Modern Japanese at Kiru, Chelsea
Back in 2014 when I decided to quit London and take a chance on travelling the world, Japan was at the top of my list, mostly so that I could take a wadge of money and throw it at restaurant owners who wanted to feed me all the Japanese goods. I really thought I would be able to go anywhere in the world I wanted. I didn’t really think about the limitations – would I have enough money to fly? Would I be able to afford accommodation? Looking back, definitely not for all the things I wanted to do.
The reality of travelling, for me anyway was that I felt a crippling emptiness for over a year, a feeling that led to me cutting my trip short by three months. I cracked when I was in Cambodia and a few days later was on a plane to London, catapulting myself back into the fiercely fast paced London life. I never did make it to Japan…
Sob story over, but don’t let it fool you into thinking I’m disappointed that travelling didn’t work out as I thought it would. Despite it being one of the hardest things I have ever done, it was also the best in terms of learning about what means the most to me in life. Apart from friends and family, it was the London dining scene that I missed most when I was away. Nothing that I experienced while I was away compared and I have arrived back with a fresh lease of life.
Not that I didn’t before, but I now feel increasingly lucky to be able to visit a load of great restaurants. I enjoy most, but it’s not often I visit a restaurant that ticks all the boxes and I walk away dreaming about everything from the service, to the memorable elements of every single dish that I taste during the meal. Enter Kiru, a modern Japanese restaurant in Chelsea that sits pretty looking over a quaint village square just off King’s Road.
“Would you like to live in one of those houses”, I asked David as we wandered from South Kensington station towards the restaurant. “If you could pick it up and plonk it in East London”, he replied with his cheeky giggle. I found it hard to blame him for his opinion, until I sat down in my chair at Kiru and stared out longingly to the unmistakably squeaky clean Chelsea streets. It helped that the sun was setting right in front of our eyes and the sky was boasting a dusky pink shade. Little did I know that the meal I was about to enjoy would leave me longing even more for a SW postcode.
Throughout the course of the evening, we were treated to seven courses, which consisted of an innovative selection of sushi, meat, fish and vegetarian dishes.
But before food, we dove into the cocktail menu. Beverage Director and co founder of Kiru, Christian Pulido (ex Bvulgari hotel) ran us through the menu before convincing me to order the Black Book, a too-easy-to-drink cocktail of Martin Milers Gin, cinnamon, cardamom, lime and agave. David went for the more adventurous Salsa Verde, which was a concoction of Tapatio Tequila and St Germain elderflower liquor with parsley, coriander, cucumber & jalapano, lime and agave. It came garnished with a coriander leaf and a slice of cucumber. God it was good. He asked for it medium spiced, but it could have been way hotter in my eyes. Never would I have thought I would enjoy spicy booze (I detest Bloody Mary cocktails), so it was a pleasant surprise. The cocktail menu at Kiru is unlike any other cocktail menu I have seen. Pulido is right when he says, “It draws on personal flavour experiences, with the cuisines and beverages of Mexico, Italy, the US, and now Japan and maintains a deep reverence for the simplicity & elegance of the classic cocktail cannon.”
Highlights of the food menu were the crispy ramen topped with salmon. The ramen noodles are boiled then formed into a bird’s nest shape and dehydrated. The yellowtail dish came with a tangy yuzu foam, which stunned the tastebuds.
My favourite dish of the evening was a mixed mushroom salad with truffles sourced from France and Italy. David’s favourite was a tender piece of seabass served with a spiced tosazu sauce, lemon foam, fried kombu, mizuna and pickled red cabbage.
I also just have to mention the service at Kiru. The staff strike the perfect balance between helping hand and information resource, and stay far enough away to make you feel like you are having a private conversation – true hospitality professionals.
Kiru has just won the OpenTable Dinner’s Choice Award for the sixth consecutive month – it’s not hard to see why. As we sauntered out of Kiru, bellies full, I asked David again whether he would like to live in one of those houses. He replied with a wink, “Maybe, now I know what they are close to”.
Dinner for two at Kiru costs around £120