After you are seated at Le Bon Kushikatsu, either at the long wooden counter that runs the length of the restaurant, or at one of a few small tables at the back of the room, the chef presents the menu in a little wooden box. Everything in the box will be speared, deep-fried and served fresh from the fryer.
After a salad starter, made from the crunchiest cabbage, carrots and cucumber, the skewers started arriving one by one. The first was a lightly seasoned vegetable gélé that melts in your mouth. It’s hard to describe, but if you can imagine what deep-fried vegetable soup might be like (difficult I know, and I’m Scottish), you’ll be almost there. It had all the flavours of a fragrant vegetable broth and the crunchy consistency of a croquette.
Next to emerge from the spitting oil was a shitake mushroom coated with chicken liver, quickly followed by a fried aubergine bite. Once you’ve had your aubergine breaded and fried—crunchy on the outside, creamy on the inside—you’ll never want it any other way again.
The skewers kept coming. There was zucchini with foie gras; the surprising combination of a fish filet wrapped around a cube of emmental cheese; the sweetest prawn I’ve ever tasted and a spicy sundried tomato béchamel ball. Each one was plunged into the pot of boiling oil for a few seconds and then presented to us (in his very best English) by the chef himself. Between courses (the first skewers were vegetabley, the next lot fishy and the third round meaty) we were given palate cleansers. One was potato gnocchi with a sour plum centre. The other was a small bowl of noodles in a miso broth. Having something starchy and comparatively plain in between fried bites was very welcome and readied us for more. After we’d been through all of the pieces from the menu box, the time came for dessert. The first was an oozy fried-chocolate ball. For the final mouthful we could choose from a selection of three. I went for the zingy mandarin and ginger sorbet and was only a tiny bit jealous of Mr a Little Piece of Paris’s velvety fried ice cream.
I love it when when there is an element of theatre involved in eating out. The chef kept us entertained with his cooking and expressive descriptions of the food, while making sure our glasses were regularly topped up. Head to Le Bon Kushikatsu for a special occasion, a fun night out or just because you’re in the mood for something different. There were a lot of Japanese people there having dinner—a good sign—and judging from snippets of overheard conversation, a fair few regulars, too. Ask to be seated at the counter for that live spectator experience.
Watch the chef in action here: http://www.kushikatsubon.fr/kushikatsu.html