Kitsu, Royal Tunbridge Wells

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Kitsu, Royal Tunbridge Wells

Other Asian Restaurant - Address: 82a Victoria Rd, Tunbridge Wells TN1 2PW

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Review of "Kitsu, Royal Tunbridge Wells"

published 08/11/2017 | Nymphypig
Member since : 14/05/2015
Reviews : 323
Members who trust : 67
About me :
Pro Fantastic fresh japanese food in generous portions
Cons Cash only payment, unlicensed, on quite a busy road
Value for Money
Standard of Menu
Standard of Service

"A hidden gem worth going out of your way for."

Front - Tempura Philly Maki
Back - Salmon Skin Uramaki

Front - Tempura Philly Maki Back - Salmon Skin Uramaki

When I woke up this morning, for some reason the only thought in my mind was that I really, REALLY wanted sushi. Not a problem if you live in a big cosmopolitan city, slightly more difficult if you live in a sleepy little seaside town.

Luckily, I knew of a fantastic little Japanese restaurant in Royal Tunbridge Wells that I'd visited a handful of times in the past, and as RTW offers some excellent shopping I decided to combine christmas present shopping with satisfying my craving and hopped on a train.

82A Victoria Rd, Tunbridge Wells TN1 2PW

01892 515510

Open 12-3, 5.30-10 daily except Sunday.

First Impressions

I first found Kitsu quite by accident around 6 years ago when my boyfriend and I were visiting some of his friends who had a flat share in one of the small villages near Royal Tunbridge Wells, and we decided that as I'd never been to the town before, we'd arrive a few hours early to allow me to explore the town.

Location wise, Kitsu is located up a side street, just behind the car park entrance to the Royal Victoria shopping arcade. It's really not much to look at from the outside - in fact, it looks less like a restaurant, and more like the kind of small cafe where you might expect to get a greasy fry up. It was purely by chance that we saw the word 'Sushi' out of the corner of our eye, and both being fans of Japanese food decided to give it a go

As we turned to go in that first time all those years ago, we hit our first minor snag in that there was a sign on the door stating the restaurant only takes cash, so we had to take a detour to the shopping centre to withdraw some funds. Luckily, we've always remembered since to take money out beforehand!

Inside, the small and intimate space is very simple - wood laminate floors, simple square red tables that seat two, but can be pushed together and pulled apart to offer some flexibility in the small space. Each table simply topped with side plates, napkins, chopsticks, and of course a bottle of soy sauce and a furikake shaker. At the end near the door is a small counter topped with a small display fridge where you can see the large pieces of fresh tuna and salmon used in the sushi, also at this end is the entrance to the small but serviceable toilet. It's all very clean, neat and tidy, and hasn't really been decorated in such a way as to make it obviously a Japanese restaurant, aside from one or two lucky cats at the counter.

Todays Visit

For today's visit, I was on my own. Usually, I wouldn't eat alone at a restaurant but instead opt for a pub or cafe if I was hungry, but a combination of having visited before, and the more relaxed, informal, almost cafe-like atmosphere inside meant I was quite happy to pop in and ask for a table for one. Although at the time of my visit (around 12.40) Kitsu was quite busy, a space was promptly found for me, excess tableware removed and a menu popped in front of me. Already knowing what I wanted to drink (Jasmine Tea) I requested this and it arrived promptly.

I was given plenty of time to browse the menu, and the friendly waiter did tell me to let him know if I needed any help deciding what to eat. I can see why some people might - it's an impressively large looking menu, although once you realise that 8 items in a row might actually be the same thing just with a different fish or veg filling, it simplifies. There is an impressive variety of sushi and sashimi to choose from, with your usual salmon, tuna and prawn offerings but also some slightly more unusual ones - Yellowtail Kingfish, Bream, and Surf Clam all being present. Sushi dishes can be ordered individually, but there also set meal options in various sizes available.

As well as the sushi and sashimi, there were also a range of simple hot dishes and dim sum, including stir fried noodles, ramen bowls, and don bowls. Being fairly hungry, I opted for one hot main and two sushi dishes. For sushi, I went with the crispy salmon skin uramaki (inside out roll, with the seaweed inside the rice) at £4.20 for 6 pieces and the tempura philly maki (round roll with rice inside and seaweed outside) at £4.60 for 6pc, and for the main I opted for the braised pork don (rice bowl) at £8.50.

I didn't have to wait long for my food. Within about ten minutes my two sushi dishes were presented to me, and they were mouth-watering. The salmon skin in the uramaki was crisp and savoury, perfectly balanced by the mild nutty flavour of the avocado and the slight tang from the japanese mayo dot on the top.

The tempura philly makui though was AMAZING. Creamy philadelphia and fresh raw salmon, rolled up in seasoned sushi rice, then wrapped in seaweed, dipped in a tempura batter and then very briefly deep fried so that the batter forms a whisper thin crunchy layer yet the salmon stays raw. Absolutely melt in the mouth delicious.

Then my main came. A generous heap of boiled rice, bok choy, braised pork so wondefully tender and moist it was almost falling apart as I picked it up with my chopsticks, with a teriyaki sauce over the top and garnished with thinly sliced spring onions. Simple, but hearty and filling, and very comforting on a cold november day.

Portions are generous - I ate two pieces of each sushi and the whole of the pork dish and was totally replete, taking the rest home in a plastic container helpfully provided by the waiter for the boyfriend to munch on after work.

I was given plenty of time to enjoy my food, and service was unobtrusive - nobody asking if everything was ok every five minutes, or putting the bill down the minute I laid down my chopsticks.

My bill came to £18.80, which I consider very good value for food I absolutely enjoyed, especially as the portions are generous, with the sushi being more than a mouthful per piece and a good amount of leftovers to be enjoyed later.

Are there any downsides? Well, the cash only thing is a minor inconvenience, as I much prefer to pay by card for most things as it makes tracking spending easier. Some people may be a little put off by the fact that the restaurant is unlicensed, although you can bring your own alcohol (apologies, I don't know what the corkage charge is, never having done this). The fact that it is on quite a busy side street with a view of a multi storey car park might also put some people off.

But not me. I loved the restaurant when I first stumbled across it 6 years ago, and every time I came down to stay with Phills parents in Bexhill after that I'd try to go to Kitsu at least once. I really think it's fantastic, and consider it well worth going out of my way to eat there. 4 stars, one off for having to take money from the machine each visit.

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Comments on this review

  • jb0077 published 16/11/2017
  • Angel19819 published 13/11/2017
  • euphie published 13/11/2017
    e :o)
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Product Information : Kitsu, Royal Tunbridge Wells

Manufacturer's product description

Other Asian Restaurant - Address: 82a Victoria Rd, Tunbridge Wells TN1 2PW

Product Details

Address: 82a Victoria Rd, Tunbridge Wells TN1 2PW

Type: Other Asian Restaurant

Country: England

City: Royal Tunbridge Wells

Continent: Europe

County: Kent


Listed on Ciao since: 12/02/2017