The last time I had a bento box, I was probably in my early 20s. Somehow the appeal of them was replaced with other TikTok trends (crispy rice anyone?) and tasting menus. But I’m here to say that they’re back and sexier than ever. I was invited to visit the brand-new Japanese restaurant in Fitzrovia, Kibako, and when I found out that these were the same brains behind dining destinations Hot Stone and The Gurkhas? I was absolutely buzzing.
Walking inside, we were immediately met with a very friendly staff and a minimalist backdrop. The highlight? There was a long sushi bar with traditional wooden paneling hanging above. We made our way to a more private area and settled into dark leather seating.
We kicked off with the limited-edition King's Sour (£12) a beaut blend of gin, sweet vermouth, lemon juice, syrup and a dash of Angostura bitters. Tangy, tart and served in a teapot, this was a nice fruity start to our dinner. As we sipped our drinks, we were given a few nibbles such as the Maldon rock oysters (£4) bath in tosazu and miniature edamame tacos (£4). While the oysters were extra fresh, the edamame tacos stole the show boasting a slightly nutty flavour and super crispy tostada.
Next up was the 4-Course premium Japanese wagyu and seafood menu (£79) which started with quite possibly my favourite bite – the Japanese wagyu croquette garnished with a hefty amount of truffle and caviar. I mean I love both croquettes and steak so this was faultless in my books. At last, we delved into the iconic bento box, which was an experience in itself. There were nine kinds of wagyu and seafood paired with aged soy sauce and freshly grated wasabi. This was a true beauty – let’s just say I took at least 50 pictures. Each bite was placed in one of the nine compartments and served on a dainty little plate. Some highlights included the toro – fatty slabs of tuna and wagyu – both were simple but executed to perfection.
I saved the crispy rice with tuna tartare for last as I had a feeling it would be my fave. The texture of the rice paired with a spicy fish made for a nice change in texture from all the other bites in our box. The only real miss was the tofu topped with chunks of pineapple – for me, they knocked it out of the park with their other vegetarian bites so this was a little bit of a letdown as it lacked the same punch.
Shortly after polishing off our plates, we ordered an additional dish: the scallop (£6.50) which was layered with thinly sliced plums and doused in ponzu sauce. While it seemed like an odd combination at first, the acidity from the fruit complimented the brininess of the fish.
We were then treated to the Japanese wagyu steak which was cooked to perfection, alongside a 48-hour marinated black cod. The cod was velvety smooth in texture and buttery while the steak was rich and oozed an umami profile. In addition, we chowed down on grilled veggies and shitake rice – my boyfriend doesn’t like mushrooms, and even he appreciated every earthy morsel. Finally, we finished off with the yuzu posset, accompanied with yogurt foam, caramel chocolate, and pineapple carpaccio. It was light, sweet and the delicate foam and fruit really amped up the flavour from an otherwise standard dessert.
The DesignMyNight Digest
Overall, I’d say Kibako was a one-of-a-kind eating experience. The service was excellent throughout and you can tell every dish is put together with a lot of care and precision. I recommend ordering a bento box as you’ll get to taste a little bit of everything and the Japanese wagyu is a must-have if you're a steak lover like myself.
💰 The damage: Around £215 for starters, 4-course menu and a cocktail.
📍 The location: 3 Windmill St, London W1T 2HY.
👌 Perfect for: Lush date night and anniversaries.
⭐ Need to know: These folks now have a wagyu and sushi 4-course offer for £39.99.