You know sometimes when your  friend tells you something that their mum’s uncle’s neighbour’s dog told them, you kinda tune out because the information is so far removed from the source that a monkey’s uncle sounds like a funky crumble?

No?

Anyway, when my friend told us that her boyfriend’s colleagues from Japan (ok, so not so far removed) came to London and specifically sought out dinner at Soho Japan, we thought we’d better remember this piece of secondary information because this one, it might actually be valuable.

Soho Japan, which isn’t actually in Soho (it’s actually kind of north of Soho in Fitzrovia) is a hidden little Japanese restaurant which looks like they hijacked a pub and decided to make some sushi instead of bangers.

And I for one am glad they did that.

At just under £30 a head, Soho Japan is no Roka nor is it flaunting wagyu the way Dinings does, but for a good and apparently very traditional meal, it ticks all the boxes.

We started with an item off the specials menu ~ Japanese style sweet omelette with grilled eel. This was my favourite dish of the night, the tamagoyaki served warm and its intrinsically sweet taste complementing the savouriness of the unagi perfectly.

The nasu dengaku (deep fried aubergine with sweet miso paste) was also tasty, and saucy enough to have with a bowl of steamed rice.

Our second item off the specials menu, the scallop & Japanese herb tempura, doesn’t look like much in the photo and actually didn’t taste like much either. The only fail for the night, in my humble tiny little opinion.

Off the sushi and sashimi menu (because you know, we had to eat something that wasn’t deep fried), we ordered the “3 kinds of sashimi” platter and the soft shelled crab maki roll (which actually is fried, now that I think about it).

The sashimi was incredibly fresh, especially the sea bass which – and this here is a prime example of me describing food badly – was so fresh it was crunchy. Now before you all go and tell me I’m stupid, do you kinda maybe know what I’m saying? Sea bass isn’t like salmon or tuna which are soft, it’s different. And when it’s fresh, it’s almost crisp.

Yeah. See, I did warn you.

Anyway.

The soft shelled crab maki was ok, but I thought the crab to rice ratio was a little out of whack. Way too much rice and way too little of the delicious stuff inside.

Healthy stuff aside, we threw ourselves back into the oil pit with a serve of chicken skin (holy shit, the goodness) and chicken yakitori.

Both. Good.

Lastly, our final item off the specials menu, very simply named asparagus & bacon. I mean, you’d be crazy not to order that!

Portions of grilled asparagus wrapped in juicy bacon, again the ratio was whack (seemed like a disproportionate amount of bacon) but no complaints.

To round up the meal, we shared some desserts ~ matcha & adzuki bean ice cream, matcha cheesecake and raspberry mousse (which was served in a jar, reminiscent of Launceston Place).

The ice creams were ok (can’t go much wrong there), and the cheesecake was really cheesecakey (there I go again with my skillz) but I’m told that’s how they do their matcha cheesecakes in Japan.

Similarly with the raspberry mousse, which tasted more like raspberry yoghurt, but apparently that’s the Japanese interpretation of mousse. Well, if I’m told it’s how they do it in the motherland, I shalt not argue.

All in all a nice, unpretentious meal with mostly very good food. The pub decor is totally weird, but other than that I would definitely go back.

And I’m gonna tell people about it so that someone will one day say that they heard about Soho Japan from their friend’s daughter’s kid-sister’s pet’s friend, who wrote some shite on the web about sashimi being… crunchy?!

Soho Japan
52 Wells Street
Fitzrovia, W1T 3PR
0207 323 4661
website

Soho Japan on Urbanspoon

15 Thoughts on “Soho Japan: where the sashimi is crunchy and this is a GOOD thing

  1. I’m a long time fan of chicken skin. I know it’s not healthy for you but it tastes so good! :D

  2. Another addition to the to-eat list. I’m fighting a losing battle to keep up with it!

    • Hehehe considering you are new(ish) to the Japanese cuisine, you must have loads of restaurants on your to try list. Have you been to Dinings yet? Soho Japan is just plain, unpretentious food. Nothing flashy but very tasty.

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  4. That was definitely a good find (from your friend’s boyfriend’s Japanese friends), I am glad you did not tune out! How does it compare with Asakusa in Mornington Crescent? I love that place, I think it is the cheapest Japanese Izakaya style place in London. I have added this place to my restaurant list.

  5. Hub treated me to a real Jap restaurant, Tsukizi in Paris specialising mainly on sushi & sashimi. A very small restaurant but it is mainly patronized by Japanese and the chefs & staff are Japanese. :) Food is delicious!

  6. The London Foodie: LOL yes, for once I’m glad I didn’t tune out either! I’ve never been to Asakusa (except for one in Sydney, not Mornington Crescent) – should I add it to my Must Try list?

    The Cooking Ninja: It’s great when you find a traditional place. Some restaurants are so “fusioned” (although I do like the odd bit of fusion) that you lose the true sense of traditional cuisine! Nice hubby! ;)

  7. Jenny on March 2, 2010 at 2:19 pm said:

    I’m always on the hunt for Japanese restaurants to try in London. This one looks good but what is this about a pub? Haha.

  8. Great review…love all the pics of food!!

    sweetlife

  9. haha, that was the moment i was scared about. another foodblog using the atahualpa theme ;) thank god it’s so nicely customizable…

    nice blog by the way and this post really made me hungry!

    cheers,
    ben

  10. sweetlife: thanks honey xx

    Ben: LOL!! OMG I know exactly what you’re talking about. I’ve seen a couple out there and it’s always like oh god, it looks like MINE!! I do try to customize it bit by bit and hopefully one day it’ll look different ~ I do like the layout of Atahualpa though!

  11. Wow!!Yummy,I love sashimi…My goodness!!How I wish I am in japan now..I’ll tell my husband that we must plan a vacation to japan!!Great idea!!lol..

  12. Pingback: Soho Japan, Fitzrovia | food fight

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