We try the new menu at a tucked away restaurant in Bristol - including the 'luxurious' £10.50 coffee

Kibou also serves a range of sushi, teriyaki, sake and cocktails

Kibou Japanese kitchen and bar has become a firm part of the ever-changing Clifton Village food scene since it opened in 2021.

Housed in what was once the Nettle & Rye pub (and, for those with longer memories, The Hophouse before that), it’s tucked away off the main drag in the heart of Clifton Village.

Part of a small chain founded in Cheltenham in 2019, the Bristol site has now been joined by restaurants in Battersea, Solihull and Cambridge. I’m sure there are plenty of other towns and cities in the pipeline for this fast-expanding brand, which seeks to put Japanese food into the mainstream.

Styled on Tokyo bars, Kibou features colourful frieze panel murals and projector animations depicting Japanese life and street scenes.

Set across two floors, the bar and restaurant has a range of intimate dining areas, a spacious lounge, standalone marble decked bar, and open sushi kitchen with high top seating.

The décor has a range of natural stone, wood and marble finishes against a backdrop of traditional Japanese block print fabrics, neon signage and dramatic lighting.

Until last week, I hadn’t eaten at Kibou for a while but the reason for the overdue return was to try the new set lunch menu.

Priced at £12.50 for one course and £18.50 for two courses, the new lunch menu is served Monday to Friday from 12pm to 3.30pm and features a sort of ‘greatest hits’ of Kibou favourites and best-sellers.

There are six starters and sharers, including Nasu Dengaku (charred aubergine with a caramelised sweet miso glaze, sesame and spring onion) and salmon and avocado Uramaki (five pieces of California roll). Large plates include three types of ramen, two versions of the katsu curry and two poke bowl options.

I started with Dynamite Cauliflower, a generous dish of cauliflower florets marinated in sake and chilli, served with sweet and spicy dipping sauce. The cauliflower was crisp on the outside and tender within and the marinade had a gentle amount of spice.

It was followed by the chicken katsu curry - fat fingers of panko breadcrumbed chicken in a rich and spicy curry sauce with a dome of piping hot steamed rice and crunchy Japanese pickles.

We also tried a few new dishes off the main menu, the highlights being the sweet and sticky teriyaki duck and cucumber tacos (£7) and the light and crunchy soft shell crab inside a pillow-soft bao bun (£8.40).

To finish, we shared the apple gyoza (£8) - crisp, bite-size parcels of apple and cinnamon with vanilla ice cream and salted caramel sauce.

And if you really want to end the meal with a bang, try the Japanese coffee, which is essentially an Irish coffee with Japanese Nikka whiskey mixed into the hot, sweet coffee beneath a cold layer of cream. 

OK, it costs £10.50 but on a drizzly spring lunchtime, it was as luxurious and comforting as a cashmere pullover. But then, on a midweek afternoon, anything goes in Clifton Village, darling.

Scroll through for more pictures of Kibou.

Kibou, 16 King's Road, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 4AB. Tel: 0117 4502930.

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