Japanese

Japanese-Restaurants

There is something about Japanese food that makes it ideal for a girly catch-up. Whether it’s for lunch or supper, it feels quite symbolic to share plates whilst sharing news, secrets and the latest in box sets/TV downloads of which I have so much to catch up on.

Last week I was invited to lunch at Sake No Hana where time stood still for a couple of hours and along with two other fabulous women, Alix and Joudie, I had the most delicious and fun time.

Sake No Hana

Saka No Hana is part of the Hakkasan restaurant group, so you can imagine the quality of the ingredients and the style in which they are prepared are very carefully considered.

And don’t you find that when the food is that good and the conversation is flowing, you can just keep on talking and eating as the plates keep on arriving? You’re not limited to three courses to punctuate the conversation. The afternoon or evening can just roll on.Sake No Hana

By the time our final platters had arrived, we were all satisfied yet ready for more. And because I enjoyed everything so much, it’s difficult to highlight my favourite dishes of the afternoon. If I were to think about it carefully, I would say the beautifully fresh sashimi, the sesame spinach with cassava chips and the sushi with the pear centre have stuck with me. But then again, if I think again so have the lobster tempura and sesame fried aubergine with fig.
Sake No HanaI’m planning on returning to Sake No Hana quite soon for Sakura at Sake No Hana, which I can’t wait for. From April 20th until 20th June, Sake No Hana will be alive with cherry blossoms. I wrote a post about it last year, which you can read here. Doesn’t it all look so beautiful? Their special menu is fantastic too.

Sake no Hana, 23 St. James’s Street, London, SW1A 1HA

Chelsea Girl

If you’ve read my original Kurobuta post, you probably know how much of a fan I was of their King’s Road pop-up. Flashforward to less than a year later and Kurobuta has found a permanent home on the King’s Road.

Kurobuta, King's Road, Chelsea

I was always planning to visit the new restaurant but I guess I was also bracing myself for a change in style. After all, the location was once the slick Sushinho and so I think I ended up holding off for a short while. But word of mouth soon caught up with me and I realised that I was a fool not to check it out at least.
Kurobuta, King's Road, Chelsea

Stepping inside, I discovered a place transformed. Kurobuta hasn’t lost its edge, which I was so excited about. Kurobuta, King's Road, Chelsea

A glimpse of the artwork …
Kurobuta, King's Road, Chelsea

As for the food, it is still great. If you haven’t already tried the Jerusalem Artichoke Chopsticks with Truffle Ponzu Dip then I urge you to. Kurobuta, King's Road, Chelsea

The cocktails are also very good. Sadly Kurobuta’s website doesn’t have its drinks menu on it (or perhaps I can’t find it), so I can’t tell you what this is. But the likelihood is you’ll like anything you order. It’s a good-looking menu.Kurobuta, King's Road, Chelsea

This is OH’s beer with the frozen top which he always loves. Kurobuta, King's Road, Chelsea

The other dishes we had this time round included the Tea Smoked Lamb with Smokey Nasu and Spicy Korean Miso,
Kurobuta, King's Road, Chelsea

Kombu Roasted Chilean Seabass with Spicy Shiso Ponzu, Kurobuta, King's Road, Chelsea

BBQ Kurobuta Pork Ribs with Honey-Soy-Ginger-Glaze, Kurobuta, King's Road, Chelsea

And of course the obligatory BBQ Pork Belly in Steamed Buns with Spicy Peanut Soy which I don’t think I could ever get tired of.Kurobuta, King's Road, Chelsea

The mochi ice cream is always a lovely way to end the meal here; refreshing, flavoursome and I just love the texture.

Kurobuta, King's Road, ChelseaI’m starting to feel like this is an exciting time for the King’s Road with regards to restaurants and bars, and Kurobuta is definitely one of the reasons there is a renewed sense of optimism in the air. I love it.

KB Chelsea, 312 King’s Road, Chelsea, London, SW3 5UH.

Chelsea Girl

 

Last week I had a table at Dinner booked for my birthday lunch. I knew I was late to the party but at least I was going to make it there finally, right? Unfortunately, when we arrived at Mandarin Oriental the hotel had had a power cut and in the dimness of the main entrance we were told that we would have to reschedule. Alas.

So, where to go? When in Knightsbridge? What did I feel like having? Zuma then popped into my head. After all, sushi and cocktails are two of my favourite things and as we walked over, I felt somewhat relieved that I wouldn’t have to consider frog’s legs porridge or calf tail for my birthday starter.

Luckily we arrived at Zuma in the nick of time – just as last orders for lunch were being taken. So as soon as we sat down, we ordered everything quickly.

Zuma

The dishes included an array of sashimi which were wonderfully fresh, meaty and tasty. Sublime. 
Zuma

Yellow fin tuna …

Zuma

These gorgeous scallops …Zuma

Tempura …

Zuma

California maki …Zuma

And these amazing ribs …

Zuma

For drinks, I had a glass of Champagne and this gorgeous plum sake cocktail. Zuma

I hadn’t ordered dessert because I was already feeling very satisfied but the lovely staff at Zuma surprised me with this refreshing treat as they sang Happy Birthday to me. So lovely. And the sorbet was SO delicious.

