I cannot remember the last time I was so excited about a restaurant opening as I have been for Kinoya. Part because I love ramen and part, a combination of underdog syndrome with some home- kitchen-to-restaurant fairy tale mixed in. I considered Neha Mishra a hero before even meeting her. But Kinoya has been on something of a bumpy ride since opening, drawing mixed reactions from some of whom have dined there. I know as many people who have been disappointed as those who have been impressed. That said, I still wouldn’t turn up in the evening without a reservation, such is the hype surrounding this Ramen-Izakaya eatery at the Onyx Tower in The Greens. Full marks to whoever designed the interior; it incorporates a dedicated ramen room, chef’s table (I presume for Omakase in the future), two private dining rooms and of course a main dining area and bar. Kinoya is licensed.
My first experience was let down by a Spicy Miso Ramen which simply didn’t know what it wanted to be. I think in the end, bland won. And as I was there primarilyfor the ramen, it overshowed the rest of my meal, which was actually pretty good, especially the Wagyu Tsukune and the Kisu (Japanese Whiting) Fish Tempura.
On my next visit (a couple of days later) I switched to Shio Ramen and the sun came out to shine, the birds started to sing, and balance was restored to the universe. Yet, when I recommended exactly the same to my mate (and Japanese food guru) Leigh – nightmare. I can only assume Kinoya still hasn’t got consistency right. That, and the fact that many approach Kinoya as an authentic Japanese proposition (verdict is still out). As another Japanese food guru recently said to me, Kinoya is what people who haven’t been to Japan think of Japanese, and in that context, it’s brilliant.
What do I think? The fact that I am booked back this Wednesday either means that I am into self-inflicted pain (S&M baby) or that I genuinely like the place…I’ll let you decide.
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Xerxes (pronounced Zûrk’seez) physically dines at, or orders from, each and every venue he reviews. He pays in full for whatever he and his companions eat, drink, take away or occasionally throw at each other. Xerxes accepts no money, gifts, discounts or free meals in return for reviews or favouritism. What you have read was NOT influenced in any way by the venue. Join his culinary journey on Instagram: @ravenousxerxes or reach out to him via email on firstname.lastname@example.org.