restaurant reviews

Sake no Hana: Restaurant Review

Gliding up the escalator to Sake no Hana you can shed your worries like autumn leaves; safe in the knowledge that you’ll be well looked after here. This a Japanese restaurant that offers a fine blend of both ambience and cuisine. A hearty ‘irrashiamase’ welcome from the sushi chefs working at the bar & kitchen Read more

Bistro Mirey: Restaurant Review

Bistro Mirey offers fabulous, unpretentious French food, each dish with a soupçon of distinctive Japanese-flavoured inspiration. What’s not to love about this outstanding little neighbourhood bistro that’s the realisation of the dreams of two splendid, hard-working people? Eat thoughtful, well-prepared dishes and show your support for Chefs Gerard Mirey and Ko Ito – so much Read more

Machiya: Restaurant Review

When & Why? It was fortunate that we arrived sharpish at 12 noon to try this recently-launched restaurant for lunch on a Friday. By 1pm, everyone in London seemed to have had the same idea and the place was packed out, with an orderly queue on the street outside. First Impressions: Machiya is a neat Read more

Beer & Buns: Izakaya Review

First Impressions: Trekking up the lengthy staircase to the Japan-inspired izakaya ‘Beer & Buns’ it feels like we are sneaking off somewhere a little bit naughty – somewhere to skive off and hide! Let them eat sushi at K10 (v. popular takeaway and kaiten zushi spot near Liverpool Street station) – for today we are Read more

Oliver Maki is now Permanently Closed – ja ne! When?  Lazy lunch on a Saturday. With white wine. Oh yes. Ambience:  Compact, with a minimal aesthetic. With a chain of popular sushi restaurants in the Middle East, Lebanese-Canadian restaurateur Oliver Zeitoun knows to keep it simple and focus firmly on the food. Clientele:  In the Read more

‘Monocle Café’ Review – Marylebone

Why?  To meet the wonderful Susan for brunch. She works nearby at Daiwa, but rarely has the chance to explore Marylebone. I’d been doing some heavy googling to track down that elusive meal: the ‘Japanese Breakfast’ in London. Monocle cafe popped up with a selection of Japanese-inspired items – and a ‘Scandanavian Breakfast’ too. When?  11am on Read more

‘Sake no Hana’ Review: Mayfair

Why? Sake no Hana certainly must offer the most sumptuous-yet-sensible solution to London’s blustery and unpredictable ‘hanami’ season! Literally ‘flower viewing’ in Japanese – your springtime celebrations can be brought inside under the delightful display of ‘Sakura’ cherry blossoms in the bar area, enjoying the seasonal menu ‘Sakura at Sake no Hana’. On from April Read more

‘Kintan’ Japanese BBQ Review: Holborn

Why?  Date-night / hubby’s birthday.  Kintan specialises in ‘yakiniku’ literally ‘grilled meat’ & were we ever dying to get our chops round it. With branches in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Jakata, Kintan is a newcomer to the booming Japanese food scene in London – a welcome scene which now emphasises just one specialist dish, as Read more

Why? I’m particularly partial to a ‘kaiten zushi’ (conveyor belt) sushi restaurant. There’s still something curiously futuristic about the concept. Snatch tempting titbits within arm’s reach before they pass by, like some kind of hunter-gatherer Tokyoite: ‘LOOK, man!  I have brought you raw fish!’ When? A Friday evening in August at 6pm. The restaurant is Read more

‘Chotto Matte’ Review: Soho

Why? Chotto Matte (‘just a minute’ in Japanese) is a zingy, zesty newcomer to Frith Street, Soho. Opened by ex-head of Nobu (and founder of Ping Pong) Kurt Zdesar during fashion week last summer, this restaurant serves bold, fresh and invigorating ‘Nikkei’ fusion cuisine.  It’s heavy on the South American, with a tempering dose of Read more

‘Otabe Kafe’ Review: Putney

Why? To try it! I’d heard about this cute Japanese café in Putney. So I went for lunch, by myself, on a weekday. When? A rainy Tuesday afternoon in August, at 2pm. First Impression: Cozy and welcoming on this grey afternoon! Small outside area tucked nicely around the side. Entering the café is a bit Read more

Why? For a Japanese-y committee meeting, so we weren’t in the upstairs part of the restaurant, but rather downstairs in a private party room with typical bench style seating and cushions – quite nice. When? A Monday in July at about 6.30pm. The restaurant was pretty empty when we walked through at that time. When Read more

‘SO’ Restaurant Review: Soho

**Cheat’s Notes**:  SO is a compact restaurant located in Soho that offers great service and a surprisingly sophisticated, fresh and tasty menu.  Loads of room downstairs.  Lunch sets start at £7, and other evening offers are available when pre-booking (see SO’s website).  SO serves IPPODO Japanese teas and also offers popular sushi-making classes.  Important tip Read more

‘BINCHO’ Review: Soho

Why? This toasty hideaway is perfect for cold winter nights in Soho! As you enter the restaurant, you pass chefs labouring away to prepare dishes on traditional open charcoal grills. Bincho’s website explains the chef’s methods: ‘In Japan, the Ganko Ojisan are the keepers of the flame…’ and hey, in this weather, I want to Read more

‘Asakusa’ Review: Mornington Crescent

Why? My friend Kazu absolutely loves this place. He’s been raving about the Yudebuta Ninniku Miso. When? A Friday in September, 9.40pm. This was the earliest/only reservation available a couple days beforehand. We stayed until 12.30pm though! Impression: The place was really buzzing with youthful mixed-nationality groups when we arrived, rather dingy, with questionable décor Read more