Upmarket Japanese Restaurant in Fitzrovia
We first heard of Kikuchi in 2014 during a sake dinner. When asking the Japanese host where her favourite spot for sushi was in the Smoke, we were surprised to learn that there was a high quality restaurant outside of our orbit of knowledge. So we were excited when we had the opportunity to finally visit the restaurant, tucked away near Hakkasan on Hanway Place. They‘ve rejigged their menu so that it‘s more in line with blogger‘s darlings Sushi Tetsu and The Araki: strictly chef‘s choice.
Inside, the design bears all the calling cards of your local upmarket sushi counter. Bronze and silver slate tiles have been used to decorate the walls, bringing to mind the scheme made famous across the Zuma restaurants. A live edge wooden dining counter runs the length of the eight seater bar, a popular spot for those who enjoy a front row seat from which to watch the itamae. Brightly coloured seafood and produce repose on a bed of crushed ice in front of the chefs. Behind them an extensive array of sushi and suntoku knives are displayed in a glass case.
After snapping up the offer of a sake flight, we began to navigate our way through the meal. The first mouthful was a seabass and monkfish liver roll wrapped in cucumber and drizzled with ponzu sauce. We were smitten by the dynamism between the freshness of the seabass and the depth of the monkfish liver, as well as the stunningly presented garnish of Japanese watercress and mizuna. A traditional dish of capelin might split opinions as the whole fish, including bones and entrails, was deep fried in panko.
The omakase continued rapidly and we were soon presented with hot grilled salmon immersed in a sticky miso and yuzu sauce. Then, the piece de resistance: our itamae worked with rapt attention to create a sushi selection of ten pieces of nigiri crafted with top quality fish. We quickly despatched the whole range of marinated tuna, scallop, tomago, fatty tuna, sea bream, prawn, sea urchin, salmon roe, seabass and snow crab. The otoro, or fatty tuna, easily one pride of place in our estimation.
Following this we cleanse our palate with a piping hot miso soup packed with clam and nori, and then moved on to dessert, finishing the meal with chestnut ice cream served with fresh fruit. It was a rejuvenating denouement to a culinary journey. Whilst the price isn‘t exactly cut-rate (the omakase costs £80), we reckon that it will help to boost business. For anyone looking for a special place for date night, look no further.