Category Archives: Japanese

Makiyaki

We love sushi, we really do! Makiyaki in Wimbledon has been on the sushi hit list for a while now so on a hot summers day it was the perfect cuisine to have.

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To start with we had Natsu Agedashi. Loved this dish, we are aubergine fans and love to try dishes belonging to our purple veg pal. The dish consists of pieces of aubergine deep fried in katsu crumbs and served in warm house soya sauce. It was sweet and savoury all at once.

We went all out on the sushi but have to admit it will take weekly visits for about two months till we get through the menu.

01833831aca70cb6c10e236e3e4ab488c62baf2ed5We had the Scallop Volcano which had an eruption of caviar on top. The sushi had scallops as the name suggests, octopus, crab stick, shrimp and red snapper. It was pretty sweet and I just loved the soft texture throughout. It all just melted in your mouth and was such a joy to eat.

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The Kingston was another hit with tempura prawns and chilli. Very yummy and I do love a good crunch in the centre.

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The Salmon Tampura Roll was another favourite with a juicy piece of soft avocado in the centre. I have never had salmon tempura but it just make the fish even more flakey.

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The presentation at Makiyaki I must say needs a bit of work especially when you are competing with the likes of Stick’n’Sushi down the street. I like to think of sushi as an art form and as you can see from the pictures it doesn’t have the high finishing skills we are used to seeing. Nevertheless, the flavours and textures are good.

The staff are lovely and the interior is so quant.

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We do look forward to returning and sampling the other million sushi types on offer at Makiyaki.

Makiyaki
149 Merton Rd, London SW19 1ED

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Sen-Ryo

Okay, so it’s our third meal and we haven’t got any closer to eating Chinese food yet. We keep being blinded by all these other kitch restaurants but we will be dining Chinese style for dinner for sure. 

Having spent the afternoon browsing flower and bird markets in Mong Kok, we were too tired to travel back to Central for lunch.  We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try some sushi so we went with the first open restaurant we could find. You know how we love sushi!!!! Also, being a Street Fighter lover I went crazy at the association with Ryo “adooookin!”.

  
The interior is very traditional with soft lighting and dark wooden cladding everywhere. Seating is a mixture of booths and bar seating which is cosy. Something interesting we found out on our visit was they apparently Hong Kong is full of single female diners and so therefore a lot of the bar seating was actually designed for them. However, don’t be feeling sad for them, these are the Hong Kong power women that have amazing careers and have little time for social hang outs. 

  Sen-Ryo have a bit of an Argos approach to ordering food. You have a catalogue (menu) from which you select dishes from and you simply fill in the sheet and hand it to the waiter and wait for your platters to arrive.   I think we have had some incredible sushi presentation in the past so the presentation was a tad disappointing. Though still nice and appetising.   We had a selection of nice sushi offerings from tuna rolls to jumbo rolls (made with eel here so be careful as eel seems to feature a lot in the sushi of the orient).   A must try is the fried egg which is comes in cubes taste like a sweet omelette.   Another thing to recommend is the tuna sashimi which just melts in the mouth. Actually, saying that all the fish is just stunning and fresh, really makes you question what ‘fresh’ seafood actually is a home. 

  For a meal for 3 it cost a total of 490 Hong Kong dollars meaning about £40 so it was a pretty good spend. 

 
Anyway, next stop must be some Chinese. I’m feeling Shanghaiese in particular. 

Sen-Ryo

Shop 362, 3/F, Moko, 193 Prince Edward Road West Mong Kok.

Tonkichi – Tonkatsu Seafood

  
Our first eat in Hong Kong and what a feast it was. We met our friend and her fiancé for dinner on our first night and they had already decided that this was the place for us to try. Located in the World Trade Centre building it over looks the harbour. If you love fried food and love your katsu then you will love this place as they have ‘katsu-fied’ everything from pork to scallops. For a halal eater like myself I had to be uber carefully and asked them to separate the pork katsu from the rest of the meal. 

  
Tonkatsu Seafood is a lovely intermit dining experience. Diners can sit in the main hall or opt for a cosy booth. The soft lighting adds to the uber relaxed atmosphere which make you forget the hustle and bustle and soaring temperatures outside. 

  
The meals came with sticky Japanese rice and a range of condiments. What was fascinating about this meal was that once you have ordered you are given a bowl of roasted sesame seeds and a number of oils. You are required to crush the sesame seeds with a pestle and mortar and then add the oil which you like the taste of the most to create a paste which you will use as a dip for the rest of the meal for the rice and the katsu. 

   
You are then served a platter of fried goodies which you can dip in the paste you have made or the other condiments on offer. 

  
A meal for four came up to 650 Hong Kong dollars costing you £52 which is incredibly cheap given the location and the fact we were eating fresh oysters and scallops. Great experience for our first meal. 

  

Tonkichi Tonkatsu Seafood 

Shop 412, Podium 4, World Trade Centre, 280 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay

Wagamama

Found on every high street and for good reasons too. I must admit on my first visit to Wagamama I hated it, I was with another person and I just couldn’t get comfortable on their school bench style seating and having to get up close and personal to strangers. It really wasn’t an intimate setting at all so I boycotted it through my teenage years but then fell in love with it after giving it a second chance.

One thing I like about Wagamama is the ever changing menu and the different offerings at different locations. Some places you find sushi other places you find pho. Pan Asian would be the best way to describe this cuisine.

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Some must have starters are their steamed soya beans also known as edamame beans with chilli or garlic salt. Great to nibble on and so fresh. Two more must have starter are the chilli squid, crispy and chewy and packed full of flavour and they serve it with a tangy coriander and garlic dip which enhances the flavours. The last is the gyoza and I mean any of these steamed or fried. On this visit we tried the duck gyoza fried served with a hoi sin sauce. The duck is so juicy and tender which is a skill to achieve with duck as most cooks and foodies will know.

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Number 71 has always been my favourite dish. The Chicken Katsu Curry, as always I asked for extra curry sauce as I like my food to be hot and wet. I have the oddest way to describe this dish yet if you like the two food I am about to say then you will get what I mean. If you are a fan of fried chicken and curry then the Katsu Curry is basically the happy medium between the two. Chicken breast coated in breadcrumbs, topped with rice and smothered in curry sauce, served with a side salads and pickles. I love this dish and just can’t get enough of it. If you are a veggie lover there is a veggie option which is just as good and instead of chicken you get sweet potatoes and aubergines which are under yummy.

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Dishes are served quick so unless you ask for your starters and main course to be served at different times they will arrive as and when each dish is ready if you don’t. So do make this clear when you are placing your order how you will like your dishes served.

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Service is generally pretty slow so don’t be surprised if you have to flag a waiter down to take an order or to get your bill. However, Wagamama are fully aware of this flaw and have recently created an app so that customers can pay for their meal and leave when they are ready.

It’s a cheap yet satisfying dine with huge portion sizes so there is no way you will ever walk away from here hungry. Just be prepared to be a tad annoyed about service should you not have the app.


forkandtalkSomething I have had to ponder was how healthy Wagamama actually is. I’m currently on a mission to lose some weight so am always interested in how many calories are in each dish so I can pop it into my fitness app to keep track of how many calories I am consuming and burning. So for a restaurant that prides themselves on healthy and positive eating hub I didn’t even think this could be an issue for me. After a few clicks on their website in which they proudly display nutritional information I was horrified to find that the Chicken Katsu Curry was a horrific 1147kcal and Elena had beef noodles which came in at 993kcal!!! This made me exceed my daily target of 1400kcal! The chilli squid is 492kcal!!! The duck gyoza is 292kcal!!!

Now we understand that in theory each ingredient is healthy and nutritious however, can Wagamama really justify stating they are a positive eatery when one meal is more than half the daily calorie allowance for a female of 2000kcal? Is McDonalds healthier than Wagamama with fewer calories?

It would be interesting to know your thoughts on this.

Wagamama
46-48 Wimbledon Hill Road, London SW19 7PA
www.wagamama.com

Nobu

Everyone who’s into Japanese cuisine heard of Nobu. It has been leading a long list of London’s prestigious eateries for many years. A week ago when my father was in town, we finally decided to book a table and see what’s the fuss is all about.

We booked a late Sunday lunch time slot at Nobu at Metropolitan hotel. We wondered how we got so lucky as the restaurant was packed! Service was friendly and to the point. Instead of choosing a selection of dishes, which would have taken a while considering menu was quite long, we were recommended ‘chefs choice’ lunch feast. For £70 per head Omakase is a multi-dish course which lets you experience Chef Matsuhisa’s cooking in full glory. So we have put our trust in his hands and tucked in.

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Both of us LOVE sushi and we can definitely appreciate a bit of yellow tail, so the starter was a hit. Raw fish was supreme quality – delicious! Plus who can resist a bit of caviar!

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Both me and dad ordered a taster tray of sake to go with our lunch. A great way to sample all different types of sake without the commitment. My favourite one was naturally with gold leaf on the bottom. Real smooth!

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Our second course was black cod with miso. Wrapped in a banana leaf it was steamed to perfection. Lemon slice was on the side in case you found miso marinade too sweet, which I did, but lemon juice added a little edge. It was a great portion size as dishes kept coming!

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Next up was stunning Wagyu beef with Japanese mushrooms on the side. This is my first time trying Wagyu and it was very good, but portion was small so I didn’t quite taste all of that stunning marbling of fat that Wagyu is famous for. I did however love the Japanese mushrooms for their slightly pickled taste and crunch.

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Lunch was rounded off by chocolate fondant and green tea ice cream. As much of a chocolate lover as I am, I felt as though dessert have let the meal down. The fondant is a weird dessert to have after spectacular sushi, there was nothing special about it. Green tea ice cream however was perfectly refreshing.

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Now you don’t go to Nobu for the location or the decor, both of these didn’t exactly swipe me off my feet. The food however deserves all the praise! I now get what all the Nobu fuss is about.

Nobu
Metropolitan Hotel London, 19 Old Park Lane, London W1K 1LB
http://www.noburestaurants.com

Sasa Sushi

I get rather emotional as a write this piece for Sasa Sushi. Here we have an honest and modest sushi restaurant on the edge of angel. Somewhere that can easily be overlooked yet if you have been there once then you be amongst the heard of people waiting to get a table most nights.

Whenever you go to a sushi place you face two predicaments. One, that if you notice the prices are rather low on the menu you can expect rice that is al dente or fish flesh with a bite to it and the presentation will generally be poor. Two, you pay a lot of money to guarantee the perfection. With Sasa Sushi there is none of this, the prices are low and the sushi is one of the best you will have in central London.

Sasa Sushi use the finest cuts of fish which just melt in your mouth. They have a wide range on their menu to suit all taste buds. Our personal favourites are: rainbow rolls, fantasy rolls and caterpillar rolls, I know the names are unfamiliar and odd but trust us. Sasa Sushi are incredible at combining different flavours for their sushis to create a party in the mouth as it may be. Each time we visit our food is presented in the most spectacular display but it’s never the same so you don’t quite know what to expect.

Along with our sushi we must have the legendary miso soup which I have to admit is just your regular miso with no frills which is a good thing. If you are looking for a starter why not try the Nasu Dengaku, a baked aubergine with a sweet soya bean paste. I shan’t lie, it’s not the best to look at but the soft aubergine and soya bean combo create a lovely sweet/savoury flavour which you just keep wanted to dive into.

This is a very simple dine where you know you shan’t be disappointed. The staff are very friendly, hospitable and very tentative. Elena and I often pop in after work when we want a healthy yet harty dine, hopefully we will see you there soon.

