery cellophane noodles strewn with pops of flying fish roe.
They’ll make up individual pieces of nigiri, starting at $2.20 each. If you’re more about volume over style, the chirashi sushi gets you a hefty bowl of sushi rice draped with salmon, tuna, hamachi, prawn, tamago omelette, seared beef and raw scallops.
If raw seafood doesn’t do it for you, don’t worry, they cook stuff as well. The deep-fried soft shell crab is a monster serve. The unaju freshwater eel is worth a look, the plump and fatty fillets basted with soy, sake and sugar over the grill. And if chicken schnitzel gets you all fired up, wait until you try the chicken katsu with cheese.
The view mightn’t be much – overlooking the traffic lights on Bexley Road – but no one seems to care. There’s a small list of beers and sakes on the menu, or you can bring your own wine.
Ken's: so much fun for so little dosh.