This post is alllll about my first ever visit to KIBOUsushi and I’m super excited to share it with you. I’ve been living in cheltenham for nearly seven years, where there has been many a restaurant come and go and to be honest this is one of the ones that has passed me by.
I have heard good things, but I’d just always chosen to eat elsewhere as I wouldn’t say sushi is my favourite food. HOWEVER, if like me your prior sushi knowledge is based on ‘yo sushi’ and the little packs you get in Tesco, then look no further. My friend suggested we go here so we made a night of it and it was so worth it.
The restaurant is in one of the basements on regent street, which may be one of the reasons why I’ve missed it in the past. Don’t do what I did and get it confused with a nearby Japanese restaurant – Koj!
Be prepared, it gets booked up. We made a reservation way in advance and even then, we had to wait for them to get back to us to confirm. Luckily we got a spot at about 6pm on a Friday night which was perfect to set us up for a night of drinks. The drinks menu here was fairly limited, only serving one gin (gasp) but that and wine did the trick.
As you walk in, it’s very intimate. There are a small number of tables, lots of staff and a view of the busy kitchen. The host was extremely friendly and I am pleased to say, Japanese! We were seated on the only table available, packed in closely with other diners. This is something that I don’t normally like, but the atmosphere meant it wasn’t so that you felt you were eating with the strangers next to you. It was Christmas time so they had seasonal songs on (and some questionable xmas Dec’s up). The decor was otherwise lovely, and top marks for cleanliness.
My friend (yes, the one who suggested sushi) doesn’t actually like sushi. Well, she doesn’t eat raw fish, so that narrowed down the menu somewhat. This wasn’t such a bad thing, given there’s 1626375373 options. The kind lady did go through it all , including the specials which helped us chose. It’s set out by starters, mains, hosomaki, iso sushi, temaki, nigiri, futomaki, gunkan, sashimi and moriawase. Dont panic, they have a lovely mural above the bar which defines what they all mean in terms of what you’ll get.
We decided to go for the following: tempura king prawns, pork gyoza, pumpkin korroke, California ISO sushi, and teriyaki duck and cucumber FUTOMAKI. We asked for them as and when they were ready, so we grazed as they came out.
So the Vietnamese king prawns were cooked very nicely, the tempura batter was nice and light although it could have done with being slightly more golden. They went well with the kimchi mayo and KIBOUsushi’s own tempura sauce.
The filling in the pork gyoza’s was so tasty. The skins were nice and thin, meaning more of the good stuff and less stodge. They went amazingly with KIBOUsushi’s own gyoza sauce.
The pumpkin croquettes were agreeably our favourite. Ironically, the only veggie dish we ordered but my date had tried them previously and recommended. They came with a lovely tontaksu sauce as well as the famous kimchi mayo.
So let’s talk about the sushi. We went with the choices we did due to the lack of raw fish in them. The crab rolls are what they call inside out sushi, which makes them quite messy to eat. Be warned, you get a LOT, so we did slightly over order. If I’m honest, these sound nicer than they were. I love crab, I love cucumber and I love avocado but I didn’t get a whole lot of flavour so I probably wouldn’t order again, but that’s just my personal preference.
The teriyaki duck and cucumber packed more flavour and the portion size was less intimidating, I know it sounds mad to moan about portion size when you’re paying good money do I do believe in quality not quantity. These are supposed to be eaten whole, not bitten into like we did which causes a whole lot of mess. I’m not a lover of wasabi so I didn’t try that but my date rated the kimchi.
Overall, I would 100% come again. The menu allows for numerous visits and being able to try something new every time. This sort of thing is right up my street because you can have so much variation. Be mindful of how much you’re ordering and try and keep track of how much it’s costing in your head, because it’s easy to rack up.
I look forward to visiting again and particularly trying some sashimi.