17 – 20 Kendal Street, London W2 2AW www.kurobuta-london.com
urobuta is a rare breed of pig, originally from Berkshire. Scott Hallsworth is a rare breed of chef from Australia. At his restaurant I hoped that I too would feel like a rare breed. I didn’t. I ate just like a plain ol’ pig! Hallsworth does amazing things with Japanese cuisine, both conventional and new, but he has totally changed the dining experience. The serene atmosphere of the traditional tatami room has been replaced with the vibrancy of a typical English pub. The din is a bit much for me. Eating and shouting isn’t my favorite combo. But the buzz is fantastic and so is the food. Hallsworth’s food is sometimes described as Japanese junk food. It is anything but. It is sophisticated and extremely inventive, with prices that are nowhere near junk. More like AAA. Two Green Bastards (£19) got us in the mood. Gin, melon and cucumber. Lovely, fresh combo. Sweet potato and soba-ko fries with jalapeño and kimchee mayo and flamed edamame beans with sake, lemon, butter and Maldon salt (£4 each) were both wonderful bar snacks. Unfortunately, the very
30 June 2015
IMAGES ©PAUL CLARKE
TheAmerican American The
Reviewed by Michael M Sandwick
salty beans made it impossible to appreciate the delicate dish that followed, a tuna sashimi pizza with truffle ponzu, red onion and green chillies (£10). Taste buds have difficulty recovering from salty snacks. Something to ponder. Baby shrimp tempura (£10) were a lovely consistency. The shrimp are fresh, not frozen. Another rare breed. It gives them a divine crunch. Jerusalem artichoke chopsticks (£7) are a lovely inspiration though the accompanying truffle ponzu dip was just a bit thin. Sticky miso grilled aubergine with sesame seeds (£8.50) was like candy. Perfectly cooked, succulent, with great balance of sweet and savory and the same can be said for komba roasted Chilean sea bass with spicy shiso ponzu (£18). Wagyu beef sliders, steamed bun, crunchy onions, pickled cucumber and umami mayo for a whopping £19 were a disappointment. For that price I expected X Factor, and I didn’t get it. The beef was excellent but the portion was small and the accompaniments didn’t give me a taste bud rush. The two dishes that did were roasted scallop with yuzu truffle
egg sauce (£12) and tea smoked lamb, smoky nasu and spicy Korean miso (£15.50). These were absolute knockouts. Two scallops with a sensational Japanese hollandaise were two bites of heaven and the lamb was spicy, gooey, salty, smoky… level after level of taste sensation. Mochi ice cream (£7) was a bit of a miss. Small scoops of coconut, ponzu and mango ice wrapped in gelatine was beautifully presented and tasty, but rubbery. Ice cream should melt in the mouth. This turned to gum. Pistachio cake with chocolate mousse and red currant sorbet (£7.50) was worlds better. The flavors worked well together. A bit of crunch on the cake would have added some needed contrast but otherwise a lovely dessert and the plating was fabulous. The servers are all very bubbly and engaged in what they are doing. Filled no doubt, with the energy of the place itself. Two excellent carafes of Rocky Mountain Sake, a bottle of water and two teas kept us hydrated. All in all, £185.50 for junk food. A rare breed indeed. Oink!