Kurumac is one of the first Asian cafes I ever visited, and one of the ones that got me hooked on the concept. An inner-west spin off of Kirribilli’s cool mac, Kurumac delivers some of the best and only Japanese-focused breakfast and brunch in the city, with the added benefit of not having to rub shoulders with the sleazy political types that haunt its North Shore sister. While most Asian cafes do their best to fuse both Asian and Western flavours, Kurumac proudly serves a focused Japanese meal.
The Assorted sashimi seafood, sushi rice, miso soup ($19 when eaten in June 2020, now sadly $25 in December 2020) is a revelation. It was the first and still one of the best sashimi bowls I’ve ever had. The top layer of salmon sashimi is lightly grilled and slightly sauced to perfection. The salmon roe is delicious and it is clear that they took effort to source some high quality produce. The scallops are sweet and fresh, as are the cooked prawns. The miso soup was the perfect accompaniment to the remaining rice at the end of the dish. While not mini in size, I would consider this a mini-version of Simulation Senpai’s Hoseki Bako, very high quality but missing some of the luxury elements.
The grilled salmon congee with crispy salmon skin ($17) was so good that we had it twice. The congee is warm and wholesome, with a nice serving of grilled salmon and a topping of delicious salmon roe and shallots. The grilled salmon provides a umami flavour that permeates the entire congee, while the crispy salmon skin on the side adds a delightful crunch with an additional burst of salt. The preserved vegetables on the side are more sweet than salty and thus help to add balance to the dish.
The Pickled mustard, Cod Roe Omlette, Rice, Tonjiru Pork and Veg Soup ($19) is the weakest of all of the dishes I’ve had at Kurumac. The top half of the egg was nice, but it wasn’t immediately obvious that the cod roe would be in discrete parcels of saltiness and spiciness rather than mixed in with the egg – this led to lost opportunities as it was quite a while into the dish that I found them. The soup of strong onion and radish taste was a bit too salty and tasted a bit too agricultural for me. I wouldn’t recommend this dish.
The spicy cod roe melt ($12) is an expensive but delicious piece of toast with a huge amount of heavy, rich spicy mentai mayo on top. This was one of the dishes that rekindled my interest in cod roe, and I actually tried to recreate it at home to much less success. Not Kurumac’s healthiest dish, but well worth a try.
While the spicy cod roe melt is a heavy and decadent piece of bread, the Japanese Style White Toast with Seaweed Butter ($6) is much lighter. This is a simple dish of a very thick piece of toast (in my opinion it is too thick) and a small bowl of seaweed butter. The seaweed butter provides a nice umami flavour, but in my opinion is a bit too mild to enjoy with such a large quantity of bread, even when fully spread over the toast. This would suit individuals with a more delicate palate.
The seasonal milkshake ($9.50) changes with the season. Mine was a large kiwifruit milkshake made with gelato from Newtown’s Mapo (one of my favourite gelato stores). It is huge and expensive, served within the metal milkshake tumbler. I would recommend the Hojicha Milkshake, available for the same price, if available.
The Latte ($4) is just normal coffee.
The Matcha Latte ($4.50) is quite good, served in a nice little stone cup. It is not sweetened.
UPDATE APRIL 2022
Time moves on, and the chirashi bowl has again increased in price, now to the very premium $3X range in April 2022. I chose instead to have the nori ben ($25) this time around, a fish-based collection of crumbed yellowtail, fried mackerel, grilled salmon, two types of pickles, and nori on rice along with a small cup of miso soup. I really enjoyed this meal, though it was a little bit heavier compared to most of Kurumac’s menu. The crumbed yellowtail was nice, warm, and moist, and the battered mackerel had that nice sweet and sourness that is characteristic of the fish. The tartare sauce was a bit odd – really more of a mayonnaise in my opinion, with large chunks of egg white mixed in – but not bad. The two types of pickles were standouts in my opinion, and went great with the soft nori and bed of rice. It was in the end a bit much of the same to eat for one person even despite the high level of variety in the ingredients, and I only wish that my partner were with me eating rather than sleeping at home (it would be unfair to expect her to eat a meal only available after 11AM if she’s starting work at 7:30PM) so that I could’ve had half of two meals instead of one of one.
UPDATE OCTOBER 2022
Today’s seasonal milkshake ($10) is strawberry. Still made with Mapo’s unbeatable gelato, and still good though quite filling and probably stopped me from eating as much of the curry and mazesoba as I wanted.
The mazesoba ($25) was happily though surprisingly different and better than the dry ramen that we had at cool mac back in 2020. The pork in this case was chashu, which was happily a bit fattier and tastier than what I remember. The broth had a lightly spicy and overall umami taste, aided by a load of delicious and tender bamboo shoots, as well as nori, sesame seeds, coriander, and a soft egg. The noodles were al dente. Genuinely quite good.
The ox tongue curry ($40) was really quite expensive for a lunch at a cafe, but brought with it a reasonable serving size as well as quite good flavour. Contained within this bowl of thick non-spicy Japanese curry were huge 3-dimensional chunks of ox tongue, very tender but still with good texture, koshihikari rice, and happily bright pickles. On the side was a serving of mentaiko mashed potato (I could not appreciate the mentaiko) and a green salad with cherry tomatoes, foliage, and sprouts. The ratio of rice to curry and meat was perfect, and the flavour and texture of the beef was good, although I would think twice about the value and level of necessity of the sides, and if the dish as a whole would be cheaper and yet just as good without them. The chirashi bowl by this point in late-2022 is now $35, and I think if you’re getting lunch at Kurumac and you’re only able to get one item, it would still be my recommendation.
You may be able to tell that I really like Kurumac. It’s one of my favourite cafes in Sydney, and I expect that as time passes and their menu changes you will also see new items added to this review.
107 Addison Rd, Marrickville NSW 2204
(02) 8593 9449