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Pufferfish at Mahiki Kensington a Full-Blooded Polynesian Culinary Experience

10 Mar Pufferfish at Mahiki Kensington a Full-Blooded Polynesian Culinary Experience

The founders of the iconic Mahiki based in Dover Street, Mayfair, have joined forces with the creators of South Kensington private members’ club Albert’s to launch the eagerly anticipated Mahiki Kensington. I was certainly looking forward to experiencing all that Pufferfish, their destination restaurant, had to offer.

Mahiki Kensington is situated a short walk from High Street Kensington tube station and is nestled amongst upmarket retail shops, restaurants, coffee shops and patisseries. It’s one of West London’s prime locations and a renowned playground for a discerning and affluent crowd.

My guest and I were impressed with the warm greeting we received at Pufferfish and were kindly shown to our table. The restaurant caters for 75 covers and the stylish Tiki decor certainly sets the right tone and mood. As I walked through the dimly lit venue, I was met with a burst of rich, energetic colours adorning the lounge bar area, with cool bamboo themed furniture throughout and palm-tree wallpaper. Wicker hanging baskets made for a calm and relaxed setting.

The dining area offers a number of snug booths making it a perfect spot for couples, however, larger groups are also welcomed. For those guests seeking a more intimate setting, there are private rooms available that cater for 25 people for that all exclusive experience. Our waitress for the evening was Rosella who was very personable and knowledgeable with regards to the variety of dishes on offer, and she kindly guided my guest and I through the inviting menu options.

My dining partner and I perused the cocktail menu which had a fun and varied selection of drinks to choose from. There are great names on the menu too such as Hurricane Hunter, The Night Rattler and Deadbeat Daiquiri to name but a few. My guest went for a Papa Nui Nui cocktail which consisted of Yaguara cachaça blended with homemade papaya syrup, fresh orange and lime, which by all accounts, tasted heavenly. I opted for a delightful Piña colada made up of a dreamy coconut cream and freshly pressed pineapple which was so refreshing.

Rosella had returned to our table with the first of our starter dishes, a beautifully presented Akame tuna tartare with avocado, chives and lemon soy dressing. I really enjoyed this plate for its taste, simplicity and festival of flavours. The avocado and tuna combination mixed seamlessly with the lemon juice and ginger and it didn’t overpower the capers and chives, which popped effortlessly on my palate.

Next up was a delightful signature dish chu toro which came with red oil and chive. This plated creation was well presented, light, easy on my taste buds and went down rather well. This was swiftly followed by a savoury thinly sliced wagyu tataki, doused in a rich garlic soy. This was charmingly arranged on the plate and nicely finished off with a scatter of radish, garnish and herbs.

The rock shrimp tempura is a real crowd pleaser and so moreish that my guest and I couldn’t stop eating them, they were that good. Soft, succulent, divine and with a real spicy kick to them too, we could have ordered another plate of the rock shrimp tempura with ease but did well to quench our temptation.

Another friendly waitress by the name of Sahra served us a well-seasoned tray of spicy yellowfin tuna maki rolls which we really enjoyed. However, it was Sahra’s recommendation of the mouthwatering wagyu and truffle gyoza with onion miso that really hit the spot.

For my main course, I went for the chargrilled lamb cutlets which were served medium to well done, and was marinated with a tantalising Korean chilli and barley miso. My guest opted for the colourful, lemon and soy mustard glazed salmon with mango miso and ikura. This seductive salmon dish was sublimely presented, vibrant and tasted blissful too. For fish lovers, you’ll certainly enjoy the look and taste of this very special platter.

Another fabulous waitress by the name of Ana served my guest and I a Korean bibimbap, which was a fascinating, warm melting pot of mixed stir-fried vegetables, rice and a fried egg which was thoroughly stirred together. By now, my guest and I were full from the feast and hearty portions we were served throughout the evening.

However, we had just enough room to sample dessert which came in the shape and form of a Mahiki Beach. For those food fanatics who enjoy something sweet after a meal, you’ll certainly appreciate this supreme, artistic, blowout of chocolate, caramel, coconut sorbet and berries that are majestically combined and work so well together to create a fabulous pudding. Needless to say, my guest and I left our dessert plate clean, a good sign we really enjoyed this sweet treat.

It’s fair to say that the talented Head Chef at Pufferfish, Sakorn Somboon, formerly of Aqua Kyoto, took us on a culinary journey that fixated on theatrical dishes that gave us a truly memorable experience. I enjoyed Pufferfish immensely, in particular for its gorgeous creative dishes, full flavoured cocktails, Island inspired décor, excellent service and serene atmosphere. In short, a true Polynesian food paradise awaits at Mahiki Kensington.

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