Kibako means wooden box in Japanese.
If you are looking for inspiration about what to name your restaurant, you could do worse. Although naming it after some of the placings would not be my first choice but maybe I should be thankful that it was not called chopstick (I know a place that is), teapot (plenty of those around) or simply kai or knife. Yet all of those are better than Flor, sorry floor.
The front is a fairly constrained shop front leading to a narrow but very deep dining room. Sitting at the back, it felt a bit like a cave, as it was dark and the sound echoed round and round. As for why the decided to go this way, I would guess that the dim ambience was meant to draw diners romantically together. That might work in the early throes of infatuation but after a few years, despite the atmosphere, emotionally positive sparks are hard to produce although not impossible. Although it would also help if the food assisted somewhat.
Running through the dishes from top left, going clockwise and then inwards. Trout sashimi, saba sushi, salmon sushi, picked radish, wasabi, soya sauce, tofu, salmon sashimi, tamagoyaki, mackerel sushi, prawn sashimi, tuna sashimi. This wooden box (yes, that’s probably where they got their name) was colourful and tasty. With so many different things to try, it certainly was full of sensations and led me to expect great things for the rest of the meal.
The seafood was not bad even if let down by a rather meagre portion of wasabi, pickled ginger and soya sauce. One particular point to bemoan was the rather paltry amount of ginger. This is meant to let you clean your palate in between bites. Without it, cross contamination is unavoidable and leads to your egg tasting like fish tasting like tofu.
Grilled mackerel with miso soup, blanched spinach, mushroom rice and pickled vegetables. This is where things (and the fish in particular) started to fall apart. The main course with the mackerel was supposed to be grilled. Sadly, for such an oily fish it was rather dry. Its flesh then managed to weirdly also be a little bouncy and moist. Something that doesn’t really make sense as the flesh was too dry, the inside bouncy, as it seemed to remind me of my own microwave cooking. Not that I’m hinting about anything here. The vegetables were colourful if a bit tasteless. The mushroom rice rather sparing (3 spoonfuls?) and the miso soup over salty.
Parfait? Some weird cream, chocolate and sweet sauce. I do not know where in Japan this comes from. Maybe in some chef’s drug-filled dreams. Then again, perhaps I am being frightfully unkind as although it wasn’t much to look at it, it tasted better than it looked. Although it was nothing special, at least it didn’t poison me or cause me to yell in pain.
This was their fourth day of opening, so I took advantage of their soft launch offer. Without that, it would be more than I would have been willing to pay. With that, it was barely there. So perhaps the name wooden box is apt. As that is sometimes an allusion to a coffin. Let’s see how long it takes for the public to put this restaurant to rest.
A quiet eating 5/10.
Lunch (3 course with 40% soft launch offer) excluding drinks and service was about £40.
3 Windmill St,
London W1T 2HY