If you’ve been a keen follower of my past food ramblings you’ll probably have noticed that I have a rather large addition to Japanese cuisine; unfortunately though over the past few months a couple of my personal favourites in London have gone down hill.
Time then to discover some of the other Japanese restaurants out there; this evening was Kikuchi tucked away on Hanway Street a short walk from Tottenham Court Road. This small but elegant little place is subject to heavily contrasting reviews with some people rating very highly and praising the authenticity of the food and freshness of the sushi, with others saying that the service was appalling and the food bog standard.
When we arrived we were greeted by perfectly friendly staff but immediately told that there is a minimum charge of Â£25 per person – realistically if you’re hungry I’d recommend you budget higher than that though, and if you’re a fan of sake then considerably more.
The menu outside Kikuchi speaks of a bog standard lunch menu at any Japanese restaurant, however when you’re seated at the table you’re presented with a drinks menu that boasts a vast selection of sakes ranging from Â£30 to Â£500 for a bottle, and a food menu that basically leaves you bedazzled with the sheer number of pages and items.
Between two of us we ordered:
- Salmon skin with ponzu
- Grilled aubergine with miso dressing
- Mixed tempura
- Eel tempura with taro
- The chef’s special sushi
The grilled aubergine was insanely good just as we both hoped it would be (unlike the disappointments at some other restaurants), the salmon skin was addictive and delicious as ever, the ell tempura was good too but the mixed tempura was pretty par for the course.
The sushi, well I guess that’s always going to be a subjective one depending on what tastes and textures appeal to you as an individual, but it wasn’t helped by the fact that we waited over an hour for our sushi to arrive and even then that was after chasing them for it.
For Â£30 we only got 12 pieces of generally uninteresting looking sushi; the salmon was good, the tuna was great, but the white fish (which I’m useless at identifying) didn’t really offer much in the way of flavour, the texture of the squid was a bit difficult to cope with, and the sea urchin, well, I’m probably not going to have sea urchin sushi again let’s put it that way.
All in all I’d say that the food is amazing and the slow service is something I would suffer through again to try some of the other interesting items on the menu, but I won’t be having sushi again – at least not the chef’s specialty.