Kurobuta

Restaurants, Japanese Paddington
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 3 out of 5 stars
(14user reviews)
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Kurobuta
1/7
Kurobuta (Paul Clarke +44(0)7515 655932 paul@paulclarke.com)
2/7
Paul Clarke +44(0)7515 655932 paul@paulclarke.com
Kurobuta (Paul Clarke +44(0)7515 655932 paul@paulclarke.com)
3/7
Paul Clarke +44(0)7515 655932 paul@paulclarke.com
Kurobuta (Paul Clarke +44(0)7515 655932 paul@paulclarke.com)
4/7
Paul Clarke +44(0)7515 655932 paul@paulclarke.com
Kurobuta (Paul Clarke +44(0)7515 655932 paul@paulclarke.com)
5/7
Paul Clarke +44(0)7515 655932 paul@paulclarke.com
Kurobuta (Paul Clarke +44(0)7515 655932 paul@paulclarke.com)
6/7
Paul Clarke +44(0)7515 655932 paul@paulclarke.com
Kurobuta (Paul Clarke +44(0)7515 655932 paul@paulclarke.com)
7/7
Paul Clarke +44(0)7515 655932 paul@paulclarke.com

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.

By: Celia Plender

Posted:

Venue name: Kurobuta
Contact:
Address: 17-20 Kendal Street
London
W2 2AW
Opening hours: 9.30am-10.30pm Mon-Sun
Transport: Tube: Marble Arch
Price: Meal for two with drinks and service: around £110.
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Average User Rating

3.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:6
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:3
  • 1 star:1
LiveReviews|14
1 person listening
Renee S
1 of 1 found helpful
tastemaker

My friends and I came here with the TimeOut bottomless brunch deal. Unfortunately they had some electrical issues and therefore the food was rather slow in coming out. The space was not well adapted for a buffet setting and made it all rather chaotic. This problem was compounded as waiters tried to keep people topped up, the busy brunch crowd and the live music. 


The food here was a little disappointing. The rice in the maki rolls were undercooked and thus crunchy and there wasn’t a lot of variety on offer (which may had to do with the electrical problem). Unfortunately the beef on the hotplate was also a little dry as was the karaage chicken, and both a bit cold. They did offer noodles with different types of broth and an array of vegetarian toppings; however again, it lacked any real flavour or texture. Three dishes were table serviced and curiously, were also lacking in any real effort. First was a plate with four slices of salmon and some chilli cucumber maki rolls; the second was sweet potato tempura which was great, and lightly battered but strangely, they only had sweet potato; and the last was a fruit, mochi and chocolate platter. If the purpose of this deal is to showcase the menu and encourage people to come back, I can’t honestly say that it did that. We did, however drink our money’s worth in prosecco I’m sure, but then again, there are plenty of other bottomless brunches to do that that has better food. I think table service would have been easier given the space and perhaps a set course where more attention can be made on each platter or dish and its execution. The service, however, I couldn’t fault - they were responsive, friendly and accommodating and definitely kept our glasses topped up.


Good For: large groups, casual lunch/dinner

SamD

I went along to one of their bottomless brunches with the Timeout offer. My 4 friends and I had a great time. The food was a higher quality than i expected for a buffet brunch and the service we were provided was fantastic. I have multiple food allergies, and they were great at accommodating. 

Josh I believe was our waiter. He was lovely and was great seeing to our table checking that we had everything we needed throughout. There was a live singer at one point, it started getting louder as we got into the afternoon and more packed. Really enjoyed it and will be back. Will stick to an early lunch though for the slightly quieter time. 

Photosbysooz
Tastemaker

Well, it's official, I'm too old for this kind of experience - at least I think that's what the issue was as so many others seem to love this place! My friends and I, all just on the wrong side of the 'millennial' bracket, mused this amongst ourselves as we shouted to each other across the table  - competing with the music. Surely loud music is for dancing to?

Aside from the noise, the service was so laid back as to be blase, and surely this can't be the kind of impression a top-rated chef wants his restaurant to have? I've been to Australia and they are relaxed and informal; laid back, chilled out and stress free, sure, but they were attentive and on the ball. Here, they were't rude in any way, but it just seemed a case that as our stress levels went up, with the noise, the queuing for food and chasing of drinks, their pace slowed even more. We kind of wanted to shake them a little and ask them to ramp up their energy levels - just a little please.


So, as for the case of the food. It's weird, we didn't get it, it's a buffet, a lot of it is cold - sashimi, sushi, pickles and so on - yet it seemed always to be half empty and took an age to replenish. Is this a plot to stop people scoffing too much, or simply down to that chilled out attitude again? We couldn't work it out. What is did mean was, endless queuing and hopping up when a new dish arrived, a search for items you wanted to sample and a feeling of always, possibly, missing out.


Sadly, with the exception of the sashimi, which had a delicious marinade, the food on the counter was nothing special either. Although the starter cocktail and chocolate, mochi and fruit platter were exceptional. And we can't fault the generosity with which they offered us prosecco.


