Kintan – Japanese Barbecue Review
One afternoon while wandering London, with a hungry belly, I came across restaurant chain I’d been meaning to visit for a while, reinterpreting Korean barbecue with a Japanese twist in the heart of Holborn area. A well presented and friendly staff had us seated at our table letting us know what were the specials of the day, where we were pleasantly surprised that their Happy Hour was virtually all day long, potentially dangerous if you wanted to embrace the Salary man concept with a little sake, a little plum wine and a whole lot of beer.
Seated in the comfortable leather booths, in the middle of the table is a sunken electric grill, where a hotplate is placed, once your order is taken. We opted for a mixture of red and white meats, along with starters and seafood, each with their own recommended dipping sauce and marinates.
The concept is pretty simple, you read of the menu what you’d like and the waiting staff brings to your table all the marinated ingredients, where they’ll fire up the electric grill for you and at your own leisure, cook your own meal, with the sizzling aroma of the marinates and meats caramelising in the air.
Initially the entrée we ordered was a bowl of Korea’s signature dish of Kimchi, as spicy dish of crunchy fermented cabbage, along with a wakame seaweed, lightly drizzled in a vinaigrette and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Light and refreshing our appetites were now whet.
We then followed the entrée was followed up with a little lightly seared salmon as not to over cook the sashimi cut, which was served with a house citrus sauce. This was oh so delicate and delicious, I’m a big fan of salmon and this did not disappoint.
As a fan of seafood, you can never go wrong with Tiger Prawns. Growing up in the South Pacific this is what I’d normally consider a normal size shrimp, over in the United Kingdom this size is considered a tiger prawn, with way this before shot still makes my mouth water…
… and even more so, once cooked and in my belly. A little lemon, a little garlic and it’s perfect.
Next was a little squid, scored and ready for grilling, enjoyed with a little white miso sauce it always goes down well.
One concept I don’t really get is some peoples aversion to mushrooms. They come in so many shapes, sizes, textures and tastes, to rule out these little delectable morsels of fungi flavoured favourites, is like saying you don’t like seafood. You’re missing out on such a huge potential for your palate to explore the world. In this case, with a little light butter and left on the grill to slowly cook in a little foil parcel this was a welcome addition to our table.
Now for the star of the table, the protein items. First on our list, was the yaki-shabu styled beef cut, which was recommended to be served with a little garlic sauce. Traditionally yaki-shabu is a thinly cut piece of meat, with a more savoury than sweet flavour, normally cooked in a broth. In this case it was lightly grilled and oh so delicious.
Where’s the beef? In my belly.
Next up was a little spicy pork kalbi, which is distinctly Korean in flavour. Prepared by using a special ganjang based sauce of dark fermented soy based origins, these tasty little cuts went pretty fast
Caramelised to perfection.
We liked it so much we decided to order a beef version.
Switching it up a little, with that other white meat, we ordered some oh so tender, chicken thighs for barbecuing.
Afterwards was one of our favourite meals of the day, dessert.
We ordered a yuzu sorbet, which is like a small mandarin sized grapefruit, which has quite as sharp citrus taste, light and refreshing it makes a great palate cleanser.
For those of you with a little sweet tooth, on the opposite end of the spectrum, is the Kintan ice cream. Composed of a scope of vanilla ice cream with kuromitsu, brown sugar syrup & kinako soy bean flour
So how would I rate my experience visiting Kintan? As far as International chains go, the restaurant and food was nicely presented and the staff quite friendly and knowledgeable. While not as intimate as family run business, the idea of all day happy hour and the prices were quite fair (Our bill was discounted as a Monday special, prices shown are full price), I’d definitely come back again, especially as communal cooking is a social affair, so with a group of friends it’s an enjoyable way of spending time together in a spacious, relaxed environment.
Kintan – Japanese Barbecue
34-36 High Holborn, London WC1V 6AE
020 7242 8076
Posted on May 4, 2015, in Food, Review and tagged Barbecue, beef, Beef short rib, chain, chicken thighs, electric grill, galbi, Holborn, icecream, Japanese, kalbi, kimchi, Kintan, Korean inspired, mushroom medley, pork, review, seaweed, short ribs, sorbet, soy, squid, tiger prawns, wakame, yuzu. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.