With some indulgent twists on tradition, Street 360’s Kami Sushi provides something new in a crowded market
In Cambodia, there are not that many people who like to eat raw fish,” griped Liza Mork, Cambodian co-owner of Kami Sushi, a new Japanese fusion restaurant on the increasingly chic Street 360 in BKK1 this week.
But it is not only uncooked fish that Mork and her partner Keang Hui, 27, have included in their sushi selection. In an unusual touch, several orders come layered with Kobe beef or French foie gras (for those unfamiliar, a paste made from the liver of specially fattened geese or ducks).
The restaurant, which opened earlier this month, is in a spacious building, its roof tastefully slanted like a modern-art museum. Inside is a minimalist’s dream, with stone and wood everywhere.
Big glass walls, one backed by a fence of bamboo, make the place feel open. Stylish wood-block lamps dangle above the reception desk, around which crowd grey-uniformed waiters and waitresses.
When we arrived on Tuesday night, they seemed slightly intimidated to have to deal with customers – a sure sign of greenness.
Behind the long sushi bar – the heart of the space – stoic-faced Cambodian sushi chefs in white gowns, Japanese bandanas and sailor hats used gleaming blades to dice up big slabs of tuna, salmon and purple-tinted octopus tentacles.
Behind them was a wooden rack of assorted sake bottles and wooden frames for sushi dishs that looked like spiralled Jenga towers.
When we arrived around 6pm, the dinner crowd were all business types, mostly taking up the comfortable booths, with a larger group opting for one of the reserved rooms in the back. No one went for an outdoor table.
At first glance, the menus, large like colouring books and featuring glossy photos of each item, seemed to offer a fairly standard Japanese selection: gyoza ($4), chicken teriyaki ($4.50), yaki udon ($4), soft-shell crab rolls ($9.90).
But then we found the out-there items – Kobe beef foie gras sushi ($8.90), mango foie gras sushi ($7.50) and the Kobe beef sashimi ($19.50).
The yaki, or grilled, selection – salmon stomach yaki ($6.90), the yaki tori (chicken skewers, $3) and the burikama shio yaki (grilled yellowtail collar, $7.90) – all come with a side of homemade chilli sauce, a fusion element courtesy of the head chef, who hails from chilli-obsessed Bangkok.
Our first dish to arrive was the Kami sushi ($10.90), a single piece of rare Kobe beef below a cake of foie gras, engawa (halibut dorsal fin muscle) and orange jelly-ball fish eggs, all drizzled with a mayo-based sauce.
Aesthetically, texturally and flavour-wise, it was a winning trifecta of land, pond and sea proteins – umami in the extreme. The next item, the salmon ikura don ($7.90), was a bountiful bowl of sliced salmon over rice, and an altogether more straightforward eat.
Last but not least was the salmon Tokyo sushi ($2.70), a delicious piece of slightly fire-charred salmon over a cake of rice drizzled with a sugary sauce made from miso paste, then garnished with fish eggs.
During a soft-opening period, Kami Sushi is offering 20 per cent off but is open only for dinner (4:30pm-10 pm). The owners plan to offer bento box lunch-sets down the road. But for now, co-owner Hui said they were focusing on the basics.
“Handmade food, served to the customer,” he said. “We want our customers to eat fresh.”
For both those craving a traditional Japanese meal and those looking for something more new and exciting, Kami Sushi appears an option satisfying for both palates.
Kami Sushi is located at #15 Street 360. Tel: 087 625 555.