But I can't really recommend this place. I wanted to - all of us did - we had heard great things, but it didn't hit the mark for us. I saw others having a great time with big groups and see below a lot of people loved it, but we felt we could get a better Japanese or Asian fusion meal at other places we regularly go to, at less than £30 a head - maybe just with less booze. But I'm a foodie so I'd rather have good food, less of it and just one or two drinks, than get drunk and fill up with food for the sake of it. Each to their own I guess. Perhaps the a la carte is really great, but now I'll never know.....

Aude
tastemaker

I went to Kurobuta for the unlimited brunch this weekend.


I love the concept and the food is really nice.

I enjoyed the two plates they bring us to start with, and the fish is fresh, no doubt on that. But for the price, it misses variety.

Wine and beers are unlimited but we barely finished our white wine glass with my friend as it was bad. I asked for none alcoholic drink, but it was not included in the brunch menu so I had to pay for it.


The dessert was a big deception; the platter is extremely nicely presented, with fruits, iced coconut mochi, chocolate cakes and 2 chocolates. The chocolates were stuffed with a kind of caramel-dulce de leche we both disliked – when I usually really enjoy dulce de leche; unfortunately the same caramel was covering the chocolate cakes and the taste was really strong. I enjoyed a lot the mochi though but overall, the dessert wasn’t good as expected.



Unless you drink loads of beers with your maki, I don’t think it worth the price. I still put 3 stars as the maki were really good and I enjoyed the salmon sashimi “pizza”.

Babs - Working Girl London
Tastemaker

I snapped up a Time Out voucher for the boozy brunch here which was a great bargain - only £29! The venue itself is slightly off the beaten track down a quiet road but as soon as you get inside, it's buzzing! There was an excellent live musician singing soulful tunes and there were quite a few tables who has clearly already had a few glasses of bubbly! The waiters were all very friendly and the general atmosphere was pretty chilled. The brunch is a serve yourself buffet type of meal, with all the options laid out on a bench just in front of the kitchen so that they can continually replenish. The food was very tasty but I didn't think there was a huge amount of choice. There was only one meat dish (which was amazing, the wagyu beef mmmmm) and one chicken dish - everything else was seafood or veggie. The salmon sashimi pizza was pretty damn good but I just felt the choice was lacking slightly. So much so that we ordered some ribs from the main menu to supplement our brunch. I have been to a lot of bottomless brunches and the best ones are those where they give you your own bottle rather than coming round to fill your glass up with communal bottles. This was the former. We had our own bottle of bubbles, and then another one, and then another one! There was also a very tasty sake cocktail at the start of the meal included in the brunch package. Overall, I enjoyed the brunch at Kurobuta but there are others which are better for food. This venue is great for a more chilled brunch and perfect for big groups!

Deon Pillay (theindependentfoodie)
tastemaker

Chanting young girls. Vibrant loud and energetic, you will be forgiven for thinking you are at a Justin Bieber concert. This is just your average night at Kurobuta Marble Arch. This booze fuelled bottomless brunch is definitely not one to be missed. The staff are friendly and accommodating, the ambience a bit chaotic and loud. Our warm starter of sweet potato in tempura was slightly underwhelming, oil soaked and limp. The steak, Singapore chicken were equally delightful, the Sea bass Sashimi with Yuzu oil moorish, but the star of the evening decadent Salmon Sashimi pizza with truffle ponzu and wasabi tobiko. Dessert a mixed offering of chocolate fudge cake, a strange rubbery coconut concoction and some slices of fresh fruit. Entertaining live music coupled with the very entertaining and engaging Jack and Manager Max made for a delightful evening. We leave on a high, slightly worse for wear but with fond memories of overindulgence . Grab your mates and check out this awesome restaurant by Scott Hallsworth Ex Nobu Head Chef

Marisa B

Absolutely gorgeous asian cuisine, cool and funky setting reflects and cool, funky and adventurous menu.

Rosa P

 So me and few of my friends went to Kurobuta on Saturday for the bottomless brunch for my friends birthday. The atmosphere was really good they had a live singer who was really good! They have 3 menu options, we went for the top menu which was £55 unlimited food (buffet style), unlimited prosecco  and signature dish (pork buns, ribs and lamb Korean style). The food was really nice and the staff were generous with the prosecco! We had a round of Sake bombs which so good, loads of fun and very strong! It was great start to an eventful night! Great for a meal for 2 or a large group! 

Izzy K
Tastemaker

Walking through Little Arabia to Korobuta Marble Arch and being aware of the other two locations of the chain, I was expecting a super posh restaurant, but it’s actually quite casual and laid back. The staff (all Australian) was super friendly and helpful, explaining some unfamiliar Japanese ingredients and making recommendations. 


The food is modern and all places are designed for sharing. They suggest three places per person, but we went for 4 each and sadly had no space for dessert, so you’d better listen to your waiter.


We started off with the cocktail highlights of the month, me with a Japanese twist on mojito with kaffir leaves and lemongrass, which was delicious. 


