Kurobuta is a tapas style Japanese restaurant, in the vein of the Japanese Izakayas (like traditional pubs). We first became aware of Kurobuta when they were featured on Masterchef. A couple chefs cooked the lunch menu, supervised by the head chef Scott Hallsworth, and the food looks really good, and he seemed like a really chilled guy. There are two restaurants, in Chelsea and Marble Arch, but we’ve never been to the restaurant in Chelsea and been to the Marble Arch restaurant twice, two years apart.
The restaurant is off Edgware Road, and a good ten minutes walk from Marble Arch station. We arrived about 6PM last Friday and we where the first guests, which isn’t entirely unusual. The staff where all young vibrant dudes, dressed rather casually, which goes with the aesthetic of the restaurant. It’s a very relaxed but colourful décor, with cool drop down light fixtures, graffiti, and modern comic-style artwork across the walls. It’s just like I remember it. The menu though, I don’t seem to remember, but that is somewhat expected as menus evolve.
Shiima ordered the wagyu beef sliders, miso grilled hot wings, squid kara-age (tempura) for starters and the miso grilled baby chicken for her main. I ordered yellowtail sashimi, salmon gravadlax and avocado tartare, and fresh salmon with Béarnaise salsa nigiri for my starters, and Kombu Roasted Chilean Seabass with Spicy Shiso Ponzu for my main. It’s a tapas style restaurant so as expected the portion size for all the dishes was fairly small. My yellowtail sashimi arrived first, and it was good, fresh and with a slight spice kick from the wasabi salsa and yuzu-soy. The squid kara-age was next, and Shiima really enjoyed it. The batter itself was really tasty, and the jalapeno dipping sauce that came with it was a perfect compliment. My salmon tartare was tiny, I can’t really remember a particular taste as I quickly devoured it, but I remember thinking it was pleasant.
My salmon nigiri was also somewhere between pleasant and delicious. It was certainly enjoyable, but it didn’t have a distinctive taste besides the natural awesomeness of seared fresh salmon. The Miso grilled chicken wings were really good. It had a good flavour and it seemed like the wings were very well marinated as the miso glaze seeped into the wings. The wagyu beef sliders were my favourite, even though we forgot to request the burger well done. The umami mayo, the crunchy onions, and the soft steamed buns carried the medium wagyu patty spectacularly across the line. My Chilean sea bass dish was actually beautiful. It was a small piece, as expected, and it didn’t taste as good as it looked, but I enjoyed it, especially the burnt edges, as the fish was perfectly roasted. To be fair, I think the only thing missing was a bit of a kick. Now there was quite a kick in Shiima’s miso grilled baby chicken, but it was less spice, more lemon. I’m not a fan of that, but Shiima seemed to enjoy it and said the parts of the dish not overcome with lemon were actually delicious, and combined well with her steamed rice.
We weren’t interested in dessert, as we were somewhat stuffed, so we concluded our dining experience. This was about 7PM and the restaurant had begun to get busy. All in, we had a good time at Kurobuta Marble Arch. It’s a bit out of the way, I think, but if you are interested in fairly priced tapas style Japanese food in a relaxed setting, seek out Kurobuta Marble Arch. I also recommend for foodies, large groups, and outside dining.
Dress Code: Casual
Shiima’s Star Dish: Squid Kara-age
Amen’s Star Dish: Wagyu Sliders
Price: £30 each (excluding alcohol)
Rating: 3.8 out of 5
Kurobuta Marble Arch
17-20 Kendal Street
London, W2 2AW
Call 0207 920 6440 to reserve, or book on ResDairy