10 brilliant reasons to dine at Cheltenham's original Japanese restaurant

Known for being Cheltenham's original Japanese restaurant, KIBOU is a must-visit spot for Gloucestershire foodies, with SoGlos rounding up 10 reasons to dine at the much-loved eatery to celebrate its 10th birthday.

By Zoe Gater  |  Published
KIBOU Cheltenham is celebrating 10 years of business in 2023.

First opening its doors to hungry guests back in August 2013, independent Cheltenham sushi bar and restaurant, KIBOU, continues to provide diners with a finely crafted selection of freshly rolled and hand pressed sushi and sashimi sharing platters, click and collect options and hot Japanese cuisine, celebrating 10 years of business in 2023. 

To commemorate its 10th birthday, SoGlos shares 10 reasons to visit 'Cheltenham's original Japanese restaurant'. 

It's proudly independent

One of the first Japanese restaurants in Gloucestershire, KIBOU Cheltenham originally started life in a small basement restaurant on Regent Street.

Since then, the independently owned venue has gained a brilliant reputation for its fresh Japanese food and even taken home some awards, too. With plenty of happy, returning customers, the business moved to its much larger current home in 2020 - just a few doors down from the original KIBOU - bringing its delicious menu to many more people in an utterly spectacular setting. 

Its impressive selection of freshly-prepared sushi

Diners are spoiled for choice at KIBOU, with its impressive sushi menu spanning a large variety of freshly rolled hosomaki, futomaki and temaki, hand pressed nigiri and fresh sashimi. 

KIBOU signatures include the Volcano Roll, a 10-piece futomaki featuring salmon, avocado and tobiko, dipped in tempura batter, fried and drizzled with special KIBOU sauces; an eight-piece sirloin of beef tataki and truffle nigiri with tempura flakes and chives; and jo moriawase, a 20-piece mixed selection of sushi and sashimi hand selected by the chef. 

Masterfully mixed cocktails

With Asian-inspired cocktails aplenty, visitors can sip on classic drinks including the Singapore Sling which combines gin, benedictine, cherry, pineapple, lemon and bitters; and the Whisky Mac, made up of Toki whisky, King's Ginger liqueur, sugar and lemon; as well as Japanese highballs; sharing cocktails; and sake mixed drinks. 

Plus, visitors can try out one of KIBOU's signature cocktails, such as the Umetini; Kakuteru; Okinawa punch; or even the self-titled 'The Kibou', which combines gin, bergamot, lychee liqueur, rose vermouth, bitters, lime and sugar.  

Award-winning service

With friendly, attentive and knowledgeable staff, talented chefs and speedy service, it's no wonder the vibrant day-to-night eatery has won over diners across the county for both the food and the experience. 

KIBOU even took home the coveted SGGLA Restaurant of the Year award in 2021, beating stiff competition to the top spot. 

Fabulous interiors

With beautiful cherry blossoms and foliage adorning the restaurant entrance; dramatic lighting; striking digital artwork; the original KIBOU mural copied onto a tiled wall; as well as incorporating the original sign from the basement restaurant; KIBOU's beautiful interior is inspired by stories of life in Japan.

The restaurant also features a variety of seating options, from secluded booths to sunken tables to give the illusion of authentic Japanese floor-level seating, as well as a lavish private dining room for up to 10 guests.

Afternoon tea with a Japanese twist

Usually considered a quintessentially British affair, KIBOU offers its very own afternoon tea with a unique Japanese twist.

Rather than finger sandwiches and scones, diners can indulge in a selection of delicate tasters of the restaurant's most popular dishes including sushi, sashimi and traditional Japanese sweet treats - such as the popular mochi ice cream and custard dorayaki - all served on an impressive three-tiered stand. High tea is served with a choice of Japanese teas and infusions, with a ceremonial matcha tea option, plus cocktails, sake or champagne.

Hearty hot food options

If you're in the mood for something hot, you're in luck! KIBOU's menu serves up an equal ratio of sushi and hot dishes, with many of the meals focusing on sharers - ideal for couples, families and groups.

The expansive offering features a variety of dishes with rich flavours such as agedashi tofu which is gently fired tofu served with warmed tempura sauce, toasted nori, spring onion, mooli and bonito flakes; pork gyoza, which are all handmade each day in the kitchen; pillowy bao buns with a range of fillings including succulent chicken karaage, crisp ebi (prawn) and vegetable tempura; along with classic don buri, delicious ramen and its signature katsu curry.

Spectacular private dining room

When you're hosting a party, event, or even a family get-together, KIBOU can provide a brilliant backdrop whatever the celebration, with exclusive use of its private dining room. 

The space can accommodate up to 10 seated guests - and it doesn't require a booking fee! Alternatively, the restaurant also has a selection of semi-private dining areas available, too. 

Delicious veggie and vegan options

If you're completely meat-free, or simply want to add some plant-based deliciousness into your diet, KIBOU has an extensive range of veggie, vegan and gluten-free options on its menu - including a brand-new vegan version of its famous volcano roll! 

Diners can choose from small dishes such as avocado and grilled red pepper hand-pressed nigiri and kimchi hosomaki; to larger plates including yasai ramen, kabocha korokke katsu curry and yaki udon; finishing off with sweet treats such as apple gyozas and a selection of sorbets. 

Great options for kids

KIBOU's kids' menu features all of the classics, from veggie tempura and Japanese fried chicken, to katsu curry and ramen - as well as a kids' bento box. The menu even doubles up as a piece of origami to keep little ones entertained!

Plus, sushi-loving little ones can get in on the action with an ample selection of freshly-prepared sushi and sashimi, too. 

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