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Informal Japanese Tapas Arrives In Chelsea, Kurobuta

June 4, 2018

Restaurants & Bars | by Baldwin Ho


Column inches have been devoted to the rise of Izakayas in London in the past few years, but the supposed trend has not quite taken off with the closure of the likes of Kojawan and Murakami in London. Izakaya are informal Japanese establishments that offer tapas-style sharing dishes along with alcoholic beverages. Kurobuta in Chelsea highlights how it can be run with great success when you create the right environment along with eclectic food offerings.

The punk-rock vibes belong more to the set of Blade Runner than for an upscale restaurant on King’s Road but perhaps that’s what is attracting the Chelsea masses to descend on this popular Japanese restaurant. With neon signs and old posters with the likes of Johnny Cash and Bob Marley, this is the place to invite your guest if you want to improve your street cred.

The menu is curiously divided into sections like robata BBQ, junk food Japan and something crunchy. We started off with the yellowtail sashimi which was delicately fresh yet packed with fire and citrusy notes from the accompanying kizami wasabi salsa and yuzu-soy. This was followed by perfectly chilled and premium grade beef fillet tataki which was flavoured with onion ponzu and given textural variety with garlic crisps.

Next, we moved onto the baby shrimp tempura, which was actually more well-portioned than it sounded and came with delicious kimchee and kimchee mayo. You half-suspect if they opened up a shop next door selling kimchee mayo, yuzu soy, and onion ponzu, they would be doubling their annual turnover.

Nasu Dengaku, which is their signature miso-baked aubergine was marginally disappointing, as they were slightly overcooked compared to the version I’ve tried at their Marble Arch branch, which was more moist and flavoursome. However, their other classic dish, the tuna sashimi pizza was still one of the best dishes on offer with the crunch of the base contrasting well with the silky smoothness of the tuna and topped up with sparkling wasabi tobiko.

Wagyu sliders was a solid affair with high-quality beef patty flavoured with very potent umami mayo and Japanese BBQ sauce along with crunchy onion tempura.

Dessert was gratifyingly indulgent as we sampled mochi ice creams with mango, yuzu and coconut flavours. Although, we did prefer their pistachio cake and chocolate fudge cake they were both sadly sold out.

The trendy vibes along with the creative menu have ensured Kurobuta has stood the test of time whilst other Izakaya concepts have fallen by the wayside.

For more information on Kurobuta see here.

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