The dishes were coming randomly from the open kitchen. The  starts of the evening were the Pumpkin Tempura with Pickled Pumpkin along with the Sticky Miso Grilled Aubergine with Candied Walnuts, which was super tender and juicy, simply melting in my mouth. The seabass was beautifully cooked, and was delicately flavoured.

I also loved the Artichoke Chopsticks with which looked like wafer tubes. The Baby Shrimp Tempura with Kimchee & Kimchee Mayo were fun to look at, as it was nested on deep fried noodles, but you can leave the base as a decoration as there’s not much flavour to it. Unfortunately, I didn’t taste any kimchi, the sauce on the top tasted exactly like the Ponzu dip. 


As our bellies weren’t able to contain anything else that evening, we’re already gearing up for another visit. ‘Tight Ass Tuesdays’ with 6 dishes for a price of £28 and half price on drinks sounds like a good place to start.


Matilda Egere-Cooper

I came here for the afternoon tea and loved it! The tea included a creative variety of dishes (so no cucumber sarnies, thank God) and it was all very sophisticated. The only catch was that it didn't come with tea which was a shame, but they do a fine menu of cocktails worth perusing.

Nick M

Really enjoyed lunch at Kurobuta.  The place blew my preconceptions of Japanese out of the water, it was relaxed, informal and we got to listen to some great music including Pavement and Stephen Malkmus (and frankly how many restaurant reviews will I be able to say that?!)


Food highlights were the pumpkin tempura, the pork belly steamed buns and the sea bass.  OK the seating isn't the most comfortable ever but if I had one tip it's chill the beer a bit better, especially if you're going to serve gimmicky frozen heads.  maybe stick your glasses in the freezer.


Lilli
Tastemaker

The food at Kurobuta is decent, but I find it very loud inside the restaurant and the atmosphere isn't very comfortable or buzzy. The waiting staff wasn't great, as mentioned by Lorraine as well. Orders were forgotten and they were chatting loudly next to us while we tried to have our dinner and a catch up. They need to up their game, otherwise they won't be around for much longer I think...

Lorraine O'Reilly

I found the service slack, slow and snotty! The food was ok but not great. The music is so loud you can't have a proper conversation... on the uncomfortable seating, most disturbing was the attitude and cleanliness of all the staff both waiting and cooking. All were scruffy and decidedly grubby and far to full of their own importance for my liking.


My verdict, go somewhere where the staff and place are clean and they actually care about their customers not themselves!

dinner with jo

http://dinnerwithjo.wordpress.com/2014/09/30/kurobuta-marble-arch-london/


As is the case with many restaurants these days, the food is “fusion” and the menu is “designed for sharing.” Whilst these terms are a tad cliche, when the food is so good, who really cares.


Kurobuta is located on Kendal Street off Edgware Road, understated and on its own amidst large residential blocks. In fact I don’t think it even says Kurobuta anywhere outside (I say this with some uncertainty as I haven’t had 20:20 vision since I was five and dinner with jo was at 5pm). It is unassuming on the inside also; quite large, dimly lit, simple wooden tables and not much decoration on the walls. The atmosphere was just right, buzzy yet relaxed and not too noisy.


Our waiter was very friendly and helpful, making recommendations as to which sake cocktail to try, how much to order and where to adjust the portion to suit a party of three.

I was happy with my sake caipirinha; for the fusion enthusiasts amongst you, note the fusion here of Japanese staple and Brazilian classic.


One by one, our eclectic mix of dishes began to arrive. Edamame, so simple yet so full of potential, as evidenced here flamed with sake, butter, sea salt and lemon. Next the crunchy rice senbei crisps with avocado and jalapeño dip. This was a nice side dish (a cross between a prawn cracker and a rice cake) but not terribly exciting.

We then had Jerusalem artichoke chopsticks with truffle ponzu sauce. These were really good; imagine the casing of a spring roll but thinner and longer filled with tasty artichoke and ready to dip in the sauce. Next came a salmon gravadlax and avocado tartar, which was one of the more basic items on the menu but very good quality.

One of the highlights was the tea smoked lamb served with smokey nasu (aubergine) and spicy Korean miso. Luckily our waiter had pre-warned us this dish comes as two lamb cutlets so to order an extra half as none of us would have wanted to share these wonderful ‘no time for a knife and fork, just pick up and eat’ cutlets!


The piece de la resistance. The tuna sashimi pizza with truffle ponzu, red onions and green chillies. This was spectacular, in terms of taste, contrasting textures and originality. Don’t think Dominoes, think delicate.

Japanese mushrooms with Gorgonzola, miso and pine nuts. This was my least favourite (too cheesy) but not bad. Last but not least was a crispy skin duck confit with watermelon and spicy peanut soy. This was really excellent, I loved the flavour and the varying textures.

The beauty of Kurobuta is the dishes are small so you don’t fill up and there is still room to sample the desserts. We picked roasted pineapple with shortbread, crumble and caramel (below right) and apple pie with creme brûlée (below left). Both were really great, who knew you could combine apple pie (albeit a sort of de-constructed apple pie) with creme brûlée!

At £50 per head, including one cocktail, this is fairly pricey. It was excellent though, so if you feel like splashing out, head on down to Kurobuta.

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