By Kai

This hole-in-the-wall cafe and takeaway eatery is a family-run independent smokehouse specialising in smoked trout.
Ben Hansen
Published on March 27, 2023


Surry Hills might not be the first place you expect to find an independent smokehouse, but By Kai is exactly that. Originally a stall at the Green Square Markets, this tiny hole-in-the-wall eatery located across the road from the Cricketers Arms Hotel is built around its in-house smoker, with every step taken to produce the highest quality smoked trout.

The fish is sourced from the Snowy Mountains and delivered to By Kai in less than 24 hours. From there they're brined, filled with a sprig of rosemary and placed in the smoker where the magic happens, collecting flavour from the hickory pecan wood. Even the wood is locally-sourced and cut with a drop saw instead of a chainsaw in order to avoid contamination.

The result is perfectly tender and smokey fish that's used for the restaurant's signature dish — a vibrant Thai noodle salad using herbs from the garden out the front, topped with the diligently prepared trout ($24.50).

The salad is the biggest hit on the menu, which can be paired with your daily coffee or a bottle of sparkling yuzu soda ($5). Plus, By Kai is BYO ($5 corkage), so you can nab a spot out in the al fresco dining area and enjoy a spot of smoked trout with your favourite bottle of white wine.

Other highlights of the menu include trout croquettes paired with a simple green apple salad and a smoked lemon mayo ($20.50) and the smoked beef toasty which presses swiss cheese, house pickles, tomato chutney and, of course, smoked beef between slices of sourdough ($19.50).

There are also take-home provisions sitting up on the counter. As you're settling up, add a smoked lemon to your order which makes the perfect addition to a G&T or salad. Or, take home some prawn oil to spice up your midweek pasta recipe.

You may catch By Kai smoked trout popping up at other places around Sydney, as well. The artisan smokehouse already supplies its goods to neighbouring wine bar Lokal, as well as Bang Tang in Potts Point and Bronte Road Bistro.

Jarrad Shaw

Top image: Jarrad Shaw


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