Japanese fine dining restaurant, Kouzu, opened with a hush of a soft launch (although apparently the Prince of Monaco had already caught wind and paid a visit) last week. Via an invitation extended by the restaurant, Kemey and I dropped by Saturday for what turned out to be a most elegant meal.
Highlights from the kitchen of Chef Kyoichi Kai (ex-Zuma, ex-Kyubi) and his all Japanese staff were many. Kemey and I both especially adored every last bite of our starter course of tuna tartar with spicy sauce (Julienne of tuna, chili sauce, mixed salad with sesame seeds, £15). A bounteous plate of roasted black cod (marinated in miso with a fennel and celery salad, £28) wowed as well. Humbler dishes such as agedashi tofu (which might have been the best I’ve ever tasted, £6.50) and even seasonal pickles (£5.50) impressed with full flavor. Every cooked item we enjoyed from the menu had gorgeous and intriguing texture.
The sushi and sashimi offerings were equally delightful. Fish of the day was turbot and proved a yummy piece of sashimi. A range of nigiri (Kemey went with yellow tail and scallop; I had some eel and octopus) pleased. Prices for individual pieces of sushi and sashimi start at £3.50.
We sat downstairs in Kouzu’s formal but comfy dining room close to the cocktail bar. Wine and cocktails looked good. Kemey had a virgin mojito and was pleased. I was rather in awe of the whisky menu though. A dram of Ichiro’s Malt MWR on the rocks (£23) was a dreamy drink for me and paired exceptional well with my food.
Kemey’s dessert choice of dark chocolate mouse with apricot brandy sauce and hazelnut ice cream (£10.00) certainly seemed do the trick for her, while an assortment of homemade ice creams (£3 to £4 per scoop) ended this wonderful meal on a happy note for me. Pistachio and black sesame were my two favourite flavours.
Set within Grade-II listed period mansion with a palatial entrance, the restaurant’s interior is stunning (but to be honest I could hardly keep me eyes off the food). Next time (and I sincerely hope I can make it back there soon), I think I would like to sit at the sushi bar upstairs on the floating mezzanine.
Our server for the evening was lovely – friendly, helpful and informative. But I should mention that one fellow working the floor (I was uncertain whether he was a server, maitre d’ or what) came across as frazzled to an almost off-putting extent. Indeed, I couldn’t tell if he was genuinely trying to assist us with directions or shove us out the door when (for about 20 seconds or so) we stopped at the entrance (no one else was coming in or going out) to try and decide the best direction to take upon leaving.
As I said, Kouzu has opened very recently and with a soft launch. So I reckon this dude was simply under a bit of pressure and let his manners slip momentarily. Aside from that everything about our Kouzu experience was splendid.
Kouzu is located “behind” Eaton Square and across from the Goring Hotel at 21 Grosvenor Gardens, SW1W 0JW. Reservations are highly recommended. Find out more at kouzu.co.uk.