There’s an awesome new Japanese restaurant on Charlotte Street. Wait, what? This news is so gargantuan I need to break it down.

There’s an awesome new Japanese restaurant.

Considering that if I had to pick one cuisine to take with me to a deserted island, I’d pick Japanese (the good and bad and sashimi and curry and matcha of it all), this is good news.

On Charlotte Street.

On Charlotte Street? And the fact that Charlotte Street is but not even one whole minute from my apartment doubles my glee!

:D

So Nizuni opened probably about a month ago now and considering its close proximity to mi casa, I’ve already been three times. I totally rock convenience like it’s next season’s fashion. It’s owned by the same people who gave us Koba, which you guys should know would be my husband, if it were legal to marry a Korean BBQ restaurant.

Nizuni feels like Koba in an alternate universe. The decor is similar but ever so discretely without the giant air vents and the dining room is laid out exactly the same way, but flipped 180°. The staff are attentive (but perhaps requiring a little more familiarity with the menu – we hope this comes with time) and the food. The food is good. Well, mostly. I’ve only had a couple of meh things so far.

Check it out:

beef tataki with pear gherkins, capers and ponzu sauce: delicious, tender, tangy scrumptiousness. I’ve had this three out of three times (in fact technically four out of three as we ordered two serves last night) and ladies and gentlemen, it’s a winner.

sakekawa (salmon skin maki rolls with spring onion and spicy sauce): this was a meh. crispy fried salmon skin maki ruined by “spicy sauce” which appears to be an uglier relative of sweet chilli sauce :(

konomono pickle salad with cucumber, mooli, carrot and celery: simple and delicious and rather colourful too!

suzuki in pot (steamed seabass in dashi with daikon bok choy): HELLO. Three decent portions of seabass, cooked to silky tender perfection in a delightful dashi.

nasudengaku (deep fried aubergine in dengaku sauce): not too salty, not too sweet, not oily at all. Possibly one of the best nasudengaku’s I’ve had.

butterfish tataki (seared butterfish with shiso cress, daikon cress, spicy sauce & balsamic dressing): another semi-meh. Not quite the quality of Roka’s butterfish carpaccio, and again covered in the mysterious “spicy sauce”.

kaiso sumiso (mixed seaweed salad in sumiso dressing): small, way too small, but so delicious. Save the dressing to have with some plain rice.

tuna tartar (minced tuna with chives, tobikko, shallots and a quail yolk): delicious and again too tiny.

sashimi mori ni (chef’s selection): fresh, very fresh. A little pricey at £24 for 14 pieces. In fact, while it’s good, the sashimi here will blow your final bill so keep that in mind…

Uankyu (unagi, cucumber and unagi sauce maki): this was borderline meh. Probably more so because we had it side by side with the dragon roll (top) which was awesome.

gindara (grilled marinated cod in soy sauce): “that” black cod dish that everyone seems to do. I think Inamo’s is better, mainly because it comes with sauce which I lap up with rice. This one’s still yummy though.

tai misoyaki (grilled seabream with shiso saikyomiso): nommy nom nom nom! I love all kinds of fried fish, the crispy skin just steals my heart! They say it’s grilled but seriously, with skin this crisp? But whatever, no complaints.

nibuta (slow cooked pork belly with Korean miso sauce): this was soooooooooooooo excruciatingly good! The menu doesn’t mention anything about crispy but oh yes, crispy it was. SO GOOD.

kamo yaki (grilled duck breast, kinome mushrooms, bean mash miso in a balsamic dressing): definitely not one of their prettiest dishes, nor one of the yummiest. The bean mash miso tasted like a whole lot of nothing, and the duck was marginally chewy.

matcha green tea ice cream: can’t go wrong here. Plus adorable blobs of azuki.

chestnut cake with green tea ice cream: heavy-ish chestnut cake, sort of the texture of a muffin, but utterly mouth watering.

yuzu tart with yoghurt ice cream: totally interesting! I thought the tart would have been yuzu but the tart turns out to be cranberry and the white scoop perched upon it is yuzu! Pairs excellently with the yoghurt ice cream which is creamy and rich.

Oh and the dragon roll (fresh crab meat, cucumber, avocado, gobo maki with eel on top) right up the top of this post? Right up there as my favourite along with the beef tataki and tuna tartar and nibuta and suzuki in pot and… you get the idea.

