Kurobuta Harvey Nichols Knightsbridge
Chef Scott Hallsworth’s Kurobuta brands itself as a ‘Rock’n Roll Izakaya’ and with its low neon lighting, flight cases strewn artfully around the space, AC/DC on the turntable and Japanese tapas style plates it lives up to its billing.Sitting on the 6th floor of Harvey Nichols alongside other popular restaurant brands such as Polpo, Burger & Lobster and Yo Sushi it’s the mean big brother in a leather jacket to the other cleaner cut occupants.Style is always important but I’ve been invited to review the food. Before Fiona and I start fighting over our sharing plates we hit a couple of cocktails. A Sake Caipirinha (£10) is a Nikkei take on the Brazilian classic. Smashed limes and fresh lychees blended with signature brew, plum sake and Kwai feh Lychee liqueur give it a beautiful balance. The Porn Star Martini (£10) was obviously Fiona’s choice-a citrusy blend of vanilla vodka, passion fruit and lime with a shot of Prosecco on the side.Sweet potato and Soba-Ko (buckwheat) fries were crisp and moreish with a lightly spiced batter and a couple of piquant sauces.Even more delicious were flamed edamame beans with sake, lemon, butter and Maldon salt. The beans were charred with a real sweetness and were the best I’ve had. (£4.50)A deep-fried and crunchy kale salad sprinkled with crumbled nuts had great texture and came with a savoury and citrus sesame ponzu dressing (£8.50).With our mains we were drinking a carafe of light and elegant Konishi Gold sake (£17.50) with its citrus, cucumber and pear flavours.Spicy BBQ Octopus was smothered with a hot chilli Aji Panca sauce (£9.50). The octopus was really tender and was give a real kick up the backside by the chilli.Wagyu sliders turned up in a sweet doughy oriental-style bun with a crunchy onion, Umami Mayo and Yaki Niku barbecue style sauce (£17).I loved the sticky miso grilled aubergine with candied walnuts (£9.50). Big juicy chunks of aubergine were slathered in the sweet sauce and topped with the crunch of the nuts.Kombu roasted Chilean seabass with spicy shiso ponzu (£18) had lots of flavour, a crisp skin and a beautifully flaky texture.A dish of honey and pistachio ice cream (£9) was served with a honeycomb crunch, pistachio cake and Japanese Suntory whisky jelly.A selection of mango, yuzu and coconut ice-cream (£7) had an unusual outer skin covering the delicate tropical flavours.The food at Kurobuta is vibrant and exciting. I didn’t have one dish that was weak and the robust flavours sing out over interesting textures.The space at Harvey Nichols is dark and moody, great for a date, taking your teenagers or larger parties of friends or work colleagues.
Chef Scott Hallsworth has worked with Nikka Brand Ambassador Stef Holt to expertly pair a selection of Japanese dishes to a range of Nikka whiskies, including the brand’s newest single malts: Yoichi and Miyagikyo. The seven-course menu features whisky cocktails as well as the option to try neat whisky serves, and dishes to complement the flavours in each whisky, such as scallop sashimi, malted nasu amd Koji cream; hot smoked salmon, onion miso sauce and nashi salads; grilled unagi and foie gras with puffed soba and green apple balsamic; and confit duck with gen Mai cha broth. The menu will launch at Kurobuta Harvey Nichols on Monday 13 June and will be available for customers enjoy for two weeks, just in time for Father’s Day weekend. The menu costs £55 for seven courses and the whisky matches.