Kuza Urban Japanese Food @ Victoria Park

It’s been a while since I’ve done a food review and a bad one too. I wouldn’t even have contemplated blogging about Kuza  (because the food is really not worth a mention) but their actions to date have been so despicable that it ignited my passion to warn all other Perth-ians about this place.

This story goes back a weekend when Gill invited us for lunch at the new Taiwanese dessert shop Taro Taro in Victoria Park. We only discovered Kuza Urban because it was located right next to Taro Taro. We were so excited that there was a new Japanese place in our neighbourhood that we immediately decided to go there for dinner that night. That was our first mistake of the night.

Standing outside Kuza, we were a bit hesitant about going in as it looked more like a intimate romantic dining area than a family restaurant. But we thought, why not give ourselves a treat and have some fine Japanese food? Second mistake of the night. The interior of Kuza is interesting, there was a street art mural all across one side of the wall, very Melbourne-ish in style. But everything else in the restaurant screamed fine dining with dark walls, the wineglasses and the waitstaff suited up in black.

We were asked whether we wanted water and we said yes. It dawned on me that it was probably their opening night as the waiter seemed quite unsure of himself.  Perusing the menu, my heart sank a little when I realised they were not just a restaurant on the higher end, they were actually attempting to be a fine dining restaurant on the very top end. Their most expensive item on the menu was Wagyu steak for $50, other dishes ranged from $16 to $50. It should be noted that the $16 dishes were ordinary dishes to be had at any takeaway Japanese outlet e.g. agedashi tofu, chicken karaage. A large sashimi was around $45 . None of these dishes came with any sides such as miso soup, salads or even rice.

Now, never mind the high prices, I’ve eaten at some great fine dining restaurants around town and most of them have always managed to impress me with their cooking techniques and creations. I was expecting something special from Kuza.

chicken karaage

This was my soft shell crab which came with watery unsweet watermelon pieces. It was drizzled with some kind of vinegary dressing that reminded me of the dressing you get with Foshan chicken. Now this didn’t help  the soft shell crab which was already very thickly battered and left a floury aftertaste in my mouth. The sauce and residue of watermelon juices only added to the overall sogginess of the soft shell crab which I expected to be crispy. None of us liked it.

We were surprised to see salmon confit ($26) on the menu, hardly Japanese or ‘urban’ Japanese at that, but being intrigued and salmon lovers, both R and HC ordered it, only to be told by the waitress that it wasn’t offered that night. Well, take it off the menu then.

pork belly

So HC ordered the pork belly with apple puree instead. Poor guy, when this dish came out, we said ‘you better order a side’. The pork belly itself was very ordinary and sadly, lacking a crispy skin. Not sure what the apple puree was about, I guess a spin on the usual combination of pork and apple? The sauce drizzled on top was just balsamic vinegar, really ordinary food.

We also ordered an agedashi tofu (three cubes of tofu) which could have come from any takeaway shop, and I ordered a chicken karaage. The chicken kaarage was freshly fried and came with a ginger juice dressing on the side, Kuza’s way of  justifying the $16 mark for 5 small bits of fried chicken was having little chopped bits of avocado, tomato and cucumber underneath. I could have done the same thing at home.

As the night grew on, we understood that we were not going to get full with these bits and pieces of so called fine dining, so we started ordering sides. We ordered the udon and ramen ($8 each) which came in a full bowl (thankfully, something in a normal portion at last) but was so bland and tasteless that we may as well have gone home and cooked instant noodles. R’s ramen was so underseasoned that he had to pour a huge amount of shoyu into the soup, sadly, the ramen was not ramen at all and tasted like something out of a pack, the bad part was, it wasn’t even cooked properly and he got a huge chunk of noodles that were stuck together.

All the dishes were very disappointing, the ramen and udon were terrible, but what really disgusted me was the steamed rice ($3 a serving). Because it wasn’t even Japanese short grain rice but long grain rice! Over the week I even read a review that said even their sushi was made with long grain rice! You’ve got to be kidding me, how non-Japanese and cost saving can you get?!

