Cigars, Rolls, and Sushi Goals: RK San, Surry Hills

RK San, Surry Hills

RK San is a Japanese restaurant on Cleveland Street in Surry Hills. It's a popular Japanese restaurant known for well priced and good value dishes. On the menu are sashimi platters, carpaccios, sushi rolls, fish belly nigiris, Peruvian Nikkei dishes as well as robata and tempura options. Find out what the must have dish is and why!

RK San, Surry Hills

"I miss living so close to here," I say mournfully as we cross the street to RK San. The restaurant is actually moving two days after our visit, around 100 metres away to the corner of Cleveland and Bourke street and we had accidentally gone to the new location before back tracking to the current location. The restaurant that we are at is simply outfitted with a high counter where chefs greet you as you walk in. RK San is named after the chef RK Matang who has worked at One&Only Reethi Rah in the Maldives, Flying Fish and Sokyo as the sushi chef.

RK San, Surry Hills

Monica, Mr NQN and I take a seat while Marco will be joining up shortly after he finishes work. We take a look at the menu to the strains of some classic Italian music.

RK San, Surry Hills
Cigar with Tuna $13

I've already looked up what to order and the tuna cigar was high on the list - there's even a picture of it on the front of the menu. It's priced per piece and comes in an ashtray with "ash" and looks just like a cigar. I take a bite and my eyes widen. It has a crisp wafer outer filled with seasoned sashimi grade tuna tartare. The ash made from maltose powder and black sesame adds texture and flavour. We are so enamoured that we order another couple and try out the salmon version but out of the two, the tuna cigar is the pick as the tuna has a better balance of flavours.

RK San, Surry Hills
Maguro Hana (4 pices) floral shaped tuna, spicy mayonnaise, crispy sushi rice $16

Whenever I see crispy sushi rice and raw tuna, I have to order it because I love the contrast of textures. This is good, the rice cubes slightly smaller than I've had and topped with raw tuna on a bed of spicy mayonnaise. It's a satisfying crunchy and creamy bite.

RK San, Surry Hills
4 piece King Fish Belly $15, 4 piece trevally belly $14

Monica and I love belly cuts for their luscious, unctuous texture and we decide to try the king fish and trevally belly (we also ordered the salmon belly but the waitress didn't catch that). The king fish belly is very good, not as fatty as say salmon or tuna belly but a nice cut. The trevally is pleasant enough but a bit chewy.

RK San, Surry Hills
Tuna Ceviche $22

The tuna ceviche is one of a few Peruvian Nikkei inspired dishes and is a tuna ceviche with spicy tiradito sauce and house-made potato straws. You mix it all up for a crunchy, fresh delicious starter and we find ourselves chasing after the last bits of crunchy potato straw.

At this time Marco arrives to the haunting strains of the Godfather music and he sits down and eats all of the portions that we had put aside for him which is pretty much the perfect way to make an entrance and eat.

RK San, Surry Hills
Karaage Roll (8 piece) $19 4 piece Salmon Belly nigiri seared with seafood oil $18

We order a couple of sushi rolls. I would have normally ordered the prawn tempura roll but since we already have another prawn dish we decide on the chicken karaage roll. I think I was hoping for bigger chunks of chicken karaage but they're quite small. There's also cucumber, spicy mayonnaise and kuro tenkasu or tempura crumbs. Ultimately I gave my second piece to Mr NQN and when I see the chicken karaage come past us, I think I'd just order this instead.

After we figured out that our waitress forgot the salmon belly nigiri we ordered it and it comes out lightly torched with a seafood oil that gives it even more of a pronounced fishy aroma (I didn't mind this but I don't think it even really needed it).

RK San, Surry Hills
Seared Salmon Roll Seared (8 piece) $24

I much prefer the other sushi roll with seared salmon and cucumber with creamy ponzu crispy eschallot and micro herbs. It's perfect for sharing between four people too as you get two pieces each. This is luscious and moreish with the seared salmon on top and the raw salmon in the centre.

RK San, Surry Hills
Popcorn Prawn $17

Prawns and yuzu mayonnaise is my idea of heaven and I see quite a few of these bowls going out. The tempura popcorn prawns are chopped up and served on a green salad which is a great idea to get your greens too.

RK San, Surry Hills
Hokkaido Scallop on Shell 4 piece Pan seared Hokkaido Scallops with black pepper dashi and micro mache $23

The Hokkaido scallops come four to a serve and are served with a buttery black pepper dashi sauce. The scallops are thick and cooked perfectly and the sauce is completely drinkable (I save some sauce for dipping the mushrooms below in).

RK San, Surry Hills
King Brown Mushroom $15

There is a comprehensive section of items grilled on the Robata grill section and I love the texture of king brown mushrooms so we order some. The king brown mushrooms are served with a truffle soy dressing and have a sticky, meaty texture to them.

RK San, Surry Hills
King Fish Collar $15

Everyone at the table loves eating cuts like fish collar and this offcut has plenty of delicious sticky collagen-rich meat still on the bone. It also has a nice amount of char from the grill and we all happily nibble on these awkwardly shaped cuts extracting the meat where we can.

RK San, Surry Hills
Squid Robata Grilled Squid with dashi Miso and crispy Enoki chips $21

We order the squid for Marco as he loves squid and it ends up being one of the surprise favourites. The squid is incredibly soft, "It's like buttah," says Monica. "They know their way around a grill," says Marco spearing another piece of squid topped with crispy enoki tendrils

RK San, Surry Hills
Braised Pork Belly 36hr Sous vide pork belly with carrot puree, $36

By now we are totally full and we didn't need this dish. It's quite a small dish for the price too, especially compared to the other dishes that represented better value. Still its size means that the guys polish this off. It's squares of 36 hour braised pork belly with a sweet carrot puree, dashi ginger glaze, crunchy pork skin and an aromatic cumin crumb. The cumin gives it a different aroma profile than the rest of the food.

RK San, Surry Hills
Yuki $16

There are two desserts on the menu and Mr NQN and Marco are dessert enthusiasts but given how much food we had ordered we decide to share one. The yuki is a frozen yuzu parfait with pistachio praline ice cream and whipped cream on the outside. It's a great dessert to have after a big meal and I particularly like the tangy yuzu and the whole candied pistachios in this dessert.

So tell me Dear Reader, have you ever had a tuna cigar? What music would be your ideal entrance music?

This meal was independently paid for.

R.K. San

462 Cleveland St, Surry Hills NSW 2010 (now 648 Bourke Street, Surry Hills)

Open: 12-9:30pm (10:30pm Friday and Saturday)

Closed Mondays

Phone: (02) 8960 3131

Published on by .

Reader Comments

Loading comments...

Add Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked*