Nov 1 2013

Kirazu

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Kirazu means “beans” and Kirazu is also a Japanese restaurant in Soho. Soy sauce, Miso and Tofu (typical elements of Japanese cuisine) are all made from a bean, and Kirazu on their website explains how beans are healthy, low in calories, prevent illnesses hence Japanese people can stay so slim and live so long. The restaurant tries to embody this and their motto is “Kirazu, not a dish for special occasions, but as part of a healthy diet”.

My friend Katrina was celebrating her birthday on a Friday at 19.00 in a bar in Mayfair and I decided to invite her for a quick meal at Kirazu before her birthday celebrations. Kirazu opens at 6pm every day, and Katrina arrived just as it was opening. The interior of the restaurant is quite plain, in a Japanese minimalistic style but quite pleasant. The restaurant is super small, there is only one room and two communal large tables and you can also sit by the window by another communal table. Apparently as soy sauce and miso are made from beans and made and aged in old wooden barrels over many years, the tables, chairs and the furniture in Kirazu are a reflection of the barrel-material used. I very much liked the hanging light bulbs and also the wooden crate decorations on the walls.

As we had very little time Katrina had already ordered the food before I arrived, as I was running 10 minutes late. She spoke to the waitress and she recommended some dishes which Katrina ordered. The main chef at Kirazu is Yuya Kikuchi, who has worked in Japan and abroad and apparently has attained the most challenging food-license in the world, called Fugu (Blow fish) cooking. Yuya came to UK in 2007 and in April 2013 opened Kirazu which specializes in general Japanese food, based on Japanese Kaiseki Cuisine.

The slightly strange thing at the beginning of our meal was that when I arrived there were only 5 people in the restaurant, our party of three and another couple and they seated us right next to each other, even though the rest of the restaurant was empty, which I thought was a bit strange and they could have seated this couple a bit further away and not right next to us. When my boyfriend walked in, he almost greeted this couple as he thought they were part of our party. The service throughout our meal was a bit hectic as well. Katrina was given one of the cheapest types of sparkling water when she ordered sparkling water, usually in any restaurant they bring you nicer sparkling water and not the cheapest one, and I did not mind this, but it just attracted my attention as it was so uncommon. When we ordered the sparkling sake (one of my latest discoveries) they only brought us 1 glass despite 2 of us being there, and it took them a while to bring another one. The same problem happened when my boyfriend arrived and he also had problems getting a glass. Maybe there was a language barrier or maybe in Japan people when order a drink only order it for themselves and don’t share, I don’t know. The napkins also were recycled and quite plain, not that minded, but it just is different to other restaurants, hence you notice these things. Matching this recycling theme, the menus were also written on dark brown papers. Overall though despite some of the chaotic things, I thought the ladies serving us were quite sweet.

The food however was wonderful, delicious, healthy, with subtle flavours, embodying the Kirazu motto. The menu was divided into “ramen”, “salad”, “sushi and sashimi”, “cold tapas”, “hot tapas”, “rice” and “desert”. All the food arrived quickly, soon after we had ordered, and all at once. The prices for all dishes, apart from ramen (which cost £9.5 to £10.5), range from £2.5 to £6 (and all dishes are 50p cheaper if you do takeaway) but most of the portions are very very small and you need to order a lot. First I tried the prawn tempura hand roll from the sushi and sashimi selection. It was delicious, with a tasty breaded prawn inside the rice and wrapped in seaweed, delicious. Katrina had also ordered seaweed salad with sesame dressing, and this seemed lighter and soften in flavour than some other seaweed salads I have tried. It was delicious, but more subtle. From the cold tapas section we got “sautéed lotus root with sweet & spicy soy sauce” and “grilled eel and cucumber”. We were given two of these this tiny tiny little pots, one with lotus root in it and the other with eel, seaweed and cucumber. I really like lotus root, so I enjoyed it, and also liked the flavours, once again interesting but subtle. Same thing goes for the eel, the eel was delicious, fresh, nice flavours but once again subtle flavours, very light, not too overpowering

Katrina had also been advised to order dumplings and we got 2 different types of dumplings (only 2 on the menu) from the “hot tapas” section, “deep fried dumpling” and “steamed prawn dumpling”. Both were nice with soft and fresh insides and not as greasy or heavy as Chinese dumplings can be. We also had a “grilled aubergine with sweet miso sauce”, a dish that I always have in another Japanese restaurant Dinings. Here at Kirazu the portion was quite small and also the miso felt more overpowering than the miso in Dinings, tasty and nice but not amazing.

After these few dishes the waitress cleared all our plates and then gave us one of the dishes from the “rice” part of the menu, which was mini rice bowl topped with seared roasted pork, and we each got a portion (for £6/ each). This was actually a super nice dish, the pork was a bit chewy but very tasty, and nicely topped with some seaweed and spring onions. I very much enjoyed it.

Kirazu is a very cute little restaurant. I liked the authentic Japanese feel of the restaurant that came from both the waitresses, the menu and the subtle and delicious taste of the dishes. I enjoyed most of the dishes, and would love to come back to explore the menu further.

Date: 01/ 11/ 13
Location: Soho
Price for 3 people with a bottle of sparkling sake: £71.80 (and as there was no service charge included we paid a bit above £80)

Kirazu on Urbanspoon

Maija rated: 

4.00

Location: 

Kirazu
47 Rupert Street, W1D 7PJ
London
United Kingdom
GB
Kirazu Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 4