For as long as I’ve been in London Nobu, Zuma and Roka have all been the epitome of Japanese fine dining, but there’s a new kid on the block and that is Kouzu. Located just near Victoria station with The Goring Hotel as its neighbour, it is a stunning looking restaurant. The magnificent cocoon-like chandelier and sweeping staircase greeting you as you walk in, there are cheers of ‘Irrashamaise” – which means welcome in Japanese – from all the staff. I had read some glowing reviews of Kouzu and couldn’t wait to try it out.
The menu is quite lengthy but our waiter, Joao could tell our indecisiveness so made some recommendations based on what we’d told him we liked and didn’t like. We kicked things off with beef fillet tataki with julienne salad (£17.50) and salmon with yuzu dressing (£11.50). I had the salmon all to myself as The Better Half isn’t the biggest sushi lover. It was delicious! The yuzu dressing was perfectly balanced to cut through the rich salmon. I mopped it up as much as I could. The beef tataki had a beautiful sweet caramelised searing to it which was broken up by the red onion salad.
Next we had two types of sushi. The spicy tuna rolls (£11.00) and the O-Toro (£8.00) which according to our waiter is the Wagyu of the sea! It’s from the fatty belly part of the tuna fish which when seared with the blow-torch gives a totally smoky, rich, flavoursome piece of fish that can easily be mistaken for the high end piece of Wagyu beef! The spicy tuna rolls were good too with a nice hint of chilli and crunch from the sesame seeds.
For our main courses I had the roasted black cod (£28.00) – which I had read is as good as that at Nobu. Marinated in miso for 3 days and served with mandarin and a fennel salad. Initially I didn’t want this dish because it came with fennel, but the restaurant happily changed this to pickled mixed vegetables for me which I really enjoyed. Roasted black cod is generally raved about and whilst it was beautifully presented, I did not enjoy this dish. It was just way too sweet for my liking. Poor Joao, he felt awful for having recommended the dish, but I think I am definitely the exception to the rule!
TBH had the roasted baby chicken with chilli sauce (£22.00). I’m going to make a pretty bold statement here….this was the best chicken dish I’ve ever had in a restaurant to date and I won’t be surprised if this becomes Kouzu’s signature dish. From the moment it is brought to the table, the smell that you’re hit with is just incredible. Smoky, sweet, spicy. Utterly divine! We both thought before the dish arrived that we were full and it would be a hard task to eat another morsel. Needless to say when it arrived we had no issues polishing it off!
We didn’t have any room for dessert, but were convinced to try the macaroons. Grapefruit, Passionfruit and lemon, green tea, cocoa and another that I can’t quite remember. They were pillowy soft, with a slight chew. A very good example of this classic.
Service was excellent from the moment we arrived and were greeted by all the staff. I’ve mentioned Joao a few times because he was extremely likeable, really knowledgable and clearly very passionate. A credit to the team.
The Better Half and I dined as guests of the restaurant so on this occasion didn’t pay for our meal. If you’re a lover of Japanese food though, then I would highly recommend you visit Kouzu…and make sure you order that chicken!
Until we eat again!