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Kurobuto, Marble Arch, pricey Emperors New Clothes

Bank Holiday Monday, and we found ourselves back in London after a brief sojourn in the Cotswolds. We had eaten well up there enjoying a cracking mid afternoon sarnie Saturday at the ever excellent Made By Bob in Cirencester and a nice family meal out at the Five Alls near Lechlade. Good food and hearty portions, we even had some glamorous celebs knocking around, well Nick Knowles & Mark Owen. Anyway my lovely wife and I had dropped off Baby G at my mum's and decided to dine and shop in the West End. As it happens we didn't get that far from my mum's and ended up at Kurobuta a new Japanese influenced place on Kendal St. I was wondering what would pop up on this site as despite it being a rare corner property with lots of natural light it had been empty for a good 5 or 6 years. I steered my lovely wife this way as she likes Japanese food and I was curious to see what the buzz was about. Bank Holiday Monday is often a good time to visit restaurants you might otherwise struggle to get a table at. The ones up in the West End tend to be open anyway and quiet as was the case here. We were the only customers to start with but it did fill up as we ate though it was by no means busy.

As I mentioned this is a corner site so light though on the overcast day of our visit it felt somewhat gloomy. Service was very enthusiastic from the antipodean team who were keen to explain the concept. Basically it is small sharing plates which I am more accepting of in an oriental food context. However I did find the menu confusing, the sushi and cold items were easy to identify but some of the other items were short on description so we gamely dived in. We ordered 6 dishes in total including some quite moreish hot edamame beans. The dishes looked and tasted the part though frustratingly they came out one at a time when for this meal to work we needed to mix tastes and textures. The stand out dish for us was the shrimp tempura, lovely shrimps in a fried noodle nest and light enough to eat a single shared dish. The chicken hot wings were good but the portion tiny. The pork ribs were good but I needed something starchy to complement them. The chicken skewers were also good but for me the pork belly buns were a let down as far too fatty. Having said that my lovely wife enjoyed the food more than me and the sushi being served at the next table looked very inviting.

My biggest problem with this place was that 6 sharing dishes and 2 frozen top beers came to £80! Which is going some! This was a light lunch and worth no more than £60. I appreciate they are up near the West End but that is aggressive pricing in my eyes. I appreciate everything was freshly cooked and there was a large complement of staff in the kitchen and each dish was checked off by the head chef. It seemed more suited to the American girl at the next table with the huge rock on her finger than us locals looking for a reasonable lunch. This is a nice looking restaurant with good food but I think they will struggle to pack it out at these sort of prices. It did feel like so many of these sharing plates places, that it just the latest fad passing through London.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Overall rating
Food 7 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 2

 

We tried to go back here but despite them advertising themselves as a Japanese pub they won't serve you unless you are dining. This is daft so we left. Whereas had they served us a beer I probably would have ordered some food. That is shit London service for you! 

Dip & Flip, Clapham Junction, good fun but I was somewhat under the influence

The Beaufort Pub & Dining, Colindale, all dressed up