Posts Tagged ‘Japanese’

Resto 27 Machiya, Leicester Square

August 19, 2018


Panton Street is the go to place for a quick, reasonably priced lunch in the West End so it’s inevitable that it will be redeveloped at some point soon. So I recommend that you get down to Machiya soon to enjoy the best of a pretty good bunch of Asian eateries slewn together on the south side of the street.

It’s taken a while for me to go to Machiya as there’s usually a queue out the door so were lucky this time to be able to walk straight in. The room is crammed with tables so this isn’t the place to come and discuss a sensitive business deal or dump a lover but it’s ideally suited for a lunchtime gossip, or indeed a solo mission.

The food is the usual Japanese selection of katsu, ramen and sides. They also do small plates if you want to share a variety of stuff. I went for the chicken katsu and it was the best I’ve ever had. The gorgeously juicy meat and fluffy crunchy batter was just perfect. On the side I had a pickled seaweed salad that was also perfectly prepared. A draught Kirin helped it down admirably and for fifteen quid a head Machiya offers better value than the higher profile Shoryu around the corner. Recommended.


#Food #London

To see where else I’ve eaten go to the GoogleMap

Resto 24 Saki, Crouch End

April 30, 2017

Opposite the now defunct Ohba Leaf Saki is maintaining a solid Japanese option in Crouch End. The elimination of its rival has obviously not harmed business for we were lucky to get a table even at around 6 o’clock. People arriving after us without a reservation were being turned away.

The menu is standard sushi/sashimi, bentos and curries but no ramen as far as I remember. Which was good as it made me try something different for a change. We took a range of appetisers to share which arrived as they were cooked. Duck dumplings were excellent – crispy and squidgy – while the octopus balls (‘When was the last time you had octopus balls?’ badinaged across the table) were okay but not especially life-enhancing. Best of the three was the squid; fluffy batter sweet and hot chilli sauce, made for not sharing, you’ll want the whole plate.

Big food was eel on rice. How I love eel! This was well cooked in a tasty sauce on sticky rice. I wish I’d got some veg to go with it but apart from that it was perfect. Asahi on the side worked fine and for about twenty quid a head this is a good option in a fiercely competitive N8 market.

#Food #London


To see which other restaurants I’ve visited in 2016/7 check out my GoogleMap


Resto #2, Kanada-Ya

January 12, 2017

Taking a break from marking a friend and I were looking for a quick, light lunch around Piccadilly. Shoryu was back on the agenda for the new year but there was a queue out of the door and one of my golden rules for life is never queue to get into a restaurant.* So anyway, we moved on.

Well, Stockpot may be gone but there are now TWO ramen joints on Panton Street, being nearest we popped into Kanada-Ya (or should that be KANADA-YA?) to see what was cooking. After the trad Japanese greeting at the door (or as close to it as a nervous French host could get) we were seated at a round table with the potential to have to share it later on as lunch got busy. It didn’t get that busy so we had plenty of elbow room.

The menu is shorter than at Shoryu, which I don’t mind. I did a random order thing and went for a bowl of ramen with pork in it. What I liked was that the guy asked me if I wanted an egg on top. Eggs make me feel sick at the sight of them so I was glad to turn it down in advance rather than forget to ask for an eggless ramen and have to remove it later.

The ramen was good and tasty – a good broth, quite a bit of veg and 4 chunky slices of pork. On the side edamame in truffle salt were too salty for me, and the truffle element seemed a bit pointless. But the ramen was what we were there for and that worked. Drinks are your usual suspects –  bottle of Asahi for about £3 isn’t too extortionate in these parts.

The room was fairly full by the time lunchtime got properly going with a good mixture of locals and tourists. The music was pleasingly subdued compared to Shoryu where sometimes the sound of chatter fighting to be heard over the speakers can be a bit of a chore if you want to talk to somebody.


Ahh Martine’s – strict dress code, relaxed about grammar.

