I’m a huge sushi fan, with all that rice making me bigger, so when trawling K’ Road for reliable yet creative bites Ken Yakitori Bar is always my cosy go-to.
You wouldn’t notice it by day, but when the sun goes down it’s alive with action and familiar faces who also claim it as their favourite.
Recently a couple of friends and I went for our umpteenth time and were seated in the first level dining area – which might feel removed from the salmon-slicing action below, but in fact we never felt alone. The tables appear to be lap height but have foot wells bellow and the courteous staff are up to visit often, keeping tabs by video camera (and each table has a call button when we’re in need).
This room is awesome for parties but as the bathroom for the whole joint is on that floor expect passers-bys. On previous visits the same mates and I have enjoyed the hustle and bustle downstairs with the active sushi bar and engaging crew, although it’s tad more cramped.
You might think Yakitori is Ken’s surname but in fact it’s the name of little skewers with a variety of meats and veg, seasoned and grilled over charcoal. A hot delight in Japan, not many places in town feature these tasty treats so prominently with a range of choices for everyone. Each skewer isn’t huge, bearing just a few tasty bites, but they’re cheap and great for entrées. Alternatively you can make a whole meal of them like Japanese tapas.
We also ordered some traditional sushi to share from the extensive menu and as it’s cold out I got a heaping bowl of Udon noodles crowded with fresh veggies. What else? It’s quick! The atmosphere is fun: it’s really an institution that’s been there for a long time and has remained fantastic.
Although I’m not a sake connoisseur we ordered a large one from their impressive line-up – an ideal shared remedy for the outside temps and a perfect topping for an easy meal, just like every other time.
Article | Henry Michaels. Photo | Evan Donnelly.
Ken Yakitori Bar is at 89 K’ Road in Auckland, open from 6 to 11pm every day. Visit www.kenyakitori.co.nz, call 09 379 6500 or just drop by and eat!