While 'gastronomic' could potentially be mistaken for the art of 'eating in space'.....or something like that, it's a word that highlights all too well what Japanese restaurant Kouzu are doing, and that's conjuring art out of cooking. Lucky enough to head down, I was about to discover stunning plates, and how fine dining in a pair of dungarees isn't such a mare after all.
Kouzu is lent to an unusual dining and bar space, with the area toting a triangular and geometrial shape thanks to its corner Belgravia plot. Split between two floors, with downstairs host to the main bar, a word such a cosmopolitan could only half explain classic upholstery, stunning light fixtures and clean lines that have built this into a decadent space to drink and dine. Perched in front of the live sushi bar, we not only got to watch the artistry of our plates first hand, with a team that can shape rice better than I can shape sentences, but we got to enjoy the whole buzz of the restaurant first hand.
The Food and Drink
Modern Japanese dining was laid down as the gauntlet at Kouzu, and they more than overstepped the mark to bring us plates that truly evoked the style, senses and flavours of eating in the East.
Sharing between us the spicy prawn tempura and the soft shell crab nanban (£10.50 each), Kouzu's rich sauces with a fiery punch off-set their prawn and crab plates perfectly, while their tart and sweet selection of seasonal pickles once again proved that Buckwheat from Little Rascals is my spirit animal after all. Google Buckwheat and pickles. Japanese dining can often be referred to as delicate, but there was no time for that when it came to our mains. Split between a beef fillet steak (£29) and waygu beef steak from their charcoal grill (£45.50) alongside green apsaragus shichimi (£5) and sweet potato honey butter, the savoury garlic sauce paired with the fillet steak was undeniably tender and moreish, while the sweet potato was a warming, rich and perfect as a side to both meats. Wagyu beef, for those who have eaten it, needs little to no introduction.
Opting for sushi, rather than dessert, plates were handed to us from the Itamae themselves as we watched them curate Spicy California rolls (£8) and Tempura Prawn Sushi with ao nori and tempura flakes. Fresh, and with flair, the sushi at Kouzu was a kick back into action, and really sealed the dinner deal.
Served alongside our mains, and found only in the sommelier's private basement collection was a rich, yet refreshingly light French red that offset the steak and wagyu beef perfectly. Heaving through a heavy meal can ruin a moment, so picking the right wine to go with dinner is something that Kouzu proved they can do with ease. We also tucked into the cocktail list, which with nods to Japanese culture, brought us a tart and fresh Sakurambo with beefeater, creme de cassis and cherry alongside the evening's twang in the shape of their Cherry Margarita with Tapatio Blanco, Maraschino liqueur, cherry juice, lemon juice, lime and agave syrup (£11).
Evidently a couples destination upstairs, dining at Kouzu didn't feel as stuffy as i'd expect (rich from a 25 year old wearing dungarees to dinner, I know). And while clearly tailored to those that would rather dress up for dinner than dress down, with the bar even toting the same kind of clientele, Kouzu was welcoming, fun and honest in its approach. Service alone was the best i've had in London so far, not only was our sommelier rich with confidence and suggestions, our main waitress was charming and attentive without being overbearing.
Kouzu is clearly a restaurant that tailors itself not to mill along, and serve food in a droll and belly filling fashion, they're clearly on the scene to impress. And they did. While not a 'fancy that on a Friday?' foray, Kouzu is a special destination that really proved their worth when it came to hiring professional Itamae and empowering plates with rich and bold flavours. Kouzu really is a slice of the good London life, so be willing to pay for it.