The shock didn’t end there. When we left after paying the bill (can’t fault the service, they were fine), R came out to tell us that our bottle of water was $8. Wow. I only wish the waiter had told us earlier in the night that we were actually paying for the water, and $8 a bottle at that. Is your water air flown from the Swiss alps? I knew we were never going to return to Kuza.

This is not just about the price of the food, fine dining is called fine dining for a reason, I have never ceased to be amazed with the food that we’ve had at fine dining restaurants overseas and in Perth and yes, it might have been $120 for a degustation at Jacksons, but it was worth every penny. What disgusts me is the audacity of Kuza to charge fine dining prices, serve such run off the mill (even below average) food and basically try to slug their customers wherever possible. They charged $50 for Wagyu beef but didn’t bother to state the source, what grade, cut, weight the beef was .

In Japan, I was amazed at the passion and dedication that the chefs put in their amazing food, from ramen booths to the great Kani Doraku, everyone cultivates their art and treats their food with respect. But for Kuza to serve long grain rice in sushi and clumpy ramen and call themself a Japanese restaurant, I was just disgusted.


When we got home, I couldn’t put Kuza out of my mind and we all decided that we would write our honest review of the restaurant in Urbanspoon. To my amazement, the next day, there were reviews up glorifying the wonders of Kuza and making statements including that Kuza served ‘the reshest sashimi in Perth’. My disbelief grew as I noticed all these fantastic reviews were by once-off reviewers who had never reviewed elsewhere EVER. And suddenly all 4 pop up just to say how great Kuza is? Yeah. Right.

Now the most freaky part. All the bad reviews of Kuza were deleted overnight. In fact, ALL my reviews of any restaurants (good or bad) in Perth dating back since 2010 were removed. Suddenly Kuza’s approval rating which was bordering the 50% mark became 70%. ALL the once off fantastic reviews remained. Only one bad review remained and this was the one that came with pictures.

Why and how did this happen? I can only assume that Kuza’s owners who have no problem putting up fake positive reviews of their restaurant must have through means and way requested the removal of all bad reviews. So there goes the credibility of Urbanspoon. Apparently owners of restaurants are able to regulate what reviews they want on their Urbanspoon site. I have emailed Urbanspoon to ask for an explanation but I don’t expect to get a satisfactory reply.

As for Kuza, you can run but you can’t hide . You can try to silent me on Urbanspoon but I doubt you can censor me on my blog.  I wouldn’t worry how fast you can delete bad reviews of your restaurant, because word-off-mouth travels fast and I believe your dirty tactics, rip off prices and appalling food will speak for itself.

Unless you finally open yourself to accepting constructive criticism, I look forward to reporting of your closure soon.
Kuza Urban Japanese Food
387-393 Albany Hwy, Victoria Park, WA 6100
Kuza Urban Japanese Food on Urbanspoon

24 Responses to “Kuza Urban Japanese Food @ Victoria Park”

  1. 1 sakuratrees July 4, 2012 at 11:34 am

    Bravo!! Let us see how they are going to take this blog post off your blog!! Haha!!

  2. 2 R July 4, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Screw you, Kuza!!!

  3. 3 sakuratrees July 4, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Haha perfect words R!!

  4. 4 Foodie July 4, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Sweetheart you’re seriously cracking me up.

    It’s one thing to not enjoy a dining experience and want to share your thoughts on it, but it’s something entirely different to make nasty accusations and go on a deliberate crusade to try to ruin some poor sod’s business and livelihood.

    Hasn’t anyone ever told you that no one takes you seriously unless you express your opinions in a fair and balanced manner? Otherwise you run the risk of coming off as an obstinate, petty little miser.

    I suggest you get a life and grow the hell up.

    • 5 daitaoha July 5, 2012 at 3:24 am

      Honey, thank you for thinking that my opinions or little blog could actually influence someone’s business or livelihood. I wouldn’t put myself or my blog in such high regard.

