Kintan is a little deceiving from the outside - quite narrow and simple. Once you walk through the door it's completely different. Cozy booths, modern decor and surprisingly spacious with the dining area split across two floors. The kitchen is open which I always think is a good sign as you can have a bit of a nosy at what's going on in there!
We were seated downstairs and started to try to make sense of the menu. I was a bit confused. I've not been to a BBQ like this before so it took me a while to figure out which bits would come to us cooked and which ones we would have to grill ourselves. Luckily the menu had a step by step guide which cleared things up for me!
Our timing was pretty good - we got there at around 6pm which just happened to be within their "happy hour" so were able to take advantage of some of their discounted dishes. Oh and beer. Cheap beer!
The happy hour menu was massive. Ten soups and salads, 30-odd appetisers, 20 different types of meat for the grill, seafood, noodles, rice, veggies...not to mention the sharing options!
I wasn't overly hungry so ordered a couple of starters, mushrooms and rice. Mr Jones started with chicken gyoza followed by spicy chicken and Japanese wagyu beef kiriotoshi, both to be grilled at the table.
My wakame seaweed salad was spot on - crunchy sesame seeds, a light soy dressing with a hint of sesame oil...
The spicy tofu was a little bland even though it was topped with kimchi and a spicy sauce. I'm happy to eat plain silken tofu on its own but the size of it didn't seem balanced with the amount of sauce and didn't get much flavour or spice from the sauce.
As we both ordered garlic fried rice they served the two portions together. Our waiter brought the rice out with an egg yolk on top which he then stirred in at the table. The thick metal bowl it was brought to us in was sizzling hot which cooked the egg and crisped up some part of the rice that were touching the sides.
As I wanted to keep my meal a little light I opted for the assorted mushrooms - eringi, shiitake, portobello and white mushrooms drizzled in what I *think* was a miso dressing.
And then it was time - the grill was switched on. Small things amuse small minds, right?! Within minutes I could feel the heat radiating off my face. Using the special tongs on the table I placed my mushrooms on the grill and they instantly started sizzling. Mr Jones' chicken and beef made an even bigger sizzle and as the grill was so hot, the meat started smoking within a minute.
The charred lines on the mushrooms from the grill added a really lovely smokey flavour which went beautifully with the garlic rice.
After the first round of grilling I did feel like my face was going to melt and the smoke started going in my eyes. I was so distracted by actually eating that some of the mushrooms I'd put on the grill may have been a little over-grilled.
I did enjoy my meal but left feeling as though because I'd been paying attention to the grill so much I couldn't focus enough on what I was actually eating. Was I doing it wrong? There are many more Korean BBQs in the capitol so maybe I need to get out to some and practice more? Suggestions are welcome!
Kintan Japanese BBQ
34 – 36 High Holborn
020 7242 8076
Wakame seaweed salad - £2.00
Spicy tofu - £3.00
Assorted mushrooms - £5.00
Garlic fried rice - £6.00
(Happy hour prices)
*we paid for our meal in full, ourselves and were not asked to review Kintan but my opinions of the place are all mine and entirely entirely true!