Kiri has been on my wish list for awhile now. From the pictures of luscious tempura aubergine topped with miso to their Teriyaki splendours, I was sold very early on but was held back by a time constraint. Eventually I would pay a visit and that finally happened last week. In the day, Kiri serves a delicious take away from the cafe side and at night it serves customers fine Japanese cuisine from both the restaurant and cafe side.
To start, we ordered the Creamy Prawn Croquettes.
These golden brown lovelies were beyond the normal croquettes. For me, the creamy prawns encapsulated in a thin and crisp potato case were a highlight from usual croquettes filled with nothing but carbs! Little lashings of chilli mayonnaise completed the course.
The mountain of Kara-age.
Crispy squid salad.
A surprise favourite and a definite crowd pleaser. The tempura battered squid were light and crisp. But it was the amazing pairing with a refreshing salad dressed in sesame sauce that made this dish a hit.
Dengaku Miso or Aubergine topped with miso.
One advice. Do not bite straight into these little morsels the moment it hits the table! Its 100 degree centre is likely to burn your palate and that dollop of Miso with a salty hit is not going to help either. The famous Kiri dish is a little over-hyped IMHO. Bland by itself but overly salty with the Miso, I did not really like it. I think there ought to be better balance and refinement in the miso. Also, I’m thinking of grilled aubergines instead of fried. Might just be me though :P!
To share among the table we called a serve of Teriyaki Salmon and Teriyaki Chicken with two rice to share.
The Teriyaki dishes at Kiri are one of the best in town. The sweetness is balanced well with the saltiness of the soy and you can tell that the chefs in the kitchen did not come out of YouTube academy like some other places in town. The chicken was tossed in the sauce well and its crisp edges tell the story of a good frying, but perhaps a tad more reduction in the sauce would allow for a better coat. All in all, a faultless Teriyaki. But then comes the price tag. At $25 for Chicken Teriyaki, the serving size was OK but it did not come with rice which was another $3.50. The Salmon on the other hand was another well-cooked dish but my pocket felt a little reluctant for $32 without rice again.
Seated in the cafe side (by will) due to the low availability of seat in the main dining room also means being shrouded in cooking fumes at no less a dining cost. One tip, having the door open is a quick fix! The food here was really quite nice but the bill, not so much. Its delicious Teriyaki is comparable to my favourite one in Kanta but at a much higher price tag. A Chicken Teriyaki is $14 w/ rice in Kanta whilst in Kiri it was $30. But considering the demographics of high income earners in the leafy suburb of Shenton Park, it is no surprise that the food in Kiri is priced that way. However, for the same price one will definitely be tempted to go for the Omakase in Bonsai or Halu/Satsuki and maybe even for a 3 course at Nine Fine Food. In saying that if prices are not of the essence, you will find yourself pleased with the basic yet necessary offerings that Kiri serves up with decent quality and great authenticity!