I first encountered Kurobuta about 18 months ago as a tiny pop-up in Cheslea. Since then, their success has led them to open their 'flagship' restaurant in Marble Arch. I've dined here on several occasions so I thought it was appropriate that I provide a review one of these days.
The first thing that one notices about Kurobuta is it's quirky location. It's situated in an extremely residential area within Marble Arch. One literally walks by rows of town houses and apartments to finally arrive at the only place doing business on that road. The second thing one notices is the restaurant's interior - dangling light bulbs, abundant wooden furniture, dull lighting and loud music. I've seen this whole hipster-chic theme done hundreds of times (after all, it is a trend) but for some weird reason, it really worked for Kurobuta.
The third thing one notices is the frustrating menu. The menu is reasonably concise, which I liked. There are good-sounding things on the menu, which I also liked. Every single dish on the menu sounded too good, which I didn't like very much! I personally don't like being overwhelmed with choice, although others may differ. I prefer being able to easily select what I'm going to order without that horrible sense of regret when the food finally arrives. Luckily for Kurobuta, the dishes on the menu do not only sound good but actually taste good, which is what really matters.
Maple Leaf and I ordered the Salmon Gravadlax to start (£10.50). This was impressive - perfectly chilled temperature, light, fresh and well-balanced in terms of textures and flavours.
The next dish was Soft Shell Crab Tempura Maki (£11). I didn't feel like I was getting value for my money here. It was a decent maki but the portion was too small and no flavours particularly stood out to me.
We saved the best for last, the BBQ Pork Belly in Steamed Buns (£13). This was probably the best version of the dish that I've tasted till date. The pork belly was left on the grill a little longer allowing for a beautiful charred layer to develop, along with some nicely reduced fat on the sides. The crunchy and flavour-concentrated exterior of the pork belly was heaven in the mouth when combined with the smooth and subtle-sweet goodness of the steamed bun. The richness of the glorious combination was all cooled down by the burst of freshness from the cucumber and onions sandwiched between the meat and the bun.You guessed it - foodgasm.
In summary, Kurobuta offers everything I need for a quick fix - bold flavours, a relaxed ambience, and a secluded location. Arguably, the only problem is the value for money; I think that the prices are way too high for what they charge. At the end of the day, it all comes down to how much you value your eating experience. That being said, I would wholeheartedly recommend Kurobuta to anyone reading this post; they've definitely stepped up their game from the last time I visited!
17-20 Kendal Street