Chef Casey Burns and partner Sophie Giannaros were travelling through New Zealand when they stumbled upon a tiny yakitori bar. The flavours and the way of cooking found there were an inspiration and they knew then that they wanted to bring this style of dining to Hobart. We were lucky enough to be invited along for a preview of the result.
The space is tiny but utilised well. A narrow room has a bar running along one side while a couple of tables sit along the other. The restaurant only holds twelve diners at a time but there is a couch for those awaiting a table or takeaways. It’s polished wood and painted concrete, inviting and cosy.
Casey first cooked using a hibachi grill while working at Ethos under Ian Todd. The grill was only used sporadically for specials but here it is the centrepiece of the kitchen. The menu is split into two sections, being ‘sticks’ that are cooked on the barbecue and side plates to compliment. The skewers run from different cuts of chicken to octopus to mushrooms to steak. Casey plans to use more native and game animals in future with kangaroo and venison in his sights.
Karaage style chicken drumettes are the the only meal to come out of the deep fryer, which reflects on the healthier style of cooking here. Juicy marinated chicken on the bone is coated in a well seasoned and crispy batter. It’s a classic combination executed so very well.
A side salad tastes akin of the sea. Beautifully fresh and salty urchin tops a bowl of wakame, nori, pickles and leaves. There’s a great complexity of flavours and textures.
The chicken thigh and spring onion skewers really show off the beauty of the grill. The meat is charred, smokey and tender. It needs nothing more than the drizzle of sauce and scattering of condiments provided. This is a casual izakaya kind of place but a lot of thought has been put into each component.
The drinks list is compact but includes some stunning Japanese inspired cocktails, imagine a margarita with yuzu or a matcha sour, as well as a range of sake, wines, and beers. It’s a work in progress with plans to expand this side of things soon.
Kin will trade until late in the evening to cater for a wide range of diners including hospitality workers looking for a place to eat after knock off. And the neighbourhood is perhaps one of Tasmania’s hottest areas in that industry with Franklin, Tom McHugos and Pigeon Whole all being close by.
Kin Japanese BBQ officially opens this Tuesday the 12th of June at 71 Macquarie St, Hobart and trades Tuesday – Sunday from 2pm until late