Star Rating: ****

Sasa Sushi
422 St John St, London EC1V 4NJ
http://www.sasasushi.co.uk

Sticks’n’Sushi

It was a cold Wednesday evening and I have made my way down to Wimbledon to meet an old school friend. Since neither of us been there for a while we have decided to take a walk and see if we come across anywhere to eat.

We walked down Wimbledon Hill road, past pubs, past all the estate agents and then the road turned empty and dark…we were about to turn around and head back to the station when we saw an inviting glimmer of the lights.

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Walking into Stick’n’Sushi was like discovering an oasis in the desert. We were surprised to see that it was packed out to the max on Wednesday night. Soft groovy house music played in the background, waiters buzzed around the tables and the crowd certainly looked very stylish.

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I loved the layout of the restaurant, it was a smart casual feel that I have only seen in European metropolitan cities such as St. Petersburg, Russia. There was a mix of small tables for two and large long ones for a party of 20, wanting a comfy low key spot me and my friend made ourselves comfortable on the low sofas and our food was served on the coffee table next to it.

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The service was amazing. Having never been to Sticks’n’Sushi before we were talked through the menu, which I must say was impressive. Our waiter certainly knew what he was talking about, with  total ease he would list all of the ingredients in each sushi roll which would on average be up to eight items. On top of that all of his recommendations were delicious!

As I mentioned the menu is HUGE, although they did make it easier by creating a separate set menu where you find sushi platters of different sizes and flavours. But if you are feeling brave or picky, they also have a thick menu of individual rolls, sushi, sashimi and ‘sticks’ dishes.

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I am not going to go into the detail about what we ate but I am going to say that this was THE BEST SUSHI I’ve had since Sushinho in London closed down. Innovative flavours, amazing arrangement, it was feast for the tummy and the eyes. Although we didn’t order any of the ‘sticks’ we checked out our neighbours table and they certainly looked yum.

Deserts were incredible. Divided into tiny pots we got a taster of creme brûlée, lemon sorbet, chocolate fondant and almond ball. It was a perfect end to a perfect dinner!

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We got so comfortable with our sushi and cocktails, time flew by. We ended up being one of the last people to leave that place. Although not cheap, it was not expensive either and I was more than happy to pay £30 for my dinner.

I am so glad I stumbled upon Sticks’n’Sushi, and just found out they have a central London branch, now I have to go back!

Star Rating: *****

Sticks’n’Sushi
58 Wimbledon Hill Rd, Merton, London SW19 7PA
http://www.sticksnsushi.com

United Ramen

From the outside you would be mistaken to think that this is just a new version of wagamama with a few funkie colours and a lack of the uncomfortable seated which wagamama is known for. On closer inspection of the menu you will find a jaw dropping range of fusion dishes inspired by the globe like; British Bulldog Roast Beef Ramen and Yankee Doodle Ramen Noodle. They even have Bombay Spiced Edamame! We ordered the handmade tofu gyoza which was the best gyoza we have had. The gyoza was not steamed or deep fried but steam-fried which gave it crispy coating. The filling was so flavoursome. Tofu can often lack flavour but this was seasoned to perfection.

Elena (better known as the devourer of anything piggie) ordered Chashu Pork Shoyu Ramen which came with crispy bacon on top and I ordered the Spicy Salmon and Kimchi Ramen which had the most succulent slices of grilled salmon on top. We both agree that the broth used in the ramen was nice and thick and popping with the individual flavours. The noodles used were almost al dente (in a good way) and very taste, with ramens the noodle part can often be soggy and tasteless so this was a very good surprise. Another positive which can be seen as a small thing but to people who love bottled water like ourselves, after paying a flat rate of £1 you can get an unlimited supply of still or sparking water. Well it’s the small things that make us happy. We look forward to returning and trying out more delights. Next on the list is the Sweet Potato and Crispy Skin Maki, apparently it was so good that they sold out but it will be in our bellies soon.

Star Rating: ***
United Ramen
105-106 Upper St, London, N1 1QN, United Kingdom
http://www.unitedramen.com