Kiko restaurant is one of these tiny restaurants which are so easy to miss, but you really shouldn’t, because it’s lovely. Simply decorated, a homely atmosphere, an intimate space that fits no more than 20 guests. The menu is a set menu of 4 dishes for 35 euro: two small “mise en bouche” – starters as the chef pleases to make and one starter and main course to choose from four different options. With every meal there’s also miso soup and perfumed rice which were given to us at the end of the meal rather than what we’re used to. There’s also a very elaborate Saké list. To avoid having to choose from it (as we know nothing of Saké) we chose a combination of three different Sakés pairing to go with our food.
The staff were really nice in their shy way, and we started our meal comfortably. First came a small bite-size dish of Marinated Tataki Beef with some green leaves. The beef was rare and exquisite, the juices accentuated the beef and we really enjoyed having a strong note to begin our meal with. The second surprise dish was a White radish soup with smoked salmon, peas and radishes. Beautifully presented and surprisingly well made with just a hint of smokiness and delicate radish texture. Some colorful oils drizzled on top gave it a deeper dimension. Waiting for the first courses we had the first pairing of cold Saké in a shot glass. It was refreshing but intense, I’m not used to drinking it cold.
For the first courses we chose the Tempura dish: shrimps, soft shell crab and a vegetable (maybe radish?), fried in tempura and accompanied by sweet sauce on the side. Tasty but very simple dish which lacked a bit of character. The second dish we had Chirashi (plate of sashimi) with assortments of vegetables, salmon eggs, seaweed and wasabi soy sauce. A bit too messy for a Japanese dish. The overall result was unbalanced and too salty. Too bad because the fish were of excellent quality and so were all the ingredients. While waiting between courses we got the second pairing of Saké. It was weird not to have it with the food but in-between.
Both main courses were extraordinary. We had the Pot of Fish Marmite, vegetables, champignons, accompanied with Ponzu sauce. Brought to our table in a sizzling clay pot, this dish was exciting, tasty and flavorful. The fish cooked perfectly inside a fragrant and delicious soup with mushrooms and onions. The second choice was a dish of Duck breast marinated in balsamic teriyaki with leeks. This was the French influenced dish, simple and classic, yet very well made and satisfying. With the mains we had a bowl of really nice perfumed rice and a clean miso soup to cleanse the palates. This time, while eating the food we were sipping the third saké – a hot flask this time poured to clay cups. Without noticing we got pretty drunk.
We ordered some dessert (not included in the meal): Black Sesame Crème Brûlée and Green Tea Ice-Cream. Both pretty good – I always love green tea ice-cream. Also the black sesame was a nice twist on the crème brûlée we know, I thought it might have been slightly overcooked but still pretty neat. The other dessert was a “special of the day”: Jasmine and white chocolate Tea Cheesecake with salted caramel and green tea syrup. It was pretty but didn’t quite delivered. The cake was airy nothing like a cheesecake we know and the other things were weird together.
Bottom line: I felt comfortable in this charming little place. The Japanese-French vibe didn’t quite mix in the dishes but I did feel the influences of French cuisine to what was mostly Japanese cuisine. Most dishes can be classified between good and awesome. Some misses in the first courses section but overall we had a very enjoyable night in a very fair price.