Kintan, High Holborn

Posted: February 18, 2015 in Food for Thought, Grill, Japanese
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premium kalbi short rib - Kintan, Holborn

Kintan is the first yakiniku-style restaurant to open in High Holborn, London. Yakiniku literally translates into grilled meat and is considered as the Japanese take on the Korean barbecue. This is a style of Japanese BBQ where the diner can order a selection of bite sized meats, seafood and vegetables to be prepared over table grill. The best part of the experience is being interactive with your food and watching it sizzle away just the way you like it.

Kintan - hot oiled seared salmon

Whilst Kintan specialises in grilled meats, there is a selection of appetisers, salads, rice and noodles.  To start we ordered the hot oil seared salmon (£7) which came beautifully served with a house citrus sauce. This sashimi grade salmon simply melted in the mouth as the hot oil gave the salmon a gentle warm sear.

Tuna tartar volcano - Kintan

We also had the tuna tartar volcano (£7), the tuna tartar was prepared with a delicious spicy mayo. This was delicious and fresh but what made this dish really special was the textual contrast of the deep fried rice cracker against the creamy tartar and the addition of caviar sprinkled on top.

tofu chigae - Kintan

The tofu chigae (£10), a spicy tofu stew was served with a combination of ground chicken, kimchee, enoki mushrooms and egg. The base of the stock was enriched with a gorgeous oxtail stock and enhanced with the spicy addition of kimchee and chiage (soybean) paste. The highlight of this dish was the tofu itself, it had the most incredible, delicate and smooth texture I have ever experienced which absorbed the wonderful intense flavours of the broth. Unfortunately, the egg turned out overcooked and rubbery but otherwise this was still a fantastic bowl of soup with great intense flavours.

cheese wontons - Kintan

Another tasty treat, the deep fried cheese sticks wrapped in wonton wrappers (£4) were very moorish with the sweet chilli sauce cutting through that lovely hot melted cheese.

octopus dumplings, takoyaki - Kintan, Holborn

Octopus dumplings – takoyaki (£5) was delicious and filled with generous pieces of octopus meat. I am typically not a fan of takoyaki as they are usually contain a grainy and starchy texture but these were exceptionally good.

garlic fried noodles - Kintan

Unfortunately, our least favourite item on the menu was the garlic fried noodles (£7), we found that the flavours were not as robust nor as excellent as the other dishes.

Moving on to the yakiniku, we sampled a variety of meats and seafood. Overall the quality of the meat was absolutely superb. I’m normally not a fan of BBQ’s in general as they tend to compromise on the quality of meat and seafood but the quality here was nothing short of spectacular. You can really taste it in every mouthful. On top of this, what made the taste of the yakiniku really special was the dipping sauces, my personal favourite was the sweet soy and that lovely grilled flavour that perfumed the meat throughout the cooking process. All together, this truly was a spectacular flavour bomb!

premium kalbi short rib - Kintan, Holborn

chicken thighs - Kintan, Holborn

chicken thighs 2 - Kintan, Holborn

tiger prawns - Kintan, Holborn

We began with the Kalbi premium short rib (£10), the flavour was excellent, high quality and succulent. The chicken thighs (£5) were equally as succulent, tender and tasty. We also enjoyed the prawns (£7) marinated in garlic which came with tonnes of flavour, firm and beautifully textured. We ordered two serves of garlic prawns they were that delicious!

wagyu beef ribloin - Kintan, Holborn

wagyu ribloin - Kintan, Holborn

If you are prepared to get really indulgent, the Japanese wagyu ribloin is the way to go (£24.5). The meat is bursting with flavour and the quality of the wagyu is a cut above the rest given its premium quality. It is lipsmackingly good it is so fat-tastic! The delicious taste of the fatty beef was enhanced with the smokey grill flavour, absolutely sublime.

pork jowl

NZ lamb chops - Kintan, Holborn

We really enjoyed the pork jowl (£7), the pork was gloriously fatty and deliciously marinated with a touch of sesame making it beautifully nutty and aromatic. We also loved the NZ lamb chops(£8). These were so succulent, tender and so full of flavour they did not require any additional sauces. They were beautiful just as they were.

green tea ice cream - Kintan, Holborn

assorted mochi ice cream - Kintan, Holborn

For dessert, we enjoyed the creamy green tea ice cream (£3), this had a rich matcha flavour with that signature bitterness. The assorted mochi (rice cake) ice cream came with sesame, salted caramel and green tea flavour our favourite being the salted caramel mochi. If you have never had mochi ice cream before, it is essentially a pounded sticky rice and inside is an ice cream filling. It is one of my favourite Japanese desserts and they are hard to find! So you must give this a try if you yourself dining at Kintan.

The dining experience is definitely one of the more interesting and unique experiences I have ever had. I sincerely could not fault any of meats from yakiniku menu, they were simply outstanding and the food was incredibly tasty. The service was attentive and completed with care. I also liked how they went to the extra effort to change our grills to ensure that our grilled plates did not become overly charred and burnt. I highly recommend you go for a fun and delicious night out. I can’t wait to go back I am already planning my next visit!


Summary Information:

Food rating: 4.25/5
Service rating: 3.5/5
Value for money: 4/5

Prices: Approx £50 per person excluding drinks and service. There are also some reasonable set price menus on offer too.

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  1. Kalbi short rib is always a favourite for me and you can’t go wrong with deep fried cheese!

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