This pop-up restaurant on the Kings Road serves modern and tweaked Japanese food in a small sharing plate format. Decor is left over from a previous restaurant at the site so it looks distinctly un Japanese restaurant but the menu certainly clears it up. Under the odd choice of slightly too energetic rock music in the background, three dishes are ordered. Free Range Chicken Kushi-Yaki with Japanese BBQ Sauce is essentially a chicken yakitori but it is moist, soft, beautifully cooked and full of flavour complimented by the well-judged savouriness and sweetness of the sauce. Yellowtail Sashimi with Kizami Wasabi Salsa and Yuzu-Soy is a good portion of thickly sliced delicate and oily yellowtail sashimi with a subtle yuzu and soy based sauce. The Takikomi Gohan; Rice Hot Pot with Mushrooms and Wasabi Tobiko is a warming and moist rice dish in an umami laden Japanese style broth reduced in the style of a risotto. It has a mixture of mushroom and edamame beans topped with a wasabi tobiko which gives a contrasting popping texture and little burst of wasabi fragrance without the heat.
The food is very good and there is much to praise. But there are a couple of problems. The service staff is friendly but sadly not the most competent. Firstly, my menu struggled to arrive for a long time and order was taken from another table before mine even though they arrived after me. My simple order of tap water didn’t arrive at all, until the waitress came back much later to ask what it was I ordered as she eventually remembered I ordered something. Another mistake was my yellowtail sashimi went to the wrong table and the mistake was only revealed to me when I asked them whether there is any culinary reason for it to be held back when the dish finally arrived, only then, an apology was given. Another minor complaint was the smell of chargrilling is strong throughout the restaurant and prospective diners may want to consider their choice of clothing.
Kurobuta will be at its location until end of December. The criticisms here can be attributed to the short term nature of the enterprise regarding the competency of staff and the air extraction issues they have. But based on the food on offer, they will no doubt be able to establish as a popular and great eatery once they settle down in a more permanent basis. One to watch.