      You commented that my opinions were not expressed in a fair and balanced manner. Ironically, I’ve received comments from others that have actually been to Kuza whom said that my blog was too kind. Have you been to Kuza and eaten there? Are you not a fellow friend/acquaintance/owner or have a personal interest in Kuza? Have you read the other negative reviews of Kuza? If not, I don’t think you’re in the position to state whether or not my opinion was fair. In fact, I don’t think you can say anything at all, because this was my subjective opinion on my blog, if you don’t agree, go write your own review elsewhere.

      I don’t think you read through my blog completely, you will note that I mentioned that it wasn’t about the high prices and that I’ve eaten at many fine dining restaurants elsewhere which were well worth the price. My point is, Kuza’s food wasn’t of fine dining standards let alone of an average Japanese restaurant. Unfortunately for you, I am not in the least bit worried as coming across as an ‘obstinate, petty little miser’, all friends and family who know me and read this blog know who I am and my character, and I stand by my blog review.

      You took me seriously enough to bother to leave a comment here for the first time so thank you for that. Really made my day.

    • 6 R July 5, 2012 at 12:22 pm

      Ah, you have misspelled your name, should be “L” instead of “D”…

    • 7 sakuratrees July 5, 2012 at 12:41 pm

      Wow, talk about rude and condescending.

      Whether you agree with this review or not the bare facts are:-
      1. We thought the food was terrible and not worth the money we paid for it.
      2. We put our honest opinions on urbanspoon, a site made precisely for the purpose of reviewing eating establishments and therefore I would presume welcomes reviews both good AND bad.
      3. Our reviews on urbanspoon suddenly disappeared into thin air when others (all good reviews but one) remained.
      If that is not dodgy I don’t know what is!  In light of the above mentioned facts, any accusations made were not without good reason.

      And for you to say “I suggest you get a life and grow the hell up.” in a comment that calls for “fair and balanced” opinions…really?? Do you not see the irony here? There could have been far better ways for a fair and balanced opinion advocate such as yourself to get your point across surely!

      If you like Kuza Urban so much then please vote with your dollars and go and have lots and lots of overpriced, bad meals there, nobody’s stopping you!  Enjoy! 🙂

    • 8 Jason July 5, 2012 at 3:55 pm

      Hmmm I suggest that Foodie should be the one to get a life and grow the hell up… I have been a long reader of this blog and I do believe that the reviews are pretty spot on.

      It really does sound suspicious that this so called ‘foodie’ might be related to the shop…

      Bloggies are allowed to give their honest opinion and it is a personal blog. If u don’t like the review then don’t read it. What right do you have to criticize others?

      Leave us readers to make our own decisions and please grow up! Obviously no one takes u seriously here ‘foodie’….

  5. 9 Wendy July 4, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    Poor you guys. Unbelieveable Urbanspoon could do that!!

  6. 10 Cheng-er July 5, 2012 at 12:51 am

    The food pics looks terrible. I can only imagine what it must have tasted. I’ve never read such heated blog from you before. I don’t trust Urbanspoon reviews too as I’ve been burnt a few times going to restaurants with apparently good reviews.

  7. 11 slappedbygunk July 5, 2012 at 5:01 am

    Wow I didn’t know your blog was seen to be so influential, congrats! Perth’s business owners must all be quaking in their boots at the thought of a possible bad review from you. Haha.

    Obviously it’s a matter of personal opinion as to whether your review of Kuza Urban was fair and balanced or not but a picture speaks a thousand words and I’m shocked and appalled at that pork belly dish of theirs. What was the price tag on that? $16? $18?

    I tell you what, I can offer Kuza Urban standard pork belly (three pieces of siew yoke on top of three blobs of applesauce) at a much cheaper price of $10 (which still gives me a substantial profit so win-win guys!) Any takers?

    • 12 sakuratrees July 5, 2012 at 8:35 am

      I want I want!! But could I please have at least 5 siew yoke instead of miserable 3 pieces? 3 pieces cannot feed me lah…

  8. 13 puffypaws July 5, 2012 at 8:17 am

    time will tell.soft shell crab with watermelon….rite..

