AD PR MEAL – Our meal at Kobe Steakhouse & Cocktail Lounge was complimentary.
Kobe Steakhouse & Cocktail Lounge has been a much-anticipated opening in Milton Keynes. A premium, independently owned steakhouse is something that MK’s food scene has been lacking and Kobe certainly fills that gap in the market.It is one of only 10 registered restaurants certified to sell Japanese Kobe and Wagyu beef in the UK – and the only one outside of London! Kobe opened at the beginning of April in Xscape. I went to the launch to get a taste of the food and experience the atmosphere. Alas, always hungry for more, I returned to review Kobe’s full offering with my fellow foodie, Josephine from @gohfeedme. In this blog post, get the lowdown on Kobe and find out why you need to experience it for yourself.
About Kobe Steakhouse & Cocktail Lounge
Kobe Steakhouse & Cocktail Lounge is an independently owned restaurant. It’s located in the old Coal unit in Xscape (at the bottom of the escalators!) so is very central. Kobe is the brainchild of Razvan and Anca Marcu, creators of successful award-winning restaurants French Affaire and Greek Affaire in Stony Stratford.
On entering Kobe, you are truly transported. Every interior detail has been considered. The restaurant is ‘Instagrammable’ with acolour palette of deep greens with accents of gold, lush foliage, plush velvet banquettes and spectacular chandeliers. The restaurant is filled with foliage, the walls adorned with luscious wallpaper.
Most importantly, Kobe Steakhouse & Cocktail Lounge is one of only 10 registered restaurants certified to sell Japanese Kobe and Wagyu beef in the UK. It also happens to be the ONLY one outside of London. Now that is boast-worthy!
Not only are they purveyors of beautiful steak, but Kobe is reviving MK’s nightlife. They have partnered with legendary club brand UltraVegas who provide a musical experience on Friday and Saturday nights. Expect soulful funky house with a heavy sprinkling of disco, plus club classics mixed with Nu disco, Nu groove, digital soul and house beats.
What is Kobe beef?
You may already be familiar with Wagyu beef, which is a Japanese beef. Wagyu is a breed of cattle native to Japan. Wagyu is known for being tender, succulent and ‘melting in the mouth’ thanks to the marbled fat.
Kobe beef is the next level if you like – It is still Wagyu beef but specifically from the Tajima strain of Japanese Black cattle, raised in Japan’s Hyōgo Prefecture. It can only be called ‘Kobe beef’ if it is from this particular strain of cattle and from theHyōgo Prefecture according to rules set out by the Kobe Beef Marketing and Distribution Promotion Association.
This meat is high end and a true Japanese delicacy. It is flavoursome and tender and has a fatty, marbled texture. Kobe’s menu features both Japanese and English Wagyu and a Kobe fillet, all with an extremely high grade. Kobe Steakhouse’s status as one of 10 certified Kobe beef restaurants is marked by a hefty gold trophy displayed at the entrance to the restaurant.
The food at Kobe
The menu at Kobe features several steaks as well as other dishes if steak isn’t your thing. Even if you don’t choose the Wagyu or Kobe beef, the entry-level steaks are still premium Argentinian beef so you are still going to get a delicious cut of meat, superior to other steaks in the area. The menu also features small plates and starters such as sushi and Ceviche. We got to try these dishes at the launch back in April and they were delicious! As with any new restaurant, the menu is under constant scrutiny and development so some dishes may be subject to change.
We kicked off the evening with some cocktails and bread to satisfy our appetite. Josephine chose the Apricot Mango Martini which was a deliciously sweet concoction. I chose the Yuzu cocktail which was a little more savoury with a sharp sweetness that lingered after each sip. It featured gin, vanilla, yuzu and was topped up with soda water.
The Sourdough bread (£4.95) is served warm on a quartz board and features four mini loaves. The flavoured butter is whipped to give a light texture and our butter was infused with Wild Garlic given the season. What’s not to love?
