Kurobuta takes its inspiration from the Izakayas of Japan. Originally a pop up in Chelsea, Kurobuta was an instant hit with diners who fell for the unique chilled out ambience and exceptional Japanese food. It’s now a permanent fixture in Chelsea and Marble Arch and continues to impress with its tapas-style plates and drinks in a casual setting with rock n roll music entertaining guests.
A highly skilled and experienced exponent of Japanese cuisine, Scott Hallsworth (ex Head Chef of the legendary Nobu, both here in the UK and in his native Australia) is at the helm, and the food is reliably out of this world. Scott has designed an all-day menu inspired by his passion for pushing gastronomic boundaries and giving Japanese classics a contemporary, sometimes Western, twist.
We went along to the Marble Arch location which has been open since April 2014. The restaurant is buzzy and welcoming. The menu choices are immense and every dish other diners were eating immediately looked appealing. We asked our super friendly waitress Teonie for her recommendations and delved straight in to our order – we had earmarked a couple she recommended so ordered those immediately. The menu is split in sections, such as Snack, Cold-Raw-Salad, Junk Food Japan, Robata BBQ, Something Crunchy, Significant Other and Sushi and On The Side; we ordered a selection covering off as many sections as we could.
We started with the recommendations; beef fillet tataki with onion ponzu and garlic crisps (cooked to perfection, juicy and tender and extremely flavoursome), tuna sashimi pizza with truffle ponzu, red onions and green chillies (a utterly divine take on pizza) the signature nasu dengaku; sticky miso grilled aubergine with candied walnuts (possibly the best aubergine we’ve ever had), so good we reordered it. Others that caught our eye were the wagyu beef sliders in a steamed bun with crunchy onions, pickled cucumber and umami mayo, delicious little buns of tender meat wrapped in steamed buns, miso grilled hot wings that were finger lickin’ good, tea smoked lamb with smokey nasu and spicy Korean miso – succulent juicy chops on the bone and beautifully flavoursome. We ended on deliciously fresh salmon gravadlax and avocado maki with dill mayo.
Scott’s ‘Junk Food Japan’ is critically acclaimed, and it’s no coincidence that we were drawn to his tasty take on pizza, burgers and hot wings. We also had our eye on the popular BBQ Kurobuta pork ribs with honey-soy-ginger glaze, but couldn’t fit in any more. This though we’ll come back for, as well as the signature BBQ Pork Belly in Steamed Buns with Spicy Peanut Soy.
Despite our protests Teonie insisted we try the pistachio forrest cake, as our neighbours had ordered this and it had caught our attention. Our curiosity was too much to bear so we ordered it and we’re glad we did. The cake was absolutely exquisite – zingy sorbet, creamy chocolate mousse, sweet cake and tart flavours from the cranberries created a sensational combination that was unexpected but very welcome.
As for boozing, we stuck to porn star martini’s and prosecco but you can also expect to find slushy cocktails, Japanese whiskies, barrel-aged cocktails, frosted tankard beers, growlers and sparkling sake.
Scott has created a fantastically imaginative selection of innovative snacks, salads, stunning sashimi and signature dishes unique to his style. The staff are very welcoming and friendly – we had a lovely chin wag with our waitress Teonie and the Manager Innika and the music is right up our street ‘rock n roll’. We can’t wait to go back and try all the delicious treats we missed out on this time…
Opening Hours: MONDAY-SUNDAY (12:00 to 22:30)
Twitter @scotthallsworth @kurobuta-london