Kurobuta: Redefining Japanese Dining in London
Written by Salvatore DiBenedetto [The Grubfather]
When I walked into Kurobuta, exhaustion still lingered in my bones. Yet, within my first few steps in I felt revitalization swimming through my veins. The energy of its retro vibes was unlike any I’ve ever experience in a restaurant. At that moment I imagined my ideal eatery and when I opened my eyes, I found myself there. From finely tailored Japanese cuisine to an ambiance that catered directly to my soul, I will dream of the day I make my return through its doors.
To understand Kurobuta is to understand the mind of Scott Hallsworth. The former Executive Chef of the iconic Nobu London has molded an experience straight from his gut. Kurobuta in some ways feels like a rebellion against the status quo; rich in non-conformist vibes yet intriguingly able to still grasp the essence of Japanese culture. The pressure between the two contrasts explodes into a culinary diamond that will be sure to garner a memorable name for itself in London’s food world. Hallsworth’s native Australian charisma and Down Under good-spirit seeps into the core of Kurobuta, adding a signature touch to its unique dining perspective.
Seizing upon the concept of Izakayas (Japanese gastro-pub) style dining, Kurobuta’s menu rolls out a variety of dynamic Japanese tapas paired alongside a vibrant drink selection. My eyes devoured the menu before my mouth could get a taste and before I knew it, plates of exotic dishes began to streamline before me.
Here’s what my Kurobuta feast consisted of:
Sake Flamed Edamame: Lemon, butter and Maldon salt.
Beef Fillet Tataki: Onion ponzu and garlic crisps.
BBQ Pork Belly x Bao Buns: Spicy Peanut Soy Sauce.
Tuna Sashimi Pizza: Truffle Ponzu & Wasabi Tobiko.
Wagyu Beef Sliders: Steamed buns, crunchy onions, pickled cucumbers & Umami mayo.
Nasu Dengaku: Sticky miso grilled Aubergine with candied walnuts.
Sashimi Platter: Salmon, Tuna, Yellowtail, Salmon-Avocado Roll.
NOTABLE GRUB: You will be committing a sin against your existence if you do not sink your teeth into the Nasu Dengaku, which was eggplant based and brightened beautifully with sweet elements. The Tuna Sashimi Pizza sets itself aside from the norm with its flash of truffle flavor. Additionally, the wagyu beef sliders may be the most tender burgers I’ve had the pleasure of crushing.
Standing at the forefront of each dish was freshness, technique and bolstering flavor. Hallsworth and his team have succeeded in bringing vivid life to the coveted culinary goal: Japanese cuisine painted with Western hues. The result will send you into a craze and have you trying your hardest to take down as many plates as you possibly can… And then some.
We wound up haunting Kurobuta for over three hours. The drinks flowed and the vibes were just right. I was impressed to learn of Kurobuta’s private party program which allows a group of people to grab one of their premium tables and have a private keg tapped right into it. London bros, you better seize on that and not let me down.
I ended the experience chopping it up with Hallsworth, whose a genuinely great guy. We crushed some wet pussy shots and I was off into the London night; ready for whatever was to come my way.