I’ve always been partial to Japanese food … I love the cleanliness of it, it feels indulgent and healthy in equal measures. So hearing that Kibou had opened the doors to a new restaurant in Solihull meant it went straight to the top of my must-try list.
I’d heard good things about this new eatery; taking pride of place on the high street in the town’s growing restaurant quarter, Kibou promises to take diners on a culinary adventure to Japan and I’m glad to say it didn’t disappoint. The décor is stunning, from the beautiful Oriental textiles and hand-painted wall murals to the high-top open sushi bar it manages to be stylish and modern while maintaining a strong nod towards its more traditional heritage.
Our table was tucked away in corner, offering a more intimate experience. We were greeted by the wonderfully friendly Maddi who checked if we had eaten here before, before offering to guide us through the dishes available. The menu is literally bursting with mixed sushi sharing platters, delicately hand sliced to order sashimi, traditional hand-pressed nigiri and signature sharing sushi rolls. Alongside these there’s bowls of ramen, crisp tempura, a selection of steamed bao buns and handmade gyoza. Enough to please even the pickiest of eaters.
As we nibbled our way through a bowl of wasabi peas (yes, the ones that make your nose tickle) we opted for a feast of dishes that included a Nasu Dengaku of charred aubergine with a caramelised sweet miso glaze, Wakame seaweed salad with mirin dressing, avocado Hosomaki sushi rolls and Sashimi Moriawase. Each dish was beautifully presented – the sashimi was especially Instagram-worthy – and the fact we cleared everything on our table was testament to just how tasty they all were. The Nasu Dengaku in particular was just delicious, while the sushi was the perfect light accompaniment. My partner happily worked his way through his sashimi plate, brimming with the freshest tasting raw fish including salmon, tuna, prawns, scallops and mackerel – ideal either as a share or as a healthy main for one.
My highlight was the Japanese Garden desert … chocolate ganache topped with sesame mousse and finished with chocolate “soil”. Two words? Oh my! The layer of sesame mousse was pudding perfection. Other desert choices include matcha creme brûlée, mini cinnamon and apple gyoza, and a yuzu curd topped mascarpone cheesecake, and I imagine every one of them was just as tasty. There’s also an impressive drinks list to accompany your food; inspired by Japanese flavours it includes a variety of sake (including a four-glass sake flight), whiskies, brewed beers and Kibou’s signature cocktails.
The Monday lunchtime we visited it was lovely to see just how busy this new venture was. It was also good to see many families dining with young children, and there is a well-priced kids’ menu offering mini versions of bento boxes, the classic Katsu curry, ramen and poke bowls. For vegans, there’s a separate menu offering an impressive range of plant-based options too.
For me, what makes Kibou stand out is the fact it works just as well as a bustling lunchtime spot with friends as it would for a romantic night out. It’s the prefect place if you’re looking to dip your toe in Japanese cuisine – sharing plates mean you can try a wide variety of dishes – yet it’ll more than satisfy those with a long-held passion for such food.
You’ll find Kibou at 134 High Street, Solihull, and it’s open daily from 12pm-11pm . To book, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0121 387 2400. For more details and to check out the menus you can visit the website here.