I have always been a little wary of the kaiten (conveyor belt) Japanese restaurants. They remind me too much of Wall-E style dystopias where humans are sedentary beings and robots do everything for them. Having a waiter or waitress actually hand you your food not only aids the impression that it was prepared just for you but also adds an element of luxury to the dining experience.
K10 (get it?) is one of these restaurants. It is a thoroughly modern dining experience; all sharp lines, polished surfaces, and it has a neon pink logo. It’s clientele can probably be described in similar terms. City boys and girls, their suits sharp as sushi knives, their shoes polished. At lunch time, so I hear, the queue steadily progresses in much the same way as the sushi on its belt. All this terrifies me, and frankly, this isn’t a place I would ever have scoped out for myself. Oh, how glad I am that I took this opportunity.
From start to finish K10 was a pleasure. Arriving around 8pm my guest and I were welcomed in and the whole kaiten procedure was explained. The prices ranged from around £2.50 up to £7.50 per dish which comprised of three or four egg sized rolls or slices of meat. Visually, the food was stunning. This is to be expected with sushi, however, the depth and complexity of each roll’s taste confirmed that it was quality ingredients as opposed to any nefarious colour enhancing techniques that gave the dishes such vibrancy.
The first dish we tried was a faultless beef carpaccio. It melted in the mouth and had a sweet, peppery kick that had me grinning from ear to ear. The conveyor belt rolled on, and next it was an excellent dragon roll (the tempura still warm!), then a lovely tuna tartare and a salmon and tuna ‘inside-out roll’. As well as selecting from the belt, there is also a range of hot, made-to-order dishes available, including handrolls, katsu curry, fried chilli squid and other classic Japanese dishes. We selected the chicken karaage, a crab handroll, a chicken gyoza and the chilli squid. Each dish was brilliant.The karaage was referred to by our waitress as K10’s signature dish, and it was essentially posh popcorn chicken. However, as with the chilli squid, despite being deep fried, it wasn’t greasy and didn’t leave you feeling used.
We finished our meal with two very contradictory desserts. The first was a green tea and mango mousse which was a refreshing palette cleansing delight. This was followed by a chocolate fondant which I found to be a little at odds with the meal we had just had, but it was greatly enjoyed by my guest and was in itself a very nice dish. Having enjoyed some good Japanese lager for the duration of the meal, we ordered some hot sake to finish off our meal. There are few more delicious drinks and it leaves you with a warm feeling of contentment.
Despite the slightly cold and functional feeling of the conveyor belt, the restaurant had a warm and friendly atmosphere, aided by a very attentive waiting team. To drive up footfall in the evenings – as I alluded to earlier, K10 makes its money at lunch time when all the city bankers descend en masse – they have a brilliant offer where diners are invited to roll two dice at the end of their meal, and should the outcome amount to 10, then the meal is on the house. There were a couple of successes during our visit, which were met with great enthusiasm by everyone. It felt fitting; this is an informal and thoroughly enjoyable dining experience. I thoroughly recommend it.