KUSUKA, in Haymarket, was a venue I discovered on instagram first. Nearly every dish on their menu is high on the insta-porn scale. Big noodle dishes, lattes in a cone, galaxy drinks that swirl, look like a disco and something that should never be ingested, and then actual beef pancakes among other dishes! What wasn’t to love? I HAD to eat there!! I rounded up a small but fine crew and we headed off to indulge. The venue discovered we were food critics, bloggers and grammers and discounted our meal – much thanks for that. Dining in Haymarket with me was the delightful Cecelia from FCBA and It’s Miss T, Patrick, her bae and my hand model, and the lovely Glendon from GlendonWW. Boy – did we feast or what!!
Kusuka may have started as a small idea, a venue in the Chinatown area of Haymarket that is close to the uni and Central Station. Based on their menu they are in the most ideal location. Students get up late, eat late, and most of them have an insta. Located in Chinatown it is also mostly the Asian demographic in the area and the food again impresses the same demographic. But the Kusuka idea has grown beyond its small walls. Kusuka is tiny, I mean I actually thought I had come to the wrong place tiny. At max capacity it would cram in twenty people.
The service is efficient, swift and very friendly, they know what they are doing. While being incredibly friendly and polite they will ask you every few minutes after sitting down if you are ready to order. They need you to order, eat and bugger off as quick as possible to get more people in.
The size is the greatest, and for me only, let down for the restaurant. It is located in a small laneway where you would not imagine a restaurant. The outdoor seating is narrow but we found it pleasant due to the company. Lucky it was a quiet laneway as people hovered around waiting for tables. If this was a small banh mi takeaway joint it would be ideal but it isn’t. It’s high grade pimped food that looks amazing and soothes the soul.
They have expanded beyond their walls and I truly hope with their success and fantastic food presentation they find a larger venue to spread out the love. Imagine this food in a licensed venue at a cushion table in a courtyard, long afternoons and chilled music. I’d learn mahjong for that!!
Mi Goreng – the 2min noodle primary food source of the Uni student, or pauper, who wants something more elegant than water and lettuce. Something I really only got into in my 30s. Back when I was younger it was crap Aussie versions with a simple chicken or beef stock and not very enticing.
The Indomie Brand of Noodles was introduced by one of my staff in the early 00s when I was working in Chatswood. To discover that you could add three or four different sauces to the one dish and then add an egg on top was true gourmet fare. The Mi Goreng noodles have been a staple in my pantry since that day forward. If I don’t have time, money or energy to spend time cooking, noodles it is. I bloody love them. All the sauces and powder and nuts but only half of the chilli sauce because I suffer the Euro tolerance of chilli – love it but it gets too hot haha.
Kusuka is insta-famous for what they do to Indomie moods. They take the Mi Goreng and then pimp it to the next universe before serving. They don’t just add an egg on top, they add smoked meats, spicy bacon, fries, corn and half the larder. It is no longer 2min noodles, it is soul food, it is the food I would prefer over all others and it is frackin’ amazing!!
THAT INSTA PORN MENU:
The menu is vast, they are open for breakfast lunch and dinner. They have a more reigned in brunch and lunch menu, then they have their pimped noodle bowls and escalating to boss-level there is the Hungry Bowls. And in addition there is Rice Bowls and an entire page dedicated to drinks. The drinks offer standard coffees and teas but then iced versions; milkshakes, frappes and then special lattes. Special lattes consist of matcha, red velvet, taro, chai, turmeric and more. And to pimp the drinks you can have cake served ON TOP!! Then there is the galaxy drinks. These look like they are from another planet and you shake them to see wonders, it’s like drinking a kaleidoscope. And you can have your lattes served in a cone instead of the cup. That was interesting!!
The more standard menu still looks impressive. There is an acai bowl for the healthy inclined and among many more the one I want on my next visit – THE SUPERSTAR – pork belly and mushrooms with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce – YES PLEASE! They also have some burgers I have heard some positive reviews of and then some quick “Through the Window” takeaway meals.
While the Rice Bowls and the rest of the menu was enticing I was there for one main thing – the NOODLE BOWLS – we all shared the larger HUNGRY BOWLS and the Beef Pancakes and HEAVEN!!
WHAT WE SMASHED AND THOUGHT:
- Standard coffees – all good (sorry unsure of which bean)
- Red Velvet Delight: red velvet blend topped with whipped cream, brownie cubes, chocolate drizzles and a cherry on top. Cecelia kept trying to get Glendon to feed me the cherry for a photo. I fed myself haha. It tasted nice but I did not indulge in the drink but it is something I would normally be all over.
- Wondermelon plus added Pandan Cake – Kusuka Green Milk Tea, with iced pink latte and basil seeds – it was very sweet and very colourful but it never got finished.
- Genesis Galaxy Drink – no idea what the ingredients are but it is otherworldly – it ought to be – it costs $12-. It tasted like grape and melon mixed together. Sweet and oh so pretty.
- Acai bowl. This was so out of place in our order I have no idea why we ordered it!
- Campfire Bowl: Double Mi-Goreng bowl with spicy beef, corned beef, fries, bacon bites and torched smoked cheese. This was hands down my favourite thing of the day and I WILL have it again!! The spice was quite mild but still very warming.
- Hangry Bowl: Double Mi-Goreng with Kusuka fried chicken served with chilli matah, spicy mayo, herbed mushroom, chilli taichan and hash brown crunch. Option to have with double Mi Goreng, double rice or 50/50. As the venue knew I wasn’t the best in chilli consumption compared to my friends they put all the spice in bowls on the side – this actually let the dish down. Glendon stirred it all through as he proclaimed he can do heat. It tasted much better after this.
- Savoury Beef Pancakes with cheese and chilli. These were delightful and I could have had much more.
We all had lattes in a cone. The Matcha was decent, the Taro was tasty, the Pink Latte (Melon and Strawberry) was amazing – this was mine and it didn’t even touch the sides and finally there was the Coffeevocado – it was gross and no one liked it haha. Just wasn’t for us – I wouldn’t even try it. The most surprising thing about these was the cone never went soggy – that chocolate layer is genius!!
KUSUKA is a wonderful instagram food porn heaven that does things with noodles only gods have known about before now. They are bowls of wonderful soul food that I could live off. The venue is let down however by its location and the fact it is smaller than a Tardis without being bigger on the inside! I still highly recommend visiting and look forward to returning myself.
SCORE BREAKDOWN: 2/3 food, 2/2 service, 1/1 drinks, 0/1 venue & ambience, 1/1 cost, 1/1 toilets and 1/1 bonus
PH: 0424 123 586
Shop 4 , Bijou Lane , 107-121 Quay Street, Haymarket NSW 2000
BOOKINGS: Check with venue – it is very small so get there early or expect a wait
Mon – Thur: 730am – 8pm
Fri & Sat: 730am – 6pm
LOCAL DELIVERY: Foodora and Uber Eats
VEGETARIAN OPTIONS: Yes
GLUTEN FREE OPTIONS: Yes
KID FRIENDLY: Yes
*** This meal was paid for but discounted by venue ***
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