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At Kurobuta, you’re more likely to be greeted by the shredding guitars of Iron Maiden than the traditional Japanese welcome – ‘irrashaimase’. Like a boisterous teenager, this contemporary Japanese restaurant is loud, showy and just a little misguided on occasion. But it’s also likeable with a pleasant lack of airs and graces, a trendy interior and suitably playful dishes.
As is the case with many of London’s Japanese-cuisine chefs, Kurobuta’s Scott Hallsworth worked for a stint at Nobu, and East-West fusion influences pepper his small-plates menu. A globetrotting salad of quinoa, buckwheat and broccoli finished with a honey and soy dressing was light and refreshing, while a dish of sweet snow crab nigiri, topped with fragrant yuzu citrus mayo and wasabi-flavoured flying fish roe was eloquent. But the Nobu-esque tea-smoked lamb chops were almost as imbalanced as a teen’s hormones, with spicy miso sauce trampling across the perfectly cooked meat with the subtlety of a pair of scuffed Doc Martens.
From the on-trend ‘junk food’ options, such as wagyu beef sliders and spicy chicken wings, the steamed buns with barbecued pork belly and spicy, soy-based peanut sauce were just a little bland.
Kurobuta attracts plenty of clientele who are on post-work jollies, making it a lively spot – and one that’s perfect for getting back in touch with your inner teen.