I haven’t been to Kiku in years. I’ve walked passed it a few times, on my way to the Curzon Mayfair, and it always looks just the same as it always did – a reassuring presence, somewhere I know I can go if I ever hanker after proper Japanese food. And then that day came and the OH and I, in need of a Japanese fix, headed for Kiku once again. And guess what? It hasn’t changed a bit.
It’s a long, narrow room, plainly furnished in light wood with rattan screens that stop it being monotonous.
There’s always a lot of Japanese customers at Kiku, some of them with western relatives or friends. We ate in the evening but during the day Kiku’s proximity to the Japanese Embassy (just round the corner on Piccadilly) makes for a lot of Japanese business customers.
Kiku serves the sort of food you’d expect to get in a restaurant in Japan that’s managed to resist the lure of western cooking. Besides sushi and sashimi, the extensive menu is divided in traditional style into grills, casseroles and fried, plus soups, salads and noodles.
We started with plate of the mixed sashimi which offered a wide selection (including my favourite shimesaba (marinated mackerel).
Then came an old favourite; Yudofu, boiled bean-curd served with light soy sauce, served in a pot with boiled white cabbage.
Miso soup was a must, of course – we went for akadashi, the more heavily-flavoured red miso soup which is not so often met with here in the UK where white miso dominates.
We shared a plate of vegetable tempura, crisply-fried vegetable pieces in a light batter.
And we finished up with black sesame ice cream. A great combination of flavours.
As the evening went on and the restaurant filled up, it felt more and more like a family restaurant in a Tokyo suburb. If the authentic Japanese experience is what your after, Kiku can be relied on to provide it. Even in the the loos, where the presence of a washlet (if you don’t know what a washlet is, see my post here), was the ultimate nostalgic touch.
Kiku is on Half Moon Street and is open Monday to Saturday 12 pm to 2:30 pm and 6 pm to 10!% pm, Sundays and Bank Holidays 5:30 pm to 9:45 pm.