At about £30 a meal (without sashimi) Nizuni is fantastic value. The one time I had sashimi, our final bill was blown to over £50 per head (I think we ate a lot that night too though) so you know, I think you can work the menu and the bill depending on your cravings and budget :)

Go forth and enjoy!

Nizuni
22 Charlotte Street
Fiztrovia, W1T 2NB
0207 580 7447
website

Nizuni on Urbanspoon

20 Thoughts on “Nizuni: the new Japanese kid on the block

  1. Hmmm… there seems to be a lot more meh’s and ‘too small’ than exclamations of joy…

    • Hmm really? the only meh things were the salmon skin maki, unagi maki and butterfish tataki… otherwise I LOOOOVED the dragon roll, beef tataki (amazing!), seabass, nasudengaku, seaweed salad, tuna tartar, sea bream, crispy pork and all the desserts :) the “too smalls” could be because (a) I’m a glutton or maybe (b) cos they were starters afterall…

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  3. That’s a LOT of food =), and pretty decent price too. Envious!!!

  4. It’s SO unfair that you live so close to SO many good restaurants! Not only are the likes of Roka, Koba and Fino nearby, you now have this gem on your doorstep. The sashimi in particular looks amazing!

    I’ll be adding Nizuni to my list although the last time I looked, my list will see me eating out until some time in 2015.

  5. Stop making me add places to my list! The tuna tartare with the tiny little quail’s egg is too adorable.

  6. Nasu dangaku *love* Got it lined up to post when I have a minute ^_^

  7. Allan: LOL yeah that was over the course of 2 dinners and a lunch though – although we did order lots of double ups, like the beef tataki, dragon roll, and dessert :)

    Mr Noodles: The sashimi was fresh and sweet, but pricey! £24 for 14 pieces! Haha, you gotta work on that list of yours ;)

    Brad: oh yes the quail egg is adorable! Til you mash it all up :)

    Sasa: I tried making nasu dengaku once but I bought salty miso paste instead of sweet miso paste. It turned out crap.

  8. Catty, you’ve got to try the toko nasu dengaku! I love it there-it’s so melty in the mouth! I’d love to know what you think of it!

    • oooh i LOVE Toko! Two of my friends used to be chefs there, so we went a lot, but I haven’t been in years and they don’t work there anymore :( Will definitely go back and try the nasu dengaku though!

  9. I love nasu dengaku! I’ve never seen it with so much miso sauce on it!! I’ve made it at home too, but yeah you want to use shiro miso and add mirin to make it sweeter. I’ve got a recipe on my blog but I think it’s in Finnish… :-)

  10. i love toko too..esp the sushi chef with the funky hairdo ;)

  11. Like you, I was completely ecstatic when I heard about Nizuni – I’ve always said that we lack a good Japanese place near us (I can’t afford to visit Roka weekly so that doesn’t count). And of course by near I mean 2 minute walk radius. :D

    I’ve been saving Nizuni for a “rainy” day, when I can’t be bothered to venture too far. It won’t be long till that happens, and when I go I’ll make sure to have the nasu dengaku!

    p.s. If it was legal to marry Koba I’d be fighting you for him/her/it. ;)

  12. Maria: I’m pretty sure it’s not too hard to make right? Cos mine tasted fine in terms of texture etc but just it was fricking salty lol :)

    Ying: mmmm Toko…

    Su-yin: Yeah we’d have to me monogamous with Koba, there is no other way!

  13. OK – so rolls, meh. Special/secret/sloppy sauce, meh. Beef, pork, crispy fish and aubergine, all great. Ditto desserts. Cool, got my Nizuni primer all sorted. Problem is, those photos make even the meh look good.

    Have to say that the beef and pork look particularly tasty, ditto the bass. Simple and delicious. Is this a good place to take a Japanese food novice do you think?

    • No no, not *all* rolls are bad – the Dragon Roll is OMGYUM! :) And yes, it’s totally safe for a Japanese novice because there are plenty of recognisable dishes on the menu. In fact it’s quite a big menu :)

  14. i want the tuna tartare now! and i wish i ate beef.. that beef tataki with pear gherkin looks so tempting.

  15. wow, sex on a plate in every shot! especially the nasudengaku, i mean shit u know i love aubergines. If i came back, would you take me here?

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