The most recent, of all those new restaurants on that street in Korobokan, Jln. Laksmana, is also just about the most unusual! Kuni?s is a classic Japanese restaurant, serving all of those dishes that you expect to find, plus a few that surprise.
You enter through a stylish lounge reception area and immediately face an oblong room of well-spaced tables. It is almost as if the rear wall of that room has been removed and replaced with a live mural??rice paddies. Enjoy the relaxing scene before someone builds a small village there!
The usual variety of Sushi and Sashimi plates are on offer, or Californian Roll [maki sushi with prawns, tobiko fish roe, avocado and vegetable strips] if you prefer. However, in this section of the menu it is the quite unique Spicy Tuna Roll that I like best. Sushi rice has been rolled in Tobika fish roe, which results in a slightly crunchy crust. The insides have been stuffed with shreds of spicy tuna. Tuna with a tang!
Funny how often you revert to simple favourites when visiting many cuisines. For me, it has always been very difficult to refrain from ordering Gyoza, when available, in Japanese restaurants. Half moon sticky pastries stuffed with minced meat, always partaking of the soy-based dip on the side of course. At Kuni?s they are great! A fine mixture of minced pork, onion and Chinese cabbage with spices, the dumplings are then pan-fried, on both sides, almost to a level of crunchiness?.simple, but perfect!
There is much finger food to choose from here. Ideal for a long slow dinner: comprising drinks and many snacks. Sakana Karaage Nanban Su is deep-fried pieces of fish fillet, with a spicy dipping sauce. Most tempura dishes qualify on this account. The normal one consists of prawns, fish and vegetables. Or an Iwashi Tempura, sardine fillets, whilst Ebi Tempura, is just prawns. Iwashi Shioyaki are sardines that have been grilled. Nasu Hasami Age, deep-fried eggplant stuffed with minced chicken and onion. Unusual and very good! Hijiki Ni is hijiki seaweed with fried bean curd cooked in mirin and soy.
For a bit of fusion food, how about Ebi Harumaki, prawn spring rolls no less! Or Tori Karaage, deep-fried chicken wings with ginger and garlic. The Usuzukuri Salad combines thin slices of raw snapper with the spices of Thailand. A touch of Bali, Tuna Steak in a Balinese sauce. Maguro Carpaccio is thinly sliced raw tuna, with a sesame seed flavoured sauce. Beef Shabu Salad is thinly sliced beef with sesame seeds, and a peanut sauce.
Japanese eating is suited to either the sharing of dishes, or eating solo. For the latter category Kuni?s offer a choice of Noodle and Rice dishes. Kamo Nan Soba is a sliced duck broth with buckwheat noodles, served either hot or cold. Yaki Soba is pan-fried egg noodles with chicken and vegetables.
Donburi is a bowl of rice with various toppings. Unadon is simply grilled eel on rice. From such a revolting looking fish [is it a fish?] is produced such wonderful meat! Shake Don is salmon cooked with teriyaki sauce, whilst Oyako Don is pieces of chicken and onion that have been cooked in egg.
Kushiyaki is a variety of meats grilled on skewers. Looks like Robatiyaki to me, but without the showbiz bit of serving via giant paddles over the heads of the other diners. Either way, I love them and can go on snacking on such items forever! Negima is just chicken and onion pieces. Tsukune is balls of minced chicken, also with onion. Gyu-Negi Maki is thin slices of beef wrapped around a spring onion. Tori Liver is skewered chicken livers and Gyu-Tan, thinly sliced ox tongue. Very different is Bacon Maki, beans wrapped in bacon.
There are a number of small seafood dishes. Ika Shoha Ae is squid that has been cooked with spring onions, ginger and soy. Sakana Misozuke Yaki, grilled fish that has been marinated in sweet miso. Kajiki Maguro Teriyaki is swordfish that has been grilled with teryaki sauce.
For larger mains a Sukiyaki Nabe, many thin slices of Australian beef combined with a variety of vegetables cooked in a hotpot. Usually, Sukiyaki is prepared for you at the table. At Kuni?s it comes direct from the kitchen in a giant iron hotpot. The slabs of beef are slightly thicker than the usual shavings. Normally you are presented with a small serving bowl into which a raw egg has been broken and stirred. You transfer meat and veggies from the hotpot, dipping into the egg mixture to give it the dish its own unique taste. At Kuni?s a half cooked egg sits on top of the Sukiyaki so do not forget to stir it into the mixture before eating!
Tonkatsu are pieces of pork loin coated in crunchy breadcrumbs. A simple treat is Shake Teriyaki, a chunk of Tasmanian Salmon that has been cooked in teryaki sauce.
A small, but sensibly priced wine list consists of Chilean and Australian wines by the bottle, and house wine by the glass. Wine is not commonly available in Japanese restaurants in Bali, normally just Sake. Kuni has Sake as well, of course. I like mine hot!
Kuni?s is an excellent Japanese restaurant. Its food reflects the restaurant styling, clean and simple, but of the highest quality. Friendly and very professional service in a relaxed atmosphere makes Kuni?s a welcome addition to this ever-growing Eat Street in Kerobokan, Jln. Laksmana.