Restaurant: Kurobuta Chelsea.
Where is it: The Kings Road, Chelsea.
Opened: February 2015.
What kind of food: Small plates of Japanese food – some with a Western influence (think Wagyu Beef Sliders and Tuna Sashimi Pizza) — designed for sharing over copious amounts of cocktails.
Who goes: A fairly young, glamorous and attractive crowd of Chelsea trendies. The waiters look the part too.
The concept: Kurobuta is based on Izakayas – Japanese drinking taverns serving snacks to soak up the sake. It started life as a pop up which was so popular the owners opened two permanent locations – first Marble Arch last year and then Chelsea in February (not far from the original site on the Kings Road).
The interiors: Casual, dark and cosy with small tables to cluster around. It lends the atmosphere a distinctive buzz, especially on weekends when it gets crazy-busy in the best possible way.
We tried: Not sure how, but they made a virtuous kale salad the most delicious thing on the menu. It was so good we almost ordered a second to accompany our Beef Fillet Tataki with Garlic Crisps, Yellowtail Sashimi with Kizami Wasabi Salsa and Yuzu-Soy. Robata BBQ is hugely popular right now and gives dishes such a distinct flavour; we couldn’t resist ordering the Tea Smoked Lamb with Smokey Nasu and Spicy Korean Miso.
Hero Dishes: Jerusalem Artichoke Chopsticks with Truffle Ponzu Dip of Nasu Dengaku and the Sticky Miso-Grilled Aubergine with Sesame Seeds. You'll want to go back for these dishes alone.
Anything unusual: Kurobuta just won Best New Restaurant in the Square Meal Diner’s Choice Awards 2015, which is a testament to the loyal following it has inspired in such a short space of time. It’s the kind of place you visit once and immediately resolve to bring all your friends next time.
Star cocktail: If the sparkling sake doesn’t take your fancy there’s also fancy barrel-aged or fun slushy-style cocktails (exactly what you want with the summer-like weather we’ve been having).
What made it unique to them: The head chef is Scott Hallsworth (ex Head Chef of Nobu), so you know you’re in the best of hands.