KCW Today’s Ione Bingley reviews Kiru, Chelsea’s neighbourhood Japanese restaurant.
Cloaked in black lacquer and nestled behind the Kings Road on quiet and picturesque Chelsea Green, you could be forgiven for overlooking the stylishly understated, neighbourhood Japanese, Kiru.
Stepping into it’s surprisingly light and airy interior one’s eyes are unavoidably drawn to a huge, blue mural of a smoky eyed Japanese girl that gives the restaurant an edgy, modern mood well-suited to its contemporary cuisine.
Seated next to the window, as is my preference to facilitate people watching both inside and out, we surveyed the beautifully illustrated and expansive cocktail list. However, being the beginning of the week and keen to stay off the sauce at least until Wednesday, we opted for an abstemious pot of jasmine tea.
As we took our time over the menu, which was refreshingly different from your classic London Japanese, the tea arrived, beautifully presented and loose leaf, which, like bread quality, I always take as a good sign in any restaurant.
With a rare offering of three different edamame bean variations on the menu, we decided to kick off proceedings with an unusual chili and garlic version. This was a good idea in theory, but the chili and garlic sauce made the pods a bit slimy and it went all over your fingers so I would say in this case, stick with what you know and go for the plain salt.
While our first ‘amuse bouche’ was somewhat disappointing, morale was raised again by the spicy miso soup that was, hands down, the most delicious miso I’ve tried.
We then moved on to melt-in-the-mouth bite-sized spoonfuls of salmon with crispy seaweed, which were delicious, but definitely needed the ‘umami’ sauce that came with them.
For our final starter, we went for crispy rice cubes with tuna tartare. This was proper Japanese comfort food, big crispy cubes of deep fried rice topped with soft, buttery tuna, utterly delicious.
My date, a self-confessed meat lover, had never tried one of life’s truly great things, ‘wagyu beef’, so I ordered us a steak to share and the black cod for the mains.
Cooked to perfection, sliced into meltingly delicious slivers of delectable, juicy steak and accompanied by three delightfully different dipping sauces, the ‘wagyu’ went down an absolute treat.
The black cod was also very good and came with an incredibly ingenious radish ‘brush’ used to coat the fillet in its tasty miso yaki dressing, then to be crunched down for a palate cleanser.
The real star of the show for me was a mushroom and watercress side salad topped with generous shavings of black truffle. Simple yet effective with classic flavours done in a clean, Japanese style, top marks.
Being in a Japanese restaurant we felt it would be downright irresponsible to not try at least one sushi dish so we opted for a traditional dragon roll that turned out to be good, but not mind-blowing.
And finally, though stuffed to the brim, we found space for a decidedly unjapanese, but sumptuously oozy, chocolate fondant and a boule of, (definitely worth writing home about), handmade coconut sorbet.
With a spacious interior, dependable food and a great bar, I’d recommend this one for a big, boozy dinner with friends.
2 Elystan St, Chelsea SW3 3NS
T: 020 7584 9999
Tasting menu from £60