I’ve never heard of Kiku in the blogosphere, this traditional Japanese restaurant has been hidden in Mayfair since 1978. The menu features a full list of traditional Japanese dishes, including grills, deep-fries, hotpot and the highest quality sushi. It’s not modern like Yashin where blowtorch works that smoky flavour but it has over 30 varieties of fish, 20 types of sushi rolls and 12 nigiri + sashimi sets. The sea urchin sushi I sampled was refreshingly sweet, perhaps freshly delivered from Canada in the morning. The sushi rice had the perfect size, small and petite compared to the sushi we normally have in London.
Lunch time was packed with local business men, who all went for the sushi lunch set at £25 each without looking at the menu. We were the only table to order from the full menu at lunch, which did take sometime to order compared to the easy lunchsets. The staff were all Japanese and extremely polite.
Pickled Chinese cabbage
Not as flavoursome as the ones I’ve tried in Sasaya, Berlin. Might need to marinate for a bit longer to let the flavour sink in.
Grated yam on diced fresh tuna
Ok, not the most good looking dish we could find but the tuna belly was very fresh and high quality. When topped with slimy yam, it balanced the richness of the tuna.
Boiled beancurd served with light soy sauce
Most westerners don’t like this tofu dish because it’s very mild in flavour. The only flavour it had was from the light soy sauce, it’s thoroughly a homie dish.
Special selection of sushi
We picked the most expensive sushi set priced at £43, including the expensive sea urchin, various clams and the tuna belly. All of them were great, delicious and faultless. Even the tamago (egg) was not as sweet as the dessert ones we normally have.
Chawan mushi - steamed savoury egg custard
Oriental people eat egg custard quite often but I’ve never seen it in British cuisine. The Japanese one normally has vegetables, a prawn and a gingko seed, usually eaten with a teaspoon. The flavour was spot on!
Verdict - 3/5
Food (very good) - top quality Japanese food since 1978. One of the most extensive sushi list I’ve come across in London with refreshingly sweet sea urchin sushi. Not as fancy as Yashin with blowtorch but every bit as good.
Service (very good) - service was speedy, polite and all the staff were Japanese. It’s a very traditional and spacious restaurant in Mayfair (next to Japanese embassy), walk ins are ok too.
Cost (£50pp) - there is no reasonable Japanese food in London. All the Japanese ingredients are a lot more expensive, especially high quality fish. Adding on top the Mayfair markup, it was quite an expensive lunch without drinks. Lunchsets range from £17.50 to £27. The sushi set we ordered was £43, the most expensive one.
17 Half Moon Street Mayfair
London W1J 7BE
020 7499 4208