From the ground, the Hilton Metropolis in Paddington is a deeply uninspiring spectacle – a grey, clunky mass docked on the frantic Edgware Road. But venture inside, up 23 floors to the top and you will find an intergalactic spaceship with breathtaking views of the London skyline. Or at least that’s the idea anyway.
Kojawan describes itself as a 21st century izakaya, a futuristic take on the informal gastropubs of Japan popular with after-work drinkers. The space lounge interior includes pop art works, swivel pod chairs and multiple video screens displaying Manga-style animated characters.
It is the brainchild of chefs Bjorn Van Der Horst and Omar Romero who both left careers in Michelin-starred venues to launch Kojawan. The menu is a fusion of Korean, Japanese and Taiwanese cuisine as the restaurant’s name suggests.
Before sitting down for food, every Kojawan visitor should have a drink at the bar. The menu is as intriguing as the sweeping panoramic views of the capital. Together they make it a destination bar for any cocktail enthusiast.
Among the list of ‘booze food’ on the bar menu is the Hot Cricket Bombs and Citrus Butter Sauce. The deployment of insect ingredients doesn’t stop with bar snacks. There are also chocolate-coated crickets served with the Alien Cowboy, a cocktail comprising Maker’s Mark Bourbon and Sweet Corn, on the ‘Off The Record’ list. Besides the more zany creations on the cocktails list, there are also old favourites with a Kojawan twist. This includes the Bloody Mary, made up of Stolichnaya Vodka, Tomato Juice, Kimchi Marinade, Wasabi and Seaweed Cigar.
To eat, we were treated to a succession of rounds of popular dishes to sample. This included some of the bar snacks to start, such as the Crunchy Cabbage with Soy, Ginger and Sesame and the Sesame Crackers with Pork Mince Dip.
From the fire stove, we had the Lobster with Black Bun, Seaweed and Cheese, as well as the Fat Noodles with Clams, Sake, Parmesan and Fish Flakes.
We also enjoyed some dishes from the raw bar, including the Rice Sandwich with Spicy Crab and Wakamole, the Stone Bass Poke with Shiso, Jalapeño and Sake and the Suffolk Wagyu Tartar with Pear, Sea Lettuce, Chilli, Sesame Crackers.
From the charcoal oven, we dug into the Beef Cheek with Chilli, Ginger and Sesame, in addition to the Octopus with Lemon and Smoked Red Pepper Oil and the Sticky Pork Belly with Jalapeño Ponzu.
For dessert, we enjoyed Fish Waffles with Blueberries, Black Sesame and Honey Whiskey Cream. There was also a Fluffy Pancake with White Chocolate and Berries, along with Taipei Block, a mix of Peanut Butter, Nuts, Mocha and Rice Sorbet.
Kojawan is a dazzling destination worth seeking out. We just hope it doesn’t get lost in the sky on Edgware Road.
We The Food Snobs x