The time has come to share a secret with you, admittedly a secret I haven’t been very good at keeping (a quick look at my Instagram and Twitter timelines will give it away)…it’s my latest addiction to Kurobuta London.
Kurobuta is a contemporary Japanese bar & grill founded in 2013 by Australian Chef Scott Hallsworth (ex Head Chef at Nobu). The all-day menu of tapas-style dishes is inspired by the Izakayas of Japan and by Scott’s passion for pushing gastronomic boundaries and giving Japanese classics a contemporary, sometimes Western, twist.
I want to rave about the food, because that combination of sugar and salt and umami and smoke – punched through with Korean high notes of kimchi (chilli-fermented cabbage) and their famous garlicky chilli sauce the colour of fresh arterial blood – is insanely delicious. It’s compelling. It’s addictive. It’s a face-down, smear-my-cheeks-and-call-me-Doris, smack-about-the-chops experience. [Jay Rayner for The Guardian]
There are currently three restaurants in London, all three have a casual and relaxed vibe: Kurobuta Kings Road, Kurobuta Marble Arch and Kurobuta Harvey Nichols.
I have been wanting to eat at Kurobuta since Grace Dent reviewed (and raved about) their first pop-up on Kings Road for ES Magazine. It took me a couple of years to actually get there, but I finally ate at Kurobuta Marble Arch for the first time at the end of February when I was invited to attend a Topdeck Travel event for London Instagrammers.
On that occasion I had the chance to taste several dishes from Kurobuta’s all day menu and also some off the menu, like the Salmon Tataki with Nashi Salad, Onion Ponzu, Fresh Nori-Miso Dressing. This was also one of my favourites.
My friend Joanna Yee was attending the same event, and we both loved the food so much that we decided to go back to Kurobuta Marble Arch for lunch. We were there last week (Charlotte joined too for her first ever taste of Kurobuta’s signature food); we ordered a selection of our favourite dishes, such as the yellowtail sashimi, Chilean seabass, and pork belly buns.
We sat by the window overlooking the pretty Connaught Village, taking in the sunshine coming through the window, while rock music played in the background.
Here are the some of my favourite dishes I have tried at Kurobuta so far and which I think you should not miss when you visit.
Beef Fillet Tataki with Onion Ponzu and Garlic Crisps – best paired with a glass of White Dragon sake.
Tuna Sashimi Pizza with Truffle Ponzu, Red Onions and Green Chillies
Yellowtail Sashimi with Kizami Wasabi Salsa and Yuzu-Soy
Kombu Roasted Chilean Seabass with Spicy Shiso Ponzu
Black Pepper Soft Shell Crab Tempura
Salmon Gravadlax and Avocado Maki with Dill Mayo
Soft Shell Crab Tempura Maki with Kimchee Mayo
And of course I saved the best for last, the wonderful BBQ Pork Belly in Steamed Buns with Spicy Peanut Soy which are my ultimate favourites at Kurobuta.
Kurobuta is not cheap, but it also doesn’t have to be ridiculously expensive. My bill for lunch last week came to £37 for 7 dishes shared between three people (we ate a lot!), including one juice and service (no alcohol).
I had another opportunity to taste Scott’s dishes yesterday as I reviewed the newly launched Afternoon tea menu at Kurobuta Harvey Nichols.
The ‘Tokyo Tea Party’ menu by Scott Hallsworth features a weekly changing menu of delicious tea-time treats with an Asian twist. It is served seven days a week from 3-6pm on the 5th floor of the Knightsbridge department store.
You know I love afternoon tea, but the traditional menu of sandwiches, cakes and scones can feel a bit repetitive after a while. The Japanese afternoon tea at Kurobuta Harvey Nichols is a fantastic alternative to a classic afternoon tea and a great way to get a taste of Kurobuta’s dishes.
Honey BBQ Short Rib Puffs / Confit Duck and Taro Croquette with Red Miso Dip
Green Tea Donut
Sobacha Lollipop / Green Bastard Cheesecake
Matcha Truffle / Green Tea
The Tokyo Tea Party features a daily “sweet surprise” which this week is a take on the Chocolate Wipeout with Creme Fraiche Ice Cream, one of the desserts from Kurobuta’s all day menu.
All this is served with tea or coffee for just £19 per person (£25 if you order a glass of Prosecco or a cocktail). Compared to the average price of £35-40 for afternoon tea at a luxury hotel, I find this menu to be very competitive and definitely worth trying.
My addiction to Kurobuta isn’t likely to wane anytime soon, in fact I am planning to go back next month to try new dishes, and I hope you will too!
Disclaimer: I was a guest of Kurobuta for my first lunch at Marble Arch and for the Afternoon Tea at Harvey Nichols. All opinions are my own.
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