Friday, 3 July 2015

Kurubuta and Kikkoman, Eat Me!

My London stamping ground is pretty small. You could probably walk the borders of it in a couple of hours, taking a leisurely pace. It runs from Marylebone/Euston Rd in the north down to the Thames, seldom going west of Grosvenor Square or east of Kingsway. There's so much encompassed in that area that even after nine years I still don't feel like I know it well. I haven't been to all the museums or galleries and definitely haven't been to a tithe of the restaurants. It takes a pretty special invitation to get me to Chelsea. But as I stood at the bus stop outside Sloane Square tube, the people-watching was so superior that I knew I was in for something good.
Crunchy rice senbei crisps (rear) porky scratchings with yuzu kosho dip (front)
The invitation was to Kurobuta for the launch of Eat Me! a 4-part series of beautiful-looking youtube videos where Scott Hallsworth, founder of Kurobuta, teaches Made in Chelsea's Millie Mackintosh about "contemporised, Westernised" Japanese food. And there was the added lure of a Kikkoman soy sauce tasting and some of Scott's food. Quite a lot of Scott's food, actually.
After a quick game of "Aussie or Kiwi?" where I correctly spotted that bartender Paps was from Far North Queensland, there were drinks and an introduction to Kikkoman by Bing-Yu Lee, the London General Manager. Then Scott explained how he uses Kikkoman soy sauce in making a lot of the sauces and condiments he uses on his food, and Paps demonstrated how he'd added a twist to some classic cocktails with the addition of a bit of soy sauce. Definitely worth venturing west for.
Paps muddling cucumber
There were two Kikkoman cocktails - a soy sauce sour and a take on a bloody mary. Usually I love a sour (alcohol, lemon, eggwhite and a bit of sweetening), and I am a huge fan of the salted rim on a margarita, but somehow having that much umami depth in every sip of the sour didn't work for me. The other one though - wow. I am sharing the recipe for that one with Kurobuta's kind permission because it was completely delicious, the addition of cucumber adding a light freshness that was very welcome and the soy standing in for the Worcestershire and celery salt savouriness. Yum. Make one this weekend: you won't be sorry.

Bloody Kik in the pants (by Michael “Paps” Papal for Kurobuta)

50ml vodka
50ml Tomato juice
4 drops of Tabasco
Pinch of Shichimi salt
10ml honey
10 ml lime
10ml lemon
5ml Kikkoman soy sauce
4 pieces cucumber

Muddle cucumber with the salt and Tabasco, pour rest of ingredients in and shake. Garnish with lemon wedge and the salt to present.
Debris from soy sauce tasting, flamed edamame with sake, lemon, butter and Maldon salt
But really, for me the event was all about the food. Scott describes Kurobuta as a "rock & roll izakaya" but while the atmosphere was relaxed the food was carefully considered and meticulously prepared.
Yellowtail sashimi with kizami wasabi salsa and yuzu soy
Beef fillet tataki with onion ponzu and garlic crisps
Tuna sashimi pizza with truffle ponzu (I couldn't detect any truffle) red onions and green chillies
Sashimi selection, just a teensy bit cold to appreciate the flavours properly
Jerusalem artichoke chopsticks with truffle ponzu dip - I could taste the truffle this time
Kombu roasted Chilean seabass with spicy shiso ponzu
Unfortunately I had to leave just as these glorious-looking pork belly buns were served. I knew if I started playing "just one more course" I would never be able to tear myself away. Fortunately there is a branch of Kurobuta in Marble Arch, which is a bit more accessible for me, so I'll be able to go back and eat the rest of the menu.
BBQ pork belly in steamed buns with spicy peanut soy


wildtomato said...

How fun! I'd happily eat and drink all of it!

The Cat's Mother said...

that looks so good! All of it!!

Kavey said...

That event looks SUCH fun!

I went to Kurobuta for my birthday lunch last year, the Marble Arch one. Had some fantastic food. I still think about the miso gorgonzola pine nut thing.

Joanne said...

Wow! What a delicious event!

grace said...

what a clever drink name! the food looks AMAZING.


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