Kirazu is the latest in a number of Japanese restaurants that have popped onto the London restaurant scene in the last couple of years. This place however may be somewhat different to what one might expect of London’s Japanese restaurants.
Here one may find Obanzai, home-cooked food, such as ramen and small tapas type dishes to be eaten all together. However, chef and owner Yuya Kikuchi adds a little flair to these wholesome dishes that require attention and respect.
Chef Kikuchi has worked in some famous places including Australia, Japan, Belgium Paris, and more recently, at Mitsukoshi Restaurant in London before opening Kirazu in April 2013. Honing his culinary skills until he had learnt everything he wanted to in order to produce the food he wanted in his own establishment on Rupert Street in Soho. “I always wanted to do things a bit differently,” he says, “I scarcely stay in any one place for long because I could never understand why I had to spend decades learning the same thing, and not always making high quality food. I only spent four months in Paris before coming back to London because I felt that I had learnt everything from there that I needed to.”
Chef Kikuchi,a perfectionist and he takes great pride in his Japanese knives, as he believes that a chef is only as good as the quality of his knives. However, he wanted his restaurant to be far more down to earth and approachable. Having a set menu offering wholesome, healthy food and something that might be eaten everyday was the type of cuisine he was after. This is also reflected in the name Kirazu, which is Kansai dialect for “beans”.
The idea here is that beans are the staple for some of Japan’s most iconic foods such as soy sauce, miso paste and tofu. Furthermore, beans are high in protein and reduced in calories, which may be one reason why the Japanese islands have the longest life expectancy and reduced obesity levels of any developing nation on the planet. This is what Chef Kikuchi wished to create in London.
“Kirazu, is a dish for a healthy diet” is the motto, and one may feel this in everything about the place. The décor is based on the wooden barrels in which soy and miso paste are produced. The food seems simple and tasty however with a delicacy of flavour that reminds one of home, whilst maintaining an elegant appeal on the eye that is so endearing of Japanese cuisine. There may be certainly an influence to the dishes that stems from practicing skills honed in many a great kitchen around the world, however giving a feel of home cooking and everything is made from scratch.
The only fridge in the place is used for storing the drinks, and Chef Kikuchi is the only person working in the 28-seat restaurant. Every single bowl of miso soup is made from scratch and all the ingredients, be they fish, meat or vegetables, are delivered on the afternoon before the restaurant opens.
With Kirazu, Chef Yuya Kikuchi has created a restaurant that provides tasty dishes made to order, from the freshest ingredients and the steadiest of hands, in a home-cooked style with a twist.
47 Rupert Street
London, W1D 7PF
Mon-Fri 18:00-22:30: Sat 12:00-14:30 & 18:00-22:30
Dishes starting from £2.50