We shared two starters. Josephine’s pick was Scallops (£10.95) which were served with a sweetcorn puree, bacon jam, crispy capers, chive oil and crispy bacon. Scallops and bacon are a match made in heaven – Smooth, earthy, buttery scallops paired with salty bacon… Yum! The bacon jam was the star of the show though, fulfilling both sweet and savoury flavours.
My choice was the Smoked Duck Breast (£9.95) which we both loved. It arrived under a glass cloche to keep the smoke in which was then lifted by the waiter to reveal a stunning arrangement. Tender, smokey slithers of duck breast served with celeriac puree, toasted hazelnuts, roasted figs, fennel and spring onion. I loved the contrast of nutty, earthy flavours paired with fruity and sharp elements. The fennel worked really well and cut through the rich flavours.
Both starters were total winners and we were left very excited for the main event…
We wanted to sample a non-steak dish as I know not everyone loves steak. Josephine chose the Rack of Lamb (£23.95) which was served with asparagus, pea puree, roasted silverskin onion, chive mash and chimichurri. This dish worked incredibly well and was packed with fresh flavours. The chimichurri was a surprising addition to the dish but married the flavours together so well. I loved the chive mash as well, so fresh, flavoursome and smooth!
I ordered the Truffled Cauliflower Cheese (£4.95) to go with my steak. It was a huge side, so well worth sharing. It had just the right amount of truffle in to give it a lift, and plenty of gooey cheese on top.
Okay, NOW we can talk about steak! We ordered the English Wagyu (£21 per 100g). The English Wagyu is an A5 Grade 7. So what the heck does that mean!? Well, A5 is the highest grade for Wagyu. It means it is firm but with a fine texture thanks to the marbling. The other score is based on the quality of the meat and is on a scale of 1 (being very poor) to 12 (being excellent!) In case you were wondering, 7 is very good.
At £21 per 100g, this is one of Kobe’s most affordable premium steaks on the menu. Having enjoyed starters and sides, 200g of the English Wagyu is just fine. It is rich meat so many find that more is too much. This steak is served medium rare and it was perfectly cooked with a caramelised, salty crust. The meat itself was buttery soft and so easy to cut. The flavour is almost indescribable – but it is like no other steak you have had anywhere else!
We were also very lucky to get to try the Kobe fillet! The Kobe fillet is A5 Grade 11 (so this is insanely high-quality meat!) It is also the most expensive cut on the menu, at £85 per 100g. In London, this can exceed £100 per 100g. Texture-wise, the Kobe fillet is very similar to the Wagyu, but much silkier. The flavour is completely different. It is richer with far more depth. If you can, do give it a try!
Medium rare is recommended for any of the steaks if you want to experience the optimum flavour and texture of the beef!
The steaks are served with a portobello mushroom, fries and grilled tomatoes. We also tried the mushroom sauce which was such a delicious addition.
For dessert, we shared the Trio of Chocolate cake. We didn’t manage to eat the whole thing! But this decadent layered chocolate cake was the perfect way to finish our meal. Created by the baker at French Affaire, this is a real WOW dessert that you can enjoy with a group.
The brilliant Tracey from T.Sweetmap supplies Kobe’s other desserts. We sampled some on the launch night! It’s great to see a local restaurant supporting other local businesses.
Final thoughts on Kobe
Kobe Steakhouse & Cocktail Lounge is well worth a visit! Despite just opening, it is already making a name for itself in the MK food scene and is set to become a great destination. Not only is the food and interior amazing, but the service was excellent too. Our waiter for the evening was Dan, and he was just fantastic. Attentive, friendly and knew exactly what we’d enjoy on the menu.
I am already planning my next visit to Kobe… It’s the perfect date night destination or for a night o the cocktails with the girls.
Find Kobe Steakhouse & Cocktail Lounge Unit 18b, Xscape Milton Keynes, 602 Marlborough Gate. Milton Keynes, MK9 3XS. To book a table and view the menu, visit kobe-restaurant.co.uk.
Will you be visiting Kobe Steakhouse & Cocktail Lounge?
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DISCLAIMER: This meal was complimentary in return for an honest review on my blog. This does not affect my opinion. Click here for my full disclosure policy.
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