Archive for the 'The quest for the best Japanese in Perth' Category

Ramen in the city

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It has been a family laden fun weekend first starting with Fremantle beach on a Saturday with the kids.  I think our Jurien Bay beach swimming got me hooked,  that’s crazy for someone who fears the heat and hates summer.

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Then we had a ramen session with Jan and family at Nao in the city. Jan was surprised with the queue but luckily we were there fairly early and got seats easily.  This was Andy’s salt based ramen with added char siew and pork oil. Only the pork oil was really little bits of pork fat which while tasty was kinda gross at the same time.

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Jan and I had the miso ramen with a side of mentaiko. Love mentaiko. This was quite tasty but we were all very thirsty after our meal, too much msg in the ramen!

Ramen wise it was quite nice but R us still a steady fan of Sydney’s gumshara and I prefer ippudo too. Andy says the new Hikaru has great tonkatsu ramen so we’re heading there next Sat haha. 

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Lunch bento for Monday is beef lasagne.

I’ve been trying to use the mobile to blog for a while to encourage frequent blogging but wordpress mobile just isn’t very handy.

So I’m now on http://dayre.me/daitaoha ! It’s quite fun so far because my sisters are blogging from there.  I will still be blogging from here because I don’t like the photo features on dayre and see it more as a daily personal blablabla blog.

It might be time to close down this blog though. .. ah well, we’ll see.  Have a good week!

MKR Sundays

Headed into the city this weekend for some shopping.

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Tried the coffee @Moana (Hay Street mall) which shot coffee lover chills up my spine. Darn it, I thought I had downgraded my caffeine addiction due to the lack of good coffee in East Perth but Moana made me so sad that I’m not working in the city anymore. Moana is a quaint little cafe too, I will be returning.

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Pork Belly ramen from Zen (Subiaco) which we went eons ago because they were the one of two Japanese restaurants in Perth that served uni (sea urchin). Sadly they no longer serve uni and the restaurant was quite disappointing. R found his ramen pretty tasty but Andy thought it was similar to instant noodles (oops).
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Another Gordon Ramsay recipe, Morrocan lamb with sweet potato and raisins. I am surprisingly finding Gordon Ramsay’s recipes quite easy to follow, I should have reduced the stock a lot more and it was a tad too salty, but I can imagine myself doing it again because one pot meals are so handy!

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My foolproof teriyaki chicken and mushrooms with tamagoyaki lunch bento :). Hope the work week goes by quick!

Becoming older yet again

I had a lovely birthday! It was filled with warm wishes, celebrations and lovely food. I even managed to catch a movie (Big Hero 6, it was cute, funny and heartwarming) which was what I really wanted to do for my birthday.
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Birthday brunch at Harvest Expresso which was my request. They now serve matcha lattes at Harvest Expresso. I’ve blogged about Harvest Espresso a few times, it’s my local cafe which is ever so popular and requires a bit of a wait because of it’s tiny space. Instead of trying somewhere new, I wanted to go to a place where I knew the food would be different (they always change their menus which is the sign of a passionate and great chef) but consistently good so Harvest it was.

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Their summer menu dish of Chicken and the egg (Fried egg, confit chicken, crepes, bacon jam, romesco sauce, lemon crème fraiche $20.5) did not disappoint. The chicken especially was tender and moist, very tasty paired with the bacon jam and romesco sauce. We thought the fried egg didn’t add much to the dish (but who will say no to a fried egg) and would have preferred the chicken to be a breast rather than a maryland (bones are so fiddly for brunch) but otherwise, could not fault the taste.

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My dish was the Tonka Toast (Seasonal fruits, French toast, tonka mascarpone,granola, crumble $18) because I am a sucker for french toast. Harvest does a lovely french toast, but I think it would have been much better if the mascarpone was cold which would lift the rather warm dish (even the fruits felt warm and heavy). I loved the granola and crumble though which gave a great crunch to the french toast.

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R brought me for degustation at Red Cabbage (South Perth) which is one of my favourite restaurants in Perth. I was happy that he chose Red Cabbage even though we’ve been a few times because it meant that we were going for the tried and tested classics. Even before the night started, I knew the food would be delicious and I wasn’t wrong :). Even their warm buns which came with garlic and chive butter and a side of pork crackling (so crispy we could hear other tables cracking into their crackle) tasted extra lovely.

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This was our favourite dish of the night, the marron which was really delicious, perfect texture, slightly raw, sweet and delicate, and paired with kimchi which was a great surprise but a wow for the tastebuds. Perfect dish to keep you hanging out for the main.

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Birthday family dinner at Satsuki in Subiaco. I’ve always wanted to try either Satsuki or Ha-lu (sister restaurant) because I’m always keen to find the best Japanese in Perth. I didn’t eat much of the sashimi but I’m told it was pretty good.

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I had a bite of R’s side of ramen which was very flavourful, R told me later that he found it too salty which is saying a lot for someone who usually likes heavy and salt laden food.

