London – feasting in Holborn

When logistical issues caused a rethink for my 50th birthday celebrations, my friend Andy came up with this Japanese Yakiniku restaurant (recommended by some of his Japanese friends) as a good plan B. Our friendship started when we were both living in Japan so this was a great choice.

Kintan (High Intermediate B+), 34-36 High Holborn, www.kintan.uk

Yaki Niku means barbecued meat and this is a Japanese take on a Korean BBQ restaurant. You make a communal order of several plates of thinly sliced marinated meats, seafood and other tidbits, and cook them yourselves on a grill set into your table.

At Kintan they have about six different set menus which work out at between £24 and £38 per person depending on how much you want to eat.

Twelve of us had the Matsuri menu…

… which included Miso Soup, Kintan Salad, Spicy Cabbage, Ebi Furai (fried shrimp) and Beef Sukiyaki Bibimbap (rice mixed with veg and egg) as starters.

And for the main barbecue we were served Kalbi (short rib in sweet soy), Harami (skirt steak in miso), Premium Rib Eye in Ponzu, Pork Kalbi Shio (salted ribs), Garlic Tiger Prawns, Chicken Teriyaki and various veggies.

The Kalbi and Harami were listed as USDA Premium, the top level of quality for American beef. This isn’t a patch on Wagyu grading of course but at least you know it’s good meat.

To finish, S’mores (some mores) or chocolate and marshmallow sandwiched between Graham crackers. They’re a campfire classic in the US but you can make them on a grill too.

Queen Street (Intermediate B+), 32 Great Queen St, www.greatqueenstreetrestaurant.co.uk

I occasionally work in Holborn and more often than not I come here for lunch when I do. The food (rustic modern European/British) is good, the staff are friendly and the space has a bit of character.

On weekdays they have a Worker’s Lunch menu where you get two courses for £20 or three for £22, which is very good value for London. Here I got the Gloucester Old Spot and Duck Heart Terrine (A).

And the Morrocan-style Lamb, Mint and Barley was good too (B+). Reviewed 19/01/17.

My Google map for London is here.

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