Once you cross the threshold from Brunswick Street into the colourful surrounds of Kenjin, it doesn’t take long until you’re wrapped up in the space’s energy. The new venue from the Kenjin Group looks to offer a unique style of dining to denizens of Brisbane’s nightlife precinct, positioning Kenjin (Japanese for ‘wise one’) as a spot to sip, snack and sway without having to change locations. Kenjin is divided into two key areas – a dining and bar space adorned with Japanese-inspired decor (think koi murals on the walls and decorative cherry blossom trees), vivid neon and cushy, intimate furnishings, and Kenjin After Dark, an adjacent nightclub boasting state-of-the-art lighting rigs, elevated booths, a private room for hire and a spacious dance-floor where guests can cut loose immediately after their meal on Friday and Saturday nights.
Kenjin’s head chef Dale Kettle has designed a menu of modern Japanese fare that matches the venue’s energy with some fun and tastebud-tingling quirks. Groups can gather around multiple plates of sharable eats, all of which are purposefully light so as to not weigh you down ahead of a boogie. Guests can begin with starters including charred edamame (coated with chilli, garlic and Kenjin’s signature seasoning), lotus chips with white bean and miso puree, spiced barbecue street corn, and okonomiyaki pancakes with confit egg yolk and bonito. From here the portion sizes increase, with entrees like seven-spice fried calamari, West Australian scallops with lychee, pomegranate and finger lime, nori tacos, hibachi-grilled Mooloolaba prawns, and beef tataki with yuzu kosho, daikon, cucumber and rice crispies leading into mains of lamb cutlets coated in Manuka honey, blackened eggplant with miso and zucchini, and sweet soy pork belly with spring onion, ginger and egg. The Japanese flavours continue with the bar’s beverage list, which includes signature cocktails like the Kenjin yuzu spritz, lychee jalapeno margarita and pomegranate paloma, as well as a range of sake and umeshu. A worldly wine list offers drops from Australia, Italy, France and New Zealand, while a tight selection of draught and bottled beers provides local craft and imported options.
Kenjin is now open to the public. For operating hours and booking details, click on over to the Stumble Guide.