The Perfect Date Night: This Vibrant Japanese Eatery is Bound to Impress

Here at YCB, we’re fond of a Sunday roast, an occasional beef wellington, and of course, a fish and chips. However, when it comes to a quirky date night, a lively evening with friends, or simply just venturing away from traditional British cuisine, Japanese restaurants always prevail. The ambience, the fresh food, the sake – Japanese cuisine makes for a unique and special evening, whether it’s shared with a new spark, a special someone or a group of colleagues.

However, today, we seem to be spoiled for choice. How can we know which places are those that maintain the authentic standard of high quality recipes, freshly prepared dishes, and of course, that unmistakably vibrant atmosphere? Fear not, we headed to Kibou in Battersea and can confirm that it lives up to expectations.

You’ll spot it from a distance – Kibou’s front door is accentuated by a flamboyant, ancient cherry blossom tree. As you make your way through the restaurant, you’ll notice that the entrance is a reflection of what’s to come. The interior is decorated in a vibrant Japanese style, one that you can’t resist taking a photo of; with ceilings draped in the same vivid cherry blossom (the national flower of Japan), indoor foliage greeting you at every corner and walls covered in eye-catching murals of Japanese streets. Take it all in and prepare to be transported to an eatery in the centre of Tokyo.

One of the more recent Japanese restaurants on the scene, it comes as no surprise that after opening in Battersea just a few years ago, Kibou soon became one of South West London’s favourite spots for a ramen and sushi fix. We arrived on a Wednesday evening to a thriving restaurant filled to the brim. The location is set on a quiet, residential street. However, inside, the hustle and bustle of eager customers remained throughout the entire duration of our meal. (In other words, we would recommend booking.) Why, you ask? It may have something to do with the warm, friendly atmosphere, the very aesthetic interior, and of course, the extensive, fresh menu of classic and contemporary Japanese hot food and sushi.

Needless to say, the food lives up to authentic Japanese standards. In their own words, Kibou pride themselves on making every single dish by hand, and to a recipe that sparks as many memories as it does taste buds.

There’s plenty to choose from, whether that be one of the fresh platters of sushi selected by the chef, Jo Moriawase, or a steaming bowl of tasty ramen. Also on the menu is a freshly prepared katsu curry, pillowy steamed bao buns and a fresh selection of poke bowls.

As we nibbled on our initial dish of succulent edamame beans, we knew we were in for a treat. For our mains, we opted for the platter of sushi which included 4 pieces of deliciously light sashimi, nigiri, and a California Roll. As well as this, we chose the Chicken Nanban Ramen – a hearty bowl of fresh ingredients such as a tea-stained boiled egg, bamboo shoots, pak choi, and spring onion, all in a lightly battered chicken thigh broth that could warm up any rainy London day.

The menu caters to dietary needs, so whether you’re on a gluten-free, vegan, or vegetarian diet, just know you’re in safe hands.

As for the beverage menu, consider yourself spoilt for choice. You’ll find an ambitious selection of Japanese whisky and sake along with Japanese brewed beers, high-balls and signature Japanese-inspired cocktails. With margaritas boasting a lemongrass zest, a wasabi kick, and a coconut indulgence, Kibou’s extensive list of cocktail specials is designed to delight a variety of taste buds.

For those designated drivers, fear not. There are low and non-alcoholic options too that are equally as inviting.

Blessing Battersea with the taste of Tokyo, we can confirm that KIBOU is a must for any sushi or ramen lover in London, as well as those looking to give Japanese cuisine a whirl for the first time. Don’t take it from us, book a table today and discover the hype for yourself!

Josie Wilkins

Josie is a Journalism graduate from Galway, Ireland. In her free time, she writes for her blog, Naturally Fuelled (@josiewilkins on instagram). When she isn't writing, she enjoys playing the one song she knows on the piano, 'I Giorni', saving the postman from her aggressive Shorkie, and defending brussels sprouts as an all-year-round snack!