Sunday, February 23, 2014

Kurobuta Chelsea pop-up | London

Kurobuta is a little laid-back pop-up restaurant run by Nobu's ex-head chef Scott Hallsworth, on the far end of King's Road. As you may know, Nobu is one of my favourite restaurants, so I was really curious to see what Kurobuta had to offer. Also, as my brother was visiting me, I wanted to go somewhere special so I hoped this would be a winner.
As it's a temporary pop-up, the restaurant is a little hidden so don't miss it. Kurobuta is a izakaya restaurant, which basically is the Japanese equivalent to a British pub. It's relaxed and laid-back.

The place is quite small with an open kitchen at the back of the restaurant and tables squeezed next to one another. 

Our lovely Dutch pink-haired waitress Marie-Louise recommended us to take 6 dishes to share, though it was hard to choose since everything sounded delicious. In the end we picked a bit of everything, starting with the Spicy Tuna Maki rolled in tempura crunchies. Spicy, but not too spicy you couldn't taste the fresh tuna. The crunchy coating was the perfect addition. The wasabi however wasn't very spicy which was a bit strange, unless it was meant to be like that?

Next we had some beef fillet tataki with onion ponzu and garlic crisps, which I love and always have at Nobu (check out this post). While this was really delicious, the beef tataki at Nobu is a little better. 

Next up were the BBQ pork belly buns with a sticky peanut sauce. The buns were yeasty and pillowy-soft. The pork was fatty and had a fantastic charred flavour. The peanut soy sauce was rich and tasted almost like liquorice and went perfectly with the buns, pork and fresh cucumber. Wow, these were incredible, a perfect mix of different flavours you wouldn't have thought of putting together yourself. 


Next up were the BBQ pork ribs sprinkled with black and white sesame seeds. The meat literally fell of the bone and my brother said they were some of the best ribs he ever had (I must agree!)  

The Jerusalem artichoke chopsticks with truffle ponzu dip was fun to eat. If I would have to give a criticism, I'd say there was no strong artichoke flavour and we also didn't notice the truffle in the dip while it's usually a very present flavour. Despite that it was still very tasty.

Last but not least we had one of Kurobuta's most popular dishes, Nasu Dengaku. Sticky miso grilled aubergine topped with candied nuts (I think walnuts), displayed on a sheet of white cedar wood which supposedly adds to the flavour.
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Incredibly soft aubergine which almost melts in your mouth. The sweet miso together with the grilled flavour are a match made in heaven, just like my favourite black cod with miso at Roka & Nobu. Surprisingly, the flavour reminded us a bit of banane flambĂ©. It was almost like a dessert and the perfect ending to our meal. 

Overall, our favourites were the aubergine, BBQ ribs and the pork belly buns.. oh and also the tuna maki. Okay we can't pick really our favourite, everything was SO good we wished we could have sampled the whole menu. Kurobuta is definitely not something you can miss when you're in London, it's basically the cooler version of Nobu. If this is a little taster of what we can expect at the Marble Arch restaurant (and other future restaurants), I'll be first in line to try it out. Go try it while it's still there! (until June I believe)

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© whiskers & lions

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