Uneasy ‘highlight’ of lunch (and I’m not sure whether my fellow diner was aware of this, I forgot to ask him about it) was a couple of office workers across the way getting into the kind of dry humping session that one would normally witness a couple of teenagers indulging in after a night of Blastaways in Martine’s of Eastleigh. Chapeau, madamoiselle, I just hope he was worth the loss of dignity.

#Food #London

To see which other restaurants I’ve visited in 2017 check out my GoogleMap

*One of the most tragic scenes to be beheld in the West End is of poor saps queueing to get in to Pizza Hut on Haymarket.

Review #89 Shoryu Ramen, Regent St

October 17, 2016

Shoryu Ramen has been a stalwart for a quick lunch in the West End for quite a few years now (I think I was one of their first customers in 2013) so it’s quite a surprise that I’ve taken so long to visit this year. There’s more competition for the ramen dollar these days but Shoryu remains a reliable disher of the bowls of goodness.

Having to work in the afternoon I foreswore an Asahi and had a mineral water instead (asked for sparkling, got still, couldn’t be arsed to change it). Up front there was a crispy tempura soft shell crab and then into the soup – milky broth, plenty of noodles and veg with gurt lumps of chicken floating about. On a cold-ish October day it was just the kind of hearty thing that sets you up for a an afternoon of teaching.

Service was faultlessly cheerful and the fact that within ten minutes of a midday arrival  the place was heaving shows that Shoryu have earned their rapid expansion across London. They give their customers good food at an affordable price with just enough quirkiness and variety to mark them out from your Wagyermamas or Yos.


To see which other restaurants I’ve visited in 2016 check out my GoogleMap

Review #70 Cocoro, Bloomsbury

August 20, 2016

After meeting at the excellent Skoob Books we were looking for a hearty lunch to set us up for an afternoon of exhibitioning. I’m rapidly running out of options in Bloomsbury so we opted to raid Coptic Street where good food is usually to be found whichever restaurant you choose to visit.

We tossed up between Korean at Bi Won and Japanese at Cocoro and Japan won. Trade was decent for a midweek lunchtime and a good sign was that half the clientèle were Asian. Asahi on draft was sweeter than I remember it being and we got stuck into the menu. There’s the usual range of sushi/sashimi, curry, teryaki, ramen and sides. They do a lunch option of ramen, salad and rice for around eleven quid which we both went for.

To start we shared a plate of tempura prawns. They arrived freshly done and piping hot, in fact too hot to eat before out ramen arrived. The batter was lovely and fluffy, I only wished I’d ordered a whole portion to myself. My ramen was kimchi with good lumps of cabbagey goodness in a spicy sour soup. The rice seemed a bit surplus to requirements on top of a good dollop of noodles.

Service was quick and cheery, the only downside to the room is that it lacks natural light but I guess there’s not much they can do about that. I’m looking forward to trying out Bi Won soon to see who wins this East Asian head to head.


To see where else I’ve eaten in 2016 go to the GoogleMap here

Review #40 Ohba Leaf, Crouch End

April 24, 2016

In Crouch End for a friend’s 40th we thought it wise to lay in some ballast before the festivities began. Since the opening of the two cinemas on Tottenham Lane this end of Crouch End has been re-energised on the dining front with a myriad of (to me) new options from which to choose. A good thing.

Early Saturday evening and Ohba Leaf was already beginning to fill up, which was a good sign. As was the number of takeaways flying out the door, turnover always being desirable in the land of sushi. The menu is standard Japanese fare – sushi/sashimi/rolls ramen/teriyaki/curry. My point of comparison would be Shoryu Ramen and OLeaf easily matches their standard for food and service.

We went for a few dumplings and soft shell crab to kick off. The crab was beautifully light in a ginger sauce while the dumplings were satisfyingly sticky prawn gobbets. The main of spicy ramen wasn’t quite as spicy as I would have liked it but had a good helping of seafood and no egg. Which I guess for most people would be a problem but as I don’t like egg it was a blessing for me! A big bottle of Asahi to wash it down and I was set for a Kiwi knees up.


To see which other restaurants I’ve visited in 2016 check out my GoogleMap

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