ZumaBefore I round off my post, I have to apologise for the sparse description of the dishes. I can’t remember exactly what was in each dish and looking at the menu on the website, they might have changed it in the last week? I’m not entirely sure.

But I do know that I had a wonderfully delicious lunch; my tastebuds very much enjoyed their treat. The staff were also very lovely as they added warmth and humour to the restaurant’s beautifully stylish interior.

Zuma

All in all, a perfect birthday lunch.

Zuma, 5 Raphael Street, Knightsbridge, London SW7 1DL.

 

You know when you’re en route to somewhere, needing to grab lunch in a hurry? But you don’t know where to go, only that you want it to be good and of course, quick? Well, that’s how I finally got to try Tonkotsu – whilst darting through the streets of Soho one afternoon, not so long ago.

Crossing Dean Street from Old Compton Street, I spotted it … this place … where after various options, I finally decided to stop.

Tonkotsu

I loved the interior upon stepping inside, although sitting outside is also another attractive option if you enjoy people watching. Tonkotsu

I also loved the fresh garlic on the table, which I didn’t try but admired nonetheless.

Tonkotsu

For starter and sides, the OH and I ordered King Prawn Katsu …
Tonkotsu

… Red Mullet Tempura and some Pork Gyoza …

Tonkotsu

… whilst I sipped the delectable Ginger Plum cocktail …

Tonkotsu… and the OH had an Asahi beer.

TonkotsuFor main, I had the Tonkotsu Ramen, which included pork belly with thin noodles and half a seasoned soft-boiled egg, menma, bean sprouts and spring onions.

Tonkotsu

I enjoyed my ramen and had as much of the thick broth as I could. This dish was very filling but not in an overstuffed way – and with it, I sipped another cocktail. This time I had a plum with sake and Cava concoction which I also recommend. The OH was still on the same beer which is testament to how good the cocktails are here.

Tonkotsu

The OH had the Toykyo Ramen, which involved the same ingredients as the Tonkotsu Ramen but with a soy sauce base and pork and chicken stock as well as thick noodles instead of rich, sea salt-based stock which my ramen came with.

TonkotsuOur lunch completely hit the spot and the cocktails were a great match. And although we were in the hurry, we actually didn’t feel rushed because the restaurant has a wonderful laid back feel. It was a quiet afternoon. But the best part was grabbing something to eat that felt a lot healthier than a burger. Now I feel like I’m going to try the other noodle bars which received a lot of hype last year. Late to the party because last year I was preoccupied with becoming a new mummy. Still, I look forward to a delicious catch-up.

Tonkotsu Bar and Ramen. 63 Dean Street, London, W1D 4QG.

A couple of weeks ago, I finally managed to pop into Kurobuta on the King’s Road …

Kurobuta London

The Marble Arch Kurobuta had just opened and I thought I’d better hurry to Chelsea’s pop-up before it disappeared. Except that it is no longer a pop-up but a newly permanent fixture in Chelsea, which is great news.

And by the sounds of it, there are exciting plans on refurbishing the space because as you can see (below) the exterior still looks like it belongs to another restaurant.

Kurobuta London

Though when you walk past and look in the window, there is a little Kurobuta clue …

Kurobuta London

Stepping inside, there is obviously still that pop-up feel which I loved.

Kurobuta London

There was plenty of character …

Kurobuta London

And personality …

Kurobuta London

And as for the food, the lunch we had was fantastic.

We started off with the flamed endamame beans with sake, which were lemon zesty and salty at the same time. Very delicious and something very different.Kurobuta London

We also had soft shell crab tempura maki …

Kurobuta London

Jerusalem artichoke chopsticks with truffle ponzu dip. I’d never tasted artichokes like this. A delectable surprise and I’m not going to ruin the fun for you. You have to try them.

Kurobuta London

The beef tataki with onion ponzu was pure succulence …

Kurobuta London

And the grilled aubergine with sesame seeds was a true feast for aubergine fans, which I most certainly am.

Kurobuta London

As for the Yellowtail Sashimi with Kizami Wasabi Salsa and Yuzu-Soy, very fresh and as you can see meaty.

Kurobuta London

And finally, these gorgeous BBQ pork belly in steamed buns with spicy peanut soy, which is one of many reasons why you need to try this place. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted pork like this before: light, flavoursome, succulent – just a pure joy to taste.Kurobuta London

The desserts were a good balance. The passion fruit mochi ice cream, was refreshing. (I love mochi ice cream, which is the main reason I’m always in the Japan Centre) …

Kurobuta London

… whilst the Japanese carrot cake was very delicious in a not too sweet way.

Kurobuta London

Whilst enjoying all these fantastic dishes, I sipped on a couple of cocktails …

Kurobuta London Kurobuta London… whilst the OH enjoyed probably the most refreshing beer you can get because it had a frozen head.

Kurobuta LondonSo what did I think? And did lunch live up to the buzz? Yes, most definitely. There is imagination on the menu and we both enjoyed each of the dishes. The cocktails had depth of flavour whilst the OH’s beer had an element of fun as well as a ‘why hasn’t this been done before?’ factor.

It’s not a surprise because of the talent behind Kurobuta: Scott Hallsworth, ex-head chef of Nobu. But what is fantastic is that this restaurant is planning on hanging around SW3. 

Kurobuta, 251 King’s Road, SW3 5EL

 

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