Some restaurants arrive with a bang. Others with the merest stutter.
Katsu Kitchen in Moseley falls into the latter category.
There was no great hullabaloo when it opened a couple of months ago and there’s been no great buzz since.
Early problems with the liquor licence suggested a restaurant that was finding its feet.
All of which filled me with few expectations when I turned up for a midweek meal with my family.
But I left with a great deal of warmth towards the delightfully informal Katsu Kitchen, which serves flavoursome, hearty and skilfully prepared Japanese food at a fantastic price.
The surroundings – pared back, rugged but smartly conceived – are pleasant in an urban chic kind of way. There’s an open plan kitchen and long shared tables.
Service was never anything less than charming and efficient.
Four of us shared a platter of vegan maki rolls – crunchy vegetables in nicely seasoned, densely packed rice bound by seaweed.
These were tasty little bites, especially dipped in soy sauce and accompanied by wasabi and pickled ginger.
The menu is short and simple and, though there are a few other options, concentrates on Japanese curries and donburi – rice bowls – featuring meat, fish or vegetable slices that have been crumbed and deep-fried.
The tonkatsu donburi that I choose was a satisfying dish – easy on the eye and pleasing to eat.
The pork beneath the properly crunchy coating was tasty, tender and moist. It had been precisely cooked.
Beneath lay rice that was good and sticky and there was a garnish of crisp chopped vegetables, sharp pickle, boiled egg and Japanese brown sauce that added a good tang.
Elsewhere, my wife and sons were equally chuffed by their donburi and curry dishes.
This is a place that seems to have been quietly going about its business since opening – sharpening and expanding its menu, sorting out its booze licence and ensuring that its dishes are as easy on the palate as they are on the wallet.
It took me weeks to get round to finally visiting this newcomer, even though it’s almost on my doorstep.
I suspect it will become a go-to place whenever I want freshly-prepared, filling food at a great price in a place whose owners genuinely care about what they’re doing.
Need to know
Main courses are mostly less than £10.
There are plant-based options.
The short drinks list includes wine and beer.
Check the website for opening times.
2 Woodbridge Road, Moseley, Birmingham B13 8EJ. 0121 449 1113.