  9. 14 Andy July 5, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Dear foodie,

    I have never eaten at Kazu so am not qualified to give a review myself, but I have known daitaoha for a long time now to trust her judgement when it comes to food and eateries.

    I won’t draw the conclusion that you are somehow associated with the owners of Kazu, but if you are, I would suggest that you tell them to take any criticism on the chin and look at ways to improve their business based on the feedback. This is what any successful restaurateur would do as no restaurant can survive from the business of friends and family only. To disregard criticism and feedback will only result in Kazu trading in a self created bubble, and one day, that bubble will burst. And really, instead of being defensive they should be thanking the people who have left bad reviews as they have pinpointed the problem areas for Kazu to improve on in order for their business to succeed – this is invaluable advice that one would normally have to pay an exorbitant consultancy fee to receive!

    I wish Kazu all the best going forward, but I truly believe success will only come if changes based on the criticisms are made. Make it a challenge to prove the “bad” reviewers wrong and improve to a level that would even impress them. That is what you should do for the sake of your business. After all, surely reading good review after good review is so much more enjoyable than deleting bad review after bad review.

  10. 15 R July 6, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Kuza Urban SUCKS. Yucks!!

  11. 16 Simon July 15, 2012 at 8:14 am

    Great review.
    Try Edo Japanese in subiaco. Looks small and simple but the quality of food is right up there.
    Was referred by a friend who loves quality Japanese food 😉
    Would like to see you do a review of them.

  12. 18 Chompchomp October 20, 2012 at 1:12 am

    Now you’ve got me worried! We have a booking here tonight….stay chooned for the verdict!

  13. 19 Sheridan Whiteside January 10, 2013 at 7:47 am

    I went for Lunch today with a friend who has been before, he raved about it, I thought it was fantastic, nice atmosphere with friendly staff, quick service, place was 80% full will definitely be going back and telling friends to try it great value came to $36.00 shared entree, Tea, and two set lunch specials

  14. 21 S June 21, 2013 at 7:51 am

    I’ve been to Kuza for both lunch and dinner, and while I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them for Lunch (cheaper) I would be wary about booking for dinner. Unlike your experience, I did enjoy the food I ordered (scallop sashimi – can’t remember what my partner had) but the service was terrible. We did not book and so were treated like second rate diners and frequently forgotten. I agree that it is overpriced.

    If you want fine-dining Japanese Satsuki in Subiaco (near train station) is a far better choice.

    I would not recommend Edo in Subiaco as another commenter has, it is one of the worst Japanese restaurants in Perth and recently had to close temporarily due to failing a health inspection.

    – S
    (lover of Japanese food)

    • 22 daitaoha June 21, 2013 at 1:11 pm

      Oh dear Edo doesn’t sound good at all. There are lots of new Japanese restaurants popping up in Perth though which is great for us, more restaurants = more competition = better Japanese cuisine in Perth.

  15. 23 susi spice August 18, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Hi there!! I’m so glad someone else has had the same experience with urbanspoon. I too do not trust their reviews. I had a bad experience at the fig restaurant in south beach Fremantle where I found a hair in the food and when I complained the manager and waiter told us “it’s just a hair get over it” and when I argued backthat it was not an acceptable response they kicked us out of the restaurant and threatened to call the police if we didn’t pay for the whole meal. So I put up a review on urbanspoon and found that over the last year at least, there had been other similar reviews. Suddenly my reviews were deleted. I contacted urbanspoon and their reply was “we have a filter system that catches certain words which may indicate a review which the restaurant can’t defend itself on and they are removed from the website”.

    I questioned them further because they were telling me that if u put up a review citing a bad experience which involves bad hygiene, poor service by the staff they remove. I then pointed out to them that there were other reviews on urbanspoon about bad service and hair in food in the same restaurant, and they responded with “thank you for alerting us to these reviews as they seem to have fallen through our catch phrase filter they have now been promptly removed”.

    I never use urbanspoon now.

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