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You may actually have to prevent yourself from salivating over the menu. In short, it is brilliant. At length, it is a gastronomic minefield of East meets West flavour combinations. Chef Kenji Ito is an innovative man who has created one of the best looking Japanese menus you are likely to see. It is not all about looks though – there is substance in his work. Kenji Modern Japanese restaurant continues to be awarded Adelaide's best Asian eatery. You may go wide-eyed at a plate of big eye tuna crusted with Japanese dukka, seared and served with pan-fried bug tails, white bean smash and spicy miso salsa, but then your tastebuds start itching at the sound of ichimi pepper-marinated Onkaparinga venison fillet served with grilled pear, creamed spinach and roasted beetroot jus. Kangaroo Island abalone is transformed into a konbu seaweed confit accompanied by sauteed enoki mushrooms, blood orange and rocket. Poached lobster meat is found in a salad of fresh fig, fennel and buffalo mozzarella with mango aioli and ao shiso (Japanese basil) dressing. "Caterpillar" sushi rolls hold grilled eel while "spider" rolls contain crunchy soft shell crab. Shiitake and seafood soup is served in a teapot with jellyfish; duck and ginger broth in a shot glass. Kenji is only hampered by his imagination.
While waiting for a dessert of hoji tea pannacotta, take time to appreciate your surrounds. Kenji's wife and restaurant manager Noriko is responsible for the cool green tones, funky retro feature wall and chrysanthemum-shaped lighting. Small touches such as porcelain pea pods to rest your chopsticks on don't go unnoticed but only add to this wonderful interpretation of modern Japanese dining.