Getting Kinki

Japanese with attitude at Rain Hill

Perhaps it's all the pop culture we've been exposed to, but doesn't a Japanese restaurant named Kinki send a slightly suggestive message? Are we talking slurping green tea from someone's belly button, or eating sushi off a naked body? Sadly, no.

Fortunately for foodies, however, Kinki adds some new fusion flavours into the saturated scene of Japanese restaurants in town. It serves Japanese dishes with unusual twists and almost zero kinks on the plate. The venue is actually the second branch of Kinki, following the original in Singapore.

Once you get out of the elevator at Rain Hill's rooftop level, the first thing you'll notice is the restaurant's mascot - a sumo wrestler with a fish on his head. It is said that Kinki's creator once wanted to become a Japanese wrestler but couldn't due to his small stature (by sumo standards). After realising he couldn't be king of the ring, he decided to become king of the kitchen instead.

Dragon maki

Appearance-wise, Kinki won't be your kind of place if you're after a serene setting to savour sushi to the tune of swimming koi and trickling water from a Japanese bamboo fountain. It evokes the feel of fun, noisy naughtiness, befitting people who want to unwind after a long day of work or during weekends.

This sumo-sized restaurant occupies the entire rooftop floor of Rain Hill. The main dining area is a cross between a warehouse and a greenhouse with floor-to-ceiling windows and a bare concrete floor. Inside are plenty of seats, some ass-kicking graffiti by NEF on one of the walls, and two VIP rooms offering semi-privacy in case you are planning a get-together for your gang. Each can accommodate about 10 people without extra charge. Despite not being that high above the ground, you can actually enjoy the breeze and city views at sunset in the outdoor section of Kinki.

I'm a little lost with Momotaro tomato (B140; prices subject to tax and service charge) because it isn't peachy. Call me a snob but I find the idea of tomato wedges drizzled with ginger dressing and topped with chopped chives too simple for an appetiser, and not worth it at this price.

The raw snapper in Tai carpaccio (B380) may be feathery thin but it's fat with flavour. Each piece of fish is very fresh, tender and enhanced with truffle dressing.

Foie gras & scallop sushi (B350) is a dish with Godzilla-size taste. Each melt-in-your-mouth piece bursts with a nice oily aftertaste of foie gras that isn't too strong.

Plump and white Hokkaido scallops serve as a pillow on which your tongue can rest for a delicious culinary dream.

Salmon belly aburi

For another MIYM moment, try Salmon belly aburi (B120). Lightly grilled king salmon is juicy and oily, and may later swim into your dreams.

Foie gras unagi maki (B550) features impressive-sounding ingredients but they don't quite come together with the unagi stealing the show by overshadowing the foie gras.

Like a cool creature, Dragon maki (B350) is put together with different components to create an elegant result. Unagi and avocado slither along the rice roll. Prawn tempura gives the dish some fly moments with its crunchiness while snow crab waits in the middle to surprise you with its delicate taste.

Experience a taste tsunami with Snow fish (B350), which is tender but doesn't fall apart at the touch of your chopsticks. In your mouth, it disappears quickly, but leaves a delicious memory. Garlic yaki-meshi (B40) isn't your pedestrian garlic fried rice. It offers aromatic rice with a bonus of tiny bits of carrot and egg for extra flavour and texture.

Instead of coming in the standard circular shape, Kinki style okonomiyaki (B320) is divided into rectangular pieces, each overloaded with Hokkaido scallop, prawn, smoked bacon, sweet onions and mozzarella. If you find the normally gooey texture of okonomiyaki a turn-off, you may consider this interpretation an improvement.

Kinki also serves a sumo-size selection of drinks. There are the usual choices of Japanese drinks including everything from sake, shochu and Japanese whiskey to western spirits, as well as 11 signature cocktails. Spicy hachimitshu (B240) tastes like spicy cold soup with a hint of wasabi and lemon. Margari Thai (B240) has a better balance of spicy and sweet. Mocktail Rappongi (B150) is much appreciated and easier to guzzle down than the former two drinks.

I only found minor kinks during my visit to Kinki with some dishes leaving a big impression on me. With varied prices, you don't need a sumo-sized wallet to frequent the joint. It's definitely worth checking out for fans of Japanese fusion who are also looking for a side of fun with their meal.G

Kinki Restaurant and Bar

Japanese Fusion 6pm-midnight Rooftop, Rain Hill 777 Sukhumvit Soi 47 02-261-7204

About the author

Writer: Pornchai Sereemongkonpol
Position: Guru Reporter