Kazuya is a very special fine dining restaurant located at the top of Symonds Street, Auckland in a strip of otherwise cheap and cheerful restaurants, takeaway outlets and a few retail shops. The front of the restaurant consists of a white window displaying the menu and gives very little hint of what is to be found inside.
The dining room is small, cosy and intimate. The seating is cleverly divided by booths which allow you to feel like you’re ensconced in your own private space.
The food itself is a fusion of European and Japanese cuisines which is a result of chef Kazuya Yamauchi’s background growing up in Japan and then travelling around Europe as part of his role at Aquapazza, a prominent Italian restaurant in Tokyo.
I’ve been to Kazya twice, the first time with one other person and the second time in a group of six. When we dined in the group of six, the wait staff remembered my husband and I and gave us some special menu options. We were amazed that they remembered us, our last visit was around eight months ago, but this is a demonstration of the level of service at this establishment.
On our most recent visit two of our group had the degustation menu of 11 courses including an amuse bouche, cheese, sorbet, dessert and petites fours. On top of this you also get soft, chewy homemade bread and cheese sticks along with all the meat and seafood dishes. The other four members of our party had the signature seven course menu which also included a complimentary amuse bouche, the bread, dessert and petites fours and again a selection of meat and seafood dishes.
There were too many different dishes to list here and all of the food was delicious, full of flavour, fresh and beautifully presented with a very high level of attention to detail.
The standouts of the meal were the king crab with ratatouille and horseradish cream, an usual combination that went together perfectly, the sweet, tender crab meat, the rich silky cream and the freshness of the ratatouille. The Wakanui grain fed beef with truffle, potato puree and jus was also a highlight, the beef looks rare but is in fact cooked to medium, juicy, melt in the mouth and tender. And finally, one of the petites fours, a white chocolate with popping candy inside, was a surprising and delightfully playful way to end a stunning meal.
The wine list is top rate but we made the most of being in a Japanese restaurant and tried a range of sakes, including the very easy to drink Mio sparkling sake and three different kinds of dry sake all recommended by the very knowledgeable and professional sommelier.
I’ve already mentioned the level of service but it is truly something special. The staff are all highly knowledgeable about the food and drinks they are serving and there are little touches including a small package of cookies given to each female in the party before you leave and a special, complimentary little cake and a Polaroid photo to take home if you’re celebrating a special occasion. All of these touches on top of the amazing food, wine and sake make Kazuya the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion. And if you don’t have a special occasion, dining at Kazuya makes the evening a special occasion.