Kuro is a multifaceted restaurant concept from Alan Wong (Kahii) and Taka Teramoto (formerly at Michelin-starred restaurants Restaurant Pages in Paris and Florilège in Tokyo). It's split into four distinctly designed spaces: a gadget-heavy brew bar that sits along the restaurant’s Kent Street window, a mid-range dining room run by former (now-closed) Bar H head chef Nobu Maruyama, a cocktail bar run by two of Japan’s best and brightest mixologists, and a 10-seat fine diner that frames the back kitchen.
Open from 8am Monday to Friday, the Brew Bar is the place for coffee; high-grade matcha and pastries. It has a long polished-concrete bar covered in the glass and metal sheen of 160 kilograms of high-end coffee equipment. The Kuro-branded beans are roasted with help from industry legends Collective Roasting Solutions.
When the coffee orders drop off and the dinner reservations kick in, all the gadgetry disappears; with just a switch of a button the brewing machinery is lowered into the concrete bench. The brew bar then becomes a large communal dining table – the best seats in the house at Kuro Dining.
The dining room is framed by 56 parallel illuminated oak beams that stretch from the floor to the ceiling. Each of the dining room tables are made from a striking dark marble. The menu, by Teramoto and chef Maruyama, lists black fried chicken, bass grouper with harusame (glass noodles) and crab sauce, and aged duck breast with black garlic and soy vinegar. The prices range from $28 to $42 depending on size.The drinks are by Teramoto’s partner, Wanaka Teramoto. There are 120 wines, most by small-batch Australian minimal-intervention winemakers, and a solid selection of sakes, plum wines and Japanese beers.
The bar isn’t as visually striking as the other areas, but it’s framed, charmingly, by the original heritage bricks. This is where Fumiaki Michishita and Yasushiro Kawakubo work – two Japanese bar tenders with endearing old-school attire (one in a bow tie and surgeon’s jacket and another in tie and vest). Both were plucked by Wong and Taka from two of Japan’s best bars. Aside from cocktails the bar stocks healthy selections of shoju, sake, gin and whisky. The drinks list is joined by a tight snack menu.
The smallest section, Teramoto, is also Kuro’s most ambitious. There’s just 10 seats, all of them overlooking the kitchen where patrons can watch Taka, Wanaka and Maruyama prepare a degustation experience.