The reason why I love London is because there is something for everyone. Trendy? Cool? Artsy? Foodie? What if I told you that you could have it all in one go?
I was invited to visit Kurobuta’s Marble Arch branch. Having been to their Chelsea branch not so long ago, I was already excited about trying out some of my favourite dishes that I had tried a number of times before.
In a road tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Edgware Road, I didn’t even know there was a cool, funky restaurant hidden away. Usually I only get as far as Edgware Road – you know its time to turn back when you start being serenaded with romantic Bollywood songs by random guys in the street!
Kurobuta Marble Arch, much like it’s sister restaurant in Chelsea, is perfect for a summers’ afternoon with an outside seating area, although if you do sit outside, you’re going to be missing the cool vibe inside. The inside is dimly lit with bulbs you might only find on Christmas trees, but it worked!
By the time my friend got there (an hour and a half late!!!) I’m pretty sure the staff thought I was being stood up! But they were nice enough to keep offering me starters, which I graciously had to accept.
First came the mocktails…
I started with Crunchy Rice Senbei Crisps with Avocado-Jalapeno Dip.
So these were basically crackers and tasted like most crackers do, although they were super crisp and beautifully presented. But the avocado-jalapeño dip! When I say it was amazing, I mean amazing! Like I’m not much of a cook but even I’m tempted to go out and get an avocado and attempt this beautiful dip! It just felt so light, refreshing yet with that jalapeño kick that was just mmmm!!! I might have been hungry after an hour or waiting or it might have been the best thing I’d had for a while, I will never know!
I ordered the Fresh Salmon with Bernaise Salsa sushi to keep me going as well. It wasn’t very pleasant to look at but not the best sushi I’ve had, not the worst either though!
My friend finally made an appearance and we ordered straight away. More than anything else I was just glad that the waitress knew I wasn’t getting stood up!
I had had cravings ever since I visited Kurobuta in Chelsea and was a bit too excited to order the Tuna Sashimi Pizza with Truffle Ponzo and Wasabi Tobiko.
This dish!! I can’t put down into words how great this dish was. Its one of my favourites and just so different to anything I’ve tasted anywhere else. On a bed of crispy pastry, lies the tuna sashimi. The base so crispy and the tuna so meaty and chunky, yet full of flavour, this is the dish to order when you visit Kurobuta, but you might not want to share – you were warned!
I, unfortunately, did not give them 48 hour notice to order in halal meat, as they usually recommend, I was not able to try as many halal dishes as are available, so make sure you give them advance notice when you go.
The first of the halal dishes that were offered to us was the Miso Grilled Baby Chicken with Spicy Lemon Garlic Sauce.
Although not a typical dish that you would find in a Japanese restauarant, this chicken was beautifully cooked. The chicken was so tender and full of flavour, the spicy lemon sauce seaped through the chicken making it a very tasty dish. I loved that the taste of lemon did not overpower the taste of the chicken itself. Brilliant dish overall.
Out came the next halal dish, Tea Smoked Lamb with Smokey Nasu and Spicy Korean Miso.
Yes you heard me right! If you’re a chai (tea) fan like I am, this is a must! Matcha tea infused lamb chops? What a great time to be alive!! This was one of my favourite dishes, the lamb was so succulent, and just melted away. The tea was not overpowering but you could definitely taste it and I loved it! If I had to fault I would say it was a bit too greasy for my liking, but overall another great dish!
Next, more halal foods (yay!) came out with the Free Range Chicken Kushi-Yaki with Japanese BBQ.
This was probably my least favourite. Not because it didnt taste well, it did and the chicken was so succulent in taste. More so, because it tasted like a glorified kebab, of which I am not a fan in the slightest. Although having said that I couldn’t have faulted that it was tender, succulent and the BBQ sauce gave it that extra kick which I loved!
Overall, I loved the food, it was wholesome, tasty and above all else affordable. The service was great, the waiters were patient, helpful and so friedly to chat to. Besides the waiters, the management were throughout so helpful and welcoming.
Though I felt Kurobuta leaving me a little confused on 2 points – 1) Kurobuta clearly spent so much effort on their food and presentation, but was a bit surprised that their menus were laminated like in diners, and when I asked for soya sauce, I was presented with a standard bottle of soya sauce you’d find at YoSushi (although nothing wrong with that, it was just a little surprising that they had chosen to do so when the presentation was so great throughout. It felt a little out of place and out of character)
2) I felt the mix of chicken and lamb, although brilliant dishes, were not typical to Japanese cuisine in the way they were cooked and presented. Having said that, Kurobuta actually made me re-think the traditional notion I had of Japanese food. I can’t complain, halal dishes and those too to this standard are always a breath of fresh air for a haloodie like me!
Kurobuta’s spin on japanese food, and he fun environment in which they present their food is like no other restaurant I have been to in London. Whether it’s the swanky Kings Road branch in Chelsea or the cool Marble Arch the vibe is young, trendy and chilled out. So whether it’s a special ocassion or just a quick bite with a friend, this is the place for you!
Food – 7 out of 10
Service – 7 out of 10
Price -7 out of 10
Atmosphere – 8 out of 10
Experience – 8 out of 10
Overall, giving Kurobuta a total TLH score of 7 out of 10.
Address: 17-20 Kendal St, London, W2 2AW
Halal Status:Halal meat must be requested 48 hours before your reservation. Halal dishes are BBQ Chicken Kushi-Yaki Skewers, Tea-Smoked Lamb, Miso Grilled Baby Chicken, Beef Tataki, and Beef Sliders. Alcohol is served and some dishes contain alcohol, please speak to your waiter.
Closest Station: Marble Arch (Central Line)
Disclaimer: this meal was complimentary but all thoughts are my own.