ADDRESS:   193 Symonds St, Eden Terrace
SET MENU:   $150pp seven courses
CONTACT:   09 377 8537
SCORE:   18.5 / 20

If ever there was a restaurant that understated its status, it is Kazuya. Outside, on an insalubrious section of Symonds St, it is achingly plain. Enter, however, and there’s a remarkable transformation. Behold an intimate dining room where care, quality and a degree of theatricality permeate. Chef-owner Kazuya Yamauchi is a marvellous ambassador for traditional Japanese food given a contemporary interpretation. Multiple course menus are on offer, each delivering ample deliciousness. We love the prawn and green pea risotto with Comté cheese. Kazuya’s showstopper platter featuring more than 30 individual food textures, remains firmly on the menu. Servers are calm and gracious. At evening’s end, Kazuya and his staff see you to the door, where the reality of the central city hubbub hits.

IN BRIEF: Textures, taste and Japanese élan