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Duck with wagyu beef and madeira sauce ($23). We liked this one a lot so ordered another serve. The duck and beef were both tender and nicely done.

I’m not sure we will be going back to Satsuki again, not that the food wasn’t good, it was actually quite nice (we thought it was a bit pricey at first but it turned out ok when the final bill came) but it wasn’t wow. So no, it’s not winning the best Japanese in Perth award.

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My colleague baked me a birthday cake for my birthday morning tea at work (=^^=). He’s the best baker in our organisation so I was chuffed. It had an asian twist to it to, a really delicious lychee and lime cheesecake (I told him I like lychees). I liked it so much that I had two slices and told him I want one every year. He told me it was the most expensive cake he’s ever baked (it’s the lychee liqueur) so I don’t think I will be getting another one next year haha.

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My pretty birthday cake which was decorated by Kaka with flowers. It was really nice to cut the cake and blow birthday candles with my niece who shares my birthday. We wished each other happy birthday in the car and she giggled ‘Daitaoha yee yee said happy birthday to me!’ I love my niece.

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Rainbow filling. I like rainbow sponge cakes because they’re so pretty. I especially like this one because the shades of the rainbow are just right, not too bright and garish. Also helps that it’s a really nice and moist sponge!

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Sigh, birthday celebrations over and it’s back to work again. Monday’s lunch bento is teriyaki beef with cherry tomato scrambled egg.

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Second lunch bento of butter chicken and rice. This is a recipe from my new Gordon Ramsay cookbook that I received as a birthday gift, putting it to good use immediately hehe. Hope it turns out well.

Have a good week everyone 🙂

Hangout Bar N Cafe @ Como, Jun@ Hay Street, Perth

A break from my holiday posts with some local content.

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We had Sunday brunch at Hangout Bar N Cafe in Como a few weekends back. Even though it was busy, we managed to snag a table pretty quick without a booking. The cafe was surprisingly cozy with a fireplace, unfortunately we were seated near the door which meant chilly blasts of wind when patrons came in and out the cafe.

They have a wide range of coffees and flavoured hot chocolates ranging from tiramisu latte to green tea latte. I liked their fancy glasses.

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Their Big and Tall ($20) breakfast which comes with a glass of fruit juice. This is one for the hungry and was a pretty good all rounder big breakfast.

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Eggs benedict ($17), HC said all was tasty.

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Jo’s honey glazed 1 inch bacon which came with poached eggs, avocado and habanero sauce ($17). The bacon was lovely but I’m not sure that the habanero sauce added to the dish.

Overall we enjoyed our brunch and will definitely return some day. They take bookings so that’s convenient too.

Hangout Bar N Cafe
20 Preston Street
Como, WA 6152
Tel: 08 9474 1914

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Jason is back in town! Only for a short three weeks 😦 but beggars can’t be choosers. We only have him for another week before he returns to London. So tonight we met up with him for dinner at Jun. I’ve heard great things about Jun so was glad we finally got to go. The restaurant is hidden underground in a little alley, but word has gone out so it’s no longer a secret in the CBD and is always packed at lunch time.

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I can never resist ordering zaru soba ($10) even though it’s a bit mad to have cold soba on a winter night. I had the yummy soba with a side of croquette ($8), very crunchy texture and I was suitably pleased with my choices.

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R’s soba in soup ($10) he immediately regretted his choice after trying my zaru soba. It tasted alright but the texture of soba was lost in the hot soup.

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The rest of the guys had set meals. This was Jason’s katsu chicken meal ($28) which came with side dishes, salad, pickles and miso. He let me try some of this chicken with was very crunchy and well fried.
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Jo had the Jun yakitori set ($30). Jun is most well known for its yakitori and it was easy to see why because they were all very well done, grilled to perfection, moist and tasty.

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HC’s teriyaki beef set ($28), he is a huge teriyaki beef bowl fan and really liked the beef here. I liked their side dishes of simmered pork stew, just something different from the normal salad.

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Side dish of baby squid in butter soy sauce ($8), R thought it was great with just the right texture and I liked their butter and soy sauce which had the right amount of sticky sweetness.

While Jun’s prices are perhaps on the slightly higher end, I do admire their wide variety of authentic Japanese dishes on the menu, everything was faultless (except if perhaps the waitress was a bit more frequent with her green tea serving) and we had a fun winter night.

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Baby Tristan really liked Jason and couldn’t stop smiling all night. Sigh, can’t blame the baby, I love being around Jason too. It always feels so comforting and familiar whenever Jaso is here and we always have such a nice time whether it’s squabbling with each other or having one of our D&Ms (an abbreviation taught by Jaso haha, it means deep and meaningful *face palm*).

Jun
568 Hay St
Perth, WA 6000
Tel : 08 9221 3339
jun1

The different colours of the Perth Council House at night. I doubt Perth will ever become a cosmopolitan city like London, Paris or even Sydney and Melbourne, but the gradual growth of Perth suits the boring ol’ me and it’s becoming more and more like home especially with the arrival of Jan and family. Looking forward to the rest of 2013 and beyond.

