Kintan, High Holborn, London – Review

Adam Lowe

Kintan is the first authentic Japanese Yakiniku BBQ restaurant in London. Located on High Holborn, the restaurant features dark wood and elegant Japanese style. The Japanese custom of Yakiniku BBQ is a meal usually shared by a couple or a group, making it great for dates and friendly conversations.

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Yakiniku BBQ is a premium dining experience, where diners cook their own food on a BBQ in front of them at the table. At Kintan, a wide range of meat is offered, depending on which menu diners select. But a typical meal will include various premium cuts of beef, chicken, pork and seafood. Some of these are seasoned and they can all be enjoyed with various dipping sauces. Some meat requires only a squeeze of lemon to prepare, while the rest needs to be barbecued. And this is where the fun part comes in.

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At Kintan the BBQ is set into the table. Because of the way it’s designed, the BBQ cooks the meat without any flames or smoke, so there’s minimum fuss. Any excess food or sauce drips into a tray of water beneath the filaments, contained within the table BBQ unit, for collection later by the wait staff. If your grill gets sticky or messy, someone will be on hand to switch it at a moment’s notice.

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The process of cooking our own food was thoroughly enjoyable – it adds an element of excitement and anticipation to each dish, as you inevitably wait for it to come off the BBQ for consumption. This adds to the pleasure of eating, which is often lost in our culture – where dining out often becomes about business meetings or quickly filling our stomachs before heading elsewhere.

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All the meat at Kintan is sourced from the UK, USA and New Zealand. We highly recommend the tokujo kalbi(‘premium kalbi short rib meat’), which we too were recommended: it’s tender, juicy and succulent.

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Yakiniku BBQ – like all barbies – is great with beer. So it’s probably no shock that the restaurant has a number of Japanese beers, such as Kirin, Sapporo, Asahi and Kuronama.

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We ordered the premium course, as it featured a little bit of everything, from scallops to beef to vegetables. We accompanied this with sparkling sake, which was sweet and slightly floral – reminding us of a delicate asti or moscato, but without the tartness. While this was only about 5%, it was all too easy to drink, and we found ourselves getting through two small bottles in no time!

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Kintan offers something new for London, and it certainly beats ramen and sushi for a Japanese meal. Even those who might not otherwise think to try a new Japanese restaurant will find something to their tastes on the restaurant’s diverse and exciting menus.

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For more information, visit kintan.uk.

About Adam Lowe

Adam Lowe is an award-winning author, editor and publisher from Leeds, now based in Manchester. He runs Dog Horn Publishing and is Director and Writing Coordinator for Young Enigma, a writer development programme for LGBT young people.