You know you’re in for a treat when you walk in to a Japanese restaurant and 90% of their customers you see are Japanese. I can’t believe it has almost been a decade since I last visited Japan and it still is, to this day, one of the most memorable trips I’ve had. So visiting Kintan did, in a way, rekindle old memories. The most hospitable people- kind, friendly and fantastic culture!
When I was invited to visit Kintan (a small international Japanese chain), London’s first Japanese BBQ restaurant (in their words), I was intrigued. London is a bit sushi obsessed and I’m glad these guys have opened up to break the monotony. The outside of this restaurant is quite plain and you would be quite oblivious to what it holds. You wouldn’t think much of the place unless you enter and you’re taken in by the huge open space that stretches out and the modern Japanese inspired decor.
There’s a wide selection of seating. From conventional dining tables to booths. Our table was fitted with a built-in grill. I love the whole concept of cooking at your table. I know some people would have a different opinion (“why should I cook my own food in a restaurant?!”) but I think it’s a lot of fun and great for dates! 😉 unless you’ve never cooked in your life, in which case…NO!
They have an extensive menu but it’s all split up by times of the day so you won’t be drowning in options. We went for the premium option from their dinner menu because we are fat pigs and wanted to try most of their dishes. At a price tag of £44.50 per person this isn’t cheap so save it for a special occasion if you must. But if you’re like me, then whatever- go treat yourself! 😛 Also be warned, make sure you come with an appetite or else you won’t be able to finish everything in this set dinner.
With 6 starters, 7 mains and a dessert course- you’d definitely want to be rolled back home. While waiting for our feast to begin, we looked around. They had a NY based architect come and design their interior and it looks great. Open, spacious and a little Japanese touch here and there. We ordered our drinks and my friend ordered their special sake. He gave it a thumbs up!
Very quickly, our starters starting raiding our table. First off was a town full of edamame beans with a generous sprinkle of sea salt. I love edamame beans as they are a perfect snack option too!
The Kintan Salad was surprisingly delicious. I’m not a salad person but that special Kintan dressing transformed this plain salad dish into something I kept on eating. It was fresh, crunchy and the right amount of dressing to make it extra special.
But I had to control myself as there were far more dishes on their way. Their service is quite efficient. Hot Oil Seared Salmon was delicate in taste but if dipped in the oil mixture became more powerful. My taste buds were having too much fun to stop!
Garlic fried noodles looked great and I was having food envy by looking at them even when our food had not arrived. But sadly it had pork in it so my friend got to eat ALL of it. Sad times. They were devoured quite quickly so I suppose that’s a good sign 😉
I absolutely loved Tuna Tartare Volcano which was a fried block of rice topped with tuna tartare mixed with their special marinade. O.MY.GOD! Why did I order so much food?! The only criticism I have for this dish is that the rice base was too thick and it should be made thinner. Otherwise the starters are enough to fill you up. There’s no way 2 people can finish everything 😛
A portable table was placed next to us and it got filled with meats of all sorts, prawns and scallops! We were in meat heaven. With our grill ready and sizzling- we started cooking the marinated meat. The great thing about their grills is that they’re fitted with special parts that suck out all the smell and smoke of the grill. Otherwise sitting there would be quite unbearable! So lucky for us, we were quite content with BBQ-ing our own meat 😀
Their meat is sourced from UK, US and New Zealand and you can tell it was of high quality and fresh because it didn’t take long to cook. It was tender to the bite and the marinade was just perfect so we hardly used the dipping sauces. The one’s that stood out for me was the Filet Mignon- Yuzu Ponzu and the Premium Kaibi Short Rib. The scallops and prawns were okay. They did not stand out much in terms of taste. The meat dishes are clearly the heroes of this menu.
There was also a selection of vegetables to BBQ which we barely touched except the mushrooms. Sorry mom! 😛 I also did not fancy BBQ-ing a huge piece of onion. If they were cut into smaller pieces then I might have but I had plenty of salad and edamame to fill in for my 5 a day. Khe khe khe!
By this time, I was slouched in my side of the booth. Ready to give up. I could not eat another bite even though the succulent pieces of meat were beckoning me to not give up on them. Phew! That was one joy ride.
We took a little breather before the dessert course and I went for a little walk around the restaurant. There is so much seating in this restaurant and they had more downstairs. There were a couple of people sitting there but it was so cold and lack of heating made me shiver. I don’t know how people could sit there in the cold and eat. I bet the BBQ helped!
I came back to our dessert course sitting on the table- the assorted mochi ice cream. Mmmmhmm! they were presented elegantly and looked delicious. One thing I would commend Kintan is on the level of care they put into serving their food. While their serving plates were hot for hot food, the platter for their dessert was chilled so even if you took your sweet time in eating your dessert, it wouldn’t melt. Now that’s how I like my dessert to be served- chilled to perfection!
The mochi ice cream was quite interesting and one that I’ve never eaten before. The three different flavours were encased in a round shell of jelly with different flavours and textures. Inside each was a different flavour of their ice cream- green tea, caramel and sesame seed. It was the perfect end to the meal and quite refreshing after eating all that meat 😛 My favourite out of the three was the sesame seed one ad least memorable one is the green tea. Green tea shouldn’t be a dessert! But before we could call it quits, we were also treated to the Kintan special ice cream. Again, super chilled bowl and a scoop of their ice cream topped with black honey and soya dust. Yummmmy!
The super sweet staff! Ha 😀