Kilburn, like many of London’s urban inner cities, is constantly changing. Once it was the centre of the Irish community; many have either returned to the old sod or simply passed on to be replaced with new waves of residents from the UK, Europe and beyond. The last surviving Irish pub, The Kingdom recently closed and slowly the old Irish pubs, such as The Black Lion, are becoming gastro pubs, coffee bars or shops.
New places are opening up, however, including the first Japanese restaurant in the neighbourhood. Chef Philip had over 30 years experience working in Dubai and the Middle East before opening up his own place in Kilburn serving classic Japanese food in an upmarket cafe setting.
We went there early on a Saturday evening; they were already getting a steady stream of telephone and takeaway orders but being there long before the Saturday rush we had time to relax, chat and enjoy the food.
First up was a portion of Yellow tail hamachi, £10. Thinly sliced yellow tail with home made ceviche style citrus soy sauce. Thinly sliced and smelling only of the sea it had an exquisitely delicate texture and taste. An ideal palate opener before the main course, an absolute winner from the start.
Next up soft shell crab served with a sweet chilli sauce, £8. Stunning presentation worthy of a Michelin restaurant, and a taste to match. The gentle crunch of the shell liberating the flavours of the delicate sweet flesh within.
Lastly, Unagi Don, smoked eel on a bed of rice, £8. Being half Dutch I grew up eating Paaling, a delicious smoked eel dish often eaten on bread for lunch in Holland. Rarely seen in the U.K. except in the east end as jellied eels or in the once ubiquitous pie and mash shops, and hardly ever in fishmongers. Lightly smoked and seasoned with soy, the flavour was absolutely divine.
I often find chef run restaurants always provide the best in food and service because they have so much personal investment in what they do. They are currently offering a variety of ramen and noodle dishes all for under £10 along with an all-you-can-eat deal for £17.95. Check their website for menu updates.
it’s brave to open such a place in Kilburn and I wish him all the success he deserves. As they currently have no licence, it’s also a BYO establishment.
227 Kilburn High Road
020 7624 1325