Harvest Espresso brunch and good ol’ Taka’s

The perpetual Saturday morning question ‘Where should we go for brunch?’

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This time I introduced Jo and HC to Harvest Espresso which I’ve frequented a few times and enjoyed tremendously. As usual, the little cafe was buzzing but the nice and friendly waitress was able to get us a table pretty quick.

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It’s always nice to start a weekend with a coffee. I tried to lie to myself that I wasn’t having a coffee by ordering a mocha. Trying to cut down on coffee is proving pretty difficult. Sometimes when I haven’t had a coffee at work,  I find myself making a coffee (instant some more!) at night (^__^)”. My nervous stomach is obviously not getting any better.

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Jo had the mushroom omelette which she really loved, the omelette was creamy yet light, very tasty.

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HC’s pulled pork sandwich which they both said was very nice. He also had a side of sourdough toast with strawberry jam which he was lovely. It was a nice brunch and I’m so glad that this little cafe is still doing really well, food wise and service wise.

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Eating in on Saturday night. Sei soong yaat tong, four dishes and one soup, Cantonese style hehe.

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New dish, prawns in creamy butter garlic sauce on an omelette. Very rich and sinful dish, I think it was just lacking a bit of chilli for a bit of oomph.

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Chicken teriyaki slices with stir fried beansprouts.

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Our soup of the night was bak kut teh (pork rib soup) which I made with soft pork ribs and also belly pork. Also added tofu puffs and pork balls for a bit of variety.

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I took this picture for my mother because I wanted to let her know that we returned to Taka for Sunday lunch! Ah ma remembers Taka fondly because it was the only Japanese place I brought her to eat back in the old days when I was a cheap uni student. Taka is not so ‘cheap’ anymore, but it’s still very affordable and always tasty. This is Jo’s teriyaki fish combo.
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My chicken karaage combo which was very good. The chicken pieces were still piping hot while still tender and juicy. I reckon many high end Japanese restaurants around Perth wouldn’t be able to serve such a good chicken karaage.

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Sunday roasts seem to be have become the norm. This chicken was pre marinated and came with a  cous cous stuffing, not sure about the stuffing but the chicken itself was nice.

Next Saturday should be fun, we’re going to a fancy dress party! Maybe I should go as a big head prawn.

Ahoy Matey!

It’s been a while since I’ve done any creative cooking in the kitchen :(.

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I’m no where near diminishing my 30 must-cook list, so far I’ve only cooked one out of the 30, but I promise I will do one more this week. Instead, I have been relying on my old-time favourites, such as this teriyaki beef onion, tamagoyaki and stir fried cabbage and carrot bento.

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But at least I have been trying new food places! This is Tao Cafe, which while not actually new (they have branches in Myaree and Innaloo), is pretty new in Victoria Park. Already it is very popular and was buzzing on Saturday night. The upside of Tao? They have a wide variety on their menu ranging from Vietnamese, Thai to Japanese (they even have a sushi train). The downside? Jack of all trades, master of none. The Pho Tai above was very average, in fact, while the broth was alright, their noodles were not the usual smooth rice noodles that we’re used to from the Vietnamese fare in Northbridge. Prices also on the higher side (around $15.50 – 18.00 for a dish) compared to their counterparts in Northbridge.

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HC’s Com Tam ($15.00) broken rice with pork chop, egg and shredded meat. His first reaction was ‘very salty’ haha, so I guess that means it was pretty tasty.

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I have to say that the presentation of Tao’s dishes were all very appealing and nice, the orange hue of the rice of my Com Ga Chien Don ($15.50) a crispy chicken with rice and sweet and sour sauce, was very pretty. Unfortunately I’m not sure what they put in the rice to get that nice colour because the rice itself was rather bland and didn’t taste of anything much. It was much better after I mixed in the sweet and sour sauce which tasted like sweet chilli sauce.

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Jo enjoyed her Pineapple Fried Rice ($15.00) and said that she would return in the future. While the food was only average and portion perhaps on the smaller side, I can see why Tao Cafe is popular in the neighbourhood especially with its BYO policy, good location and bright cozy interior. I think it will be here to stay.

Tao Cafe
Shop 1, 860 Albany Highway,
East Victoria Park 6101
Phone: 08 9361 1100
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All aboard! A different Sunday evening in Fremantle. The guys accompanied me on a work function of a different kind (no, I am not a sailor) which saw us board the Leeuwin II.

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Baby was dressed up in his Sunday nautical best for the voyage haha.

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Lots of romantic stories regarding the Leeuwin. My colleague once proposed to her husband on board the Leeuwin II.

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The tiny bunks down below. No individual cabins or captain quarters here.

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The whole family on the decks of Leeuwin II. I wish my parents were here, I think they would have enjoyed a tour around this little ship. Ah well, two more weeks till they arrive and we can go fishing in Freo. Bon voyage!

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.

NOW THE AFTERMATH

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


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