So what is Kurobuta? Is a good question. Japanese for sure, but not in the traditional sense. Fusion, kind of but also not really. For me this is creative Japanese, or even modern Japanese, taking what we know and love a step further. Kurobuta started as a pop up on the Kings Road, except it hasn’t popped down and demand was so high a second Kurobuta has found its home in Connaught village (moments from Edgware Road and Hyde Park.) Kurobuta is owned by Scott Hallsworth ex King of the Nobu kitchen. When glancing at the menu you may recognise some of the food from Nobu, however this place has a way more relaxed vibe than Nobu and in my opinion a far more creative menu.
The vibe is small plates/sharing/tapas/meze however you like to refer to it. The menu is split into different sections – snacks, cold/raw, robata BBQ, Junkfood Japan, something crunchy, significant others, maki and sushi. At first the sheer number of sections can be daunting, take your time and make sure you absorb every last dish. A few of my highlights – rice crisps with avocado and jalapeno dip, a good solid snack! With what else was coming up I wanted my grains and greens quota, which came perfectly in a salad from the raw section, with added naughtiness from the honey/soy dressing. From the BBQ section, pork belly in steamed buns with spicy peanut soy sauce, these were honestly too good, I have dreamt about them multiple times since, yes the meat was tender, yes the buns were the right amount of dough -i-ness but it is the concoction of flavours that really sets these alight. The peanut soy sauce is a pure addiction, I ended up adding it with every dish on the menu, it was sickly salty. Junk Food Japan, what a cool section, although a tough one to make decisions in. I was tempted by the wagyu beef sliders in a brioche bun, but decided it wasn’t out there enough, so went with the tuna sashimi pizza, yes you did hear right! So the base was what I would describe as a taco or a proper Mexican nacho, topped with strips of tuna sashimi along with truffle ponzu, red onions and green chilies. You only live once! Nasu Dengaku was my choice from the ‘significant other’ category – sticky miso grilled aubergine with candied walnuts. When this dish arrived I mistook the chunks of aubergine for chicken, I guess I am too used to having aubergine in slices. The aubergine was cooked to perfection, super tender, it kind of melted in my mouth and the sauce again was completely addictive, as in so good that I wanted to lick the plate.
Wow, what a roller-coaster of intense flavours and textures and still more to come. The finale – Jelly doughnut pistachio parfait, excuse me?! This was made up of pistachio parfait, limoncello jelly, matcha meringue, hazelnut and chocolate mini doughnuts. It may sound like too much, too many moving parts, but this dessert fitted together like a dream, the contrasting flavours married together in sweet harmony, a true delight.
Kurobuta is so hot it hurts, the food and the vibe, there is something different about this place. You can make this restaurant what you want it to be, a special occasion, date night, group mayhem or a casual pop in. Kurobuta will seemingly adapt to your needs. I can’t stay away, so any occasion is an excuse to book this place, hurry, make a reservation.