Finding Kid Kyoto is half the fun. This modern riff on the Japanese izakaya experience is hidden on a cobbled backstreet in the heart of the CBD, though it’s given away by the aqua neon signage and guitar-driven tunes emanating from the entrance.

And while the space and atmosphere is more representative of Sydney dining trends than any venue or place associated with rock music, this place takes just as much inspiration from Japan’s izakayas and kaiseki restaurants as it does ’80s and ’90s grunge (which play on the sound system). It has exposed ceilings, polished concrete, dim lighting, and a “come as you are” sign written in kanji. Altogether it's an abstract concept for a restaurant, but somehow it works.

Head chef Rhys Watson-Lamb’s menu of Japanese-inspired fare brims with plenty of punchy flavours. Must-try dishes include pork belly yakitori with wasabi-caper tare; a kransky corn dog with karashi mustard and kewpie mayo; and marinated eggplant with smoked yoghurt and almond furikake. The watermelon sashimi with tamari dressing, pickled ginger and wakame; and the chicken tsukune are both long-running menu favourites.

Creative and colourful cocktails are standard issue at the bar, backed up by a large range of sake and shochu. Sake and spirit-lovers are particularly well-catered for, with tasting events held regularly.

This is the Sam Prince Group’s third venture following Mejico and Indu.

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Updated: March 21st, 2022

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