I’m getting a bit of a taste for bottomless sushi brunches after my recent feast at Islington’s Tootoomoo. Unlimited rolls, a glass that’s never empty… what’s not to like?
A weekend or two ago, I made reservations at the highly talked about Kurobuta with some fellow foodie bloggers (and the help of a Timeout deal). The Japanese flavoured joint (that sounded more sinister than I expected), is ran by legendary Scott Hallsworth. After becoming Head Chef at Park Lane’s Nobu, Scott has gained some pretty hot experience from organising a private dinner for the Beckhams to helping with the opening of Dubai’s award winning Mirai restaurant.
This guy really knows his Asian flavours and so it isn’t surprising that Kurobuta came to life, starting as a pop up on the Kings Road. Scott’s vision for his relaxed restaurant was a modern version of the traditional Japanese izakaya (imagine a Japanese pub) where casual peeps (is that still a word?) would come together over classic Asian tapas and a glass bottle of something fizzy.
The Marble Arch branch is hidden among quiet residential roads and cute boutique shops waiting to be snapped on Instagram. And casual it is. Bench tables fill the floor to the sound of live music and loud, happy chatter of punters stuffing sushi in their gobs.
If you’re coming here for brunch then you can’t be shy. The help yourself buffet is just that and you’ll want to grab a plateful before everyone goes up for seconds.
Thin slivers of sashimi fly off the plates next to sticky mini sushi bites. But the ones that will get you coming back at the ‘salmon sashimi pizzas’ drizzled in truffle ponzu. So. So. Good.
If you’re in it for the good times, bottomless drinks put the brunch up to £45 with a choice of prosecco, wine and beer. A welcome cocktail will be served as you sit, ours a fruity frothy mix that I somehow downed before even taking a picture (WHO AM I?!).
One plate down (testing my plate presentation skills) and a couple of glasses in, I went back for the hot stuff… extra crispy fried chicken, tofu wang, beer grilled steaks and delicious spiced cauliflower. There was also a build-your-own ramen section THAT I COMPLETELY FORGOT ABOUT.
Two dishes are also served directly to your table to avoid the ‘mad dash’ including some more fresh sashimi and spiced sushi. The bowl of crisp tempura had us all curious about the innards until our young hip Aussie waiter confirmed it was pumpkin. Why has no one ever made that before?
About a bottle of prosecco down (each), we caved and ordered from the extras menu that is so subtly left on your tables. For a tenner we pitched in for some peanut pork buns and boy was it a good choice. I’ve only ever had one bao experience before Kurobuta and I wasn’t exactly buying into it… but now after those sticky nutty rolls, I’m a firm member of the bao appreciation society.
Chatting away and infused with fizzy giggles, our too cool for school waiter popped back over to inform us that a) we only had 15 minutes left of our booking b) we hadn’t had dessert yet and c) we could move to the bar if we wanted to.
Not wanting to miss out on the sweet stuff we agreed to shuffle over until a few minutes later he strolled on over to tell us that he’d saved our day and adjusted the tables so we could stay, drink and dine for longer. The service really was impressive. Completely chilled, no problems here attitude. In fact I’m pretty sure he carried on pouring prosecco well after our 2 hour slot was up.
The dessert platter wasn’t the finest part of the brunch but instead offered a fresh fruity selection to finish on with a delicious chocolatey square each.
Kurobuta is a fine choice for an afternoon where you just want to sit, eat, drink and be merry without having to fuss around with ordering or queuing at the bar. Its casual vibe is incredibly inviting and the live music that goes well on into the night makes it a place you could quite literally spend a day in.
Along with its Marble Arch location, Kurobuta can also be found on Kings Road but I wouldn’t be surprised if an East London spot turns up in the future.