den – Udon evangelists in King’s Cross

Den sesame udonThe first thing you need to know about new udon restaurant den is that it’s located in a converted pub called the Prince Albert, and there’s only a small red curtain with a big ‘d’ on it over the entrance to tell you you’ve come to the right place. The second thing is that den means tradition, and this specialist udon restaurant is committed to making your noodles just the way they’d be in Japan. That’s why they call themselves udon evangelists. Continue reading

A Great Meal at Kintan Japanese Barbecue

Kintan Japanese barbecueIf I told you I ate at a Japanese restaurant last night and asked you to guess what I had, you’d probably say sushi, or ramen. At the very least you’d guess that fish played a prominent role. The last thing you’d go for is barbecued meat – what’s Japanese about that? Well, stick with me while I explain. Continue reading

Top Five Japanese Restaurants for 2015

Tempura at MatsuriWell, that’s it then. Christmas is over. New Year is over. The new year starts in earnest this week and you want something to eat that is nothing like all the rich food you’ve been scarfing down over the holidays. Something different – healthy, light and interesting with subtle flavours, high on fish and vegetables and low on meat. What you want is Japanese food, and you’re in luck – London is full of great places to eat Japanese. Here’s my top five recommendations for the coming year. Continue reading

Merry Christmas!

Merry ChristmasI wish you all a very merry Christmas and hope you’re looking forward to your turkey and Christmas pudding and all the other Christmas traditions your family follows. As it’s Christmas, I thought I’d share with you a couple of Japanese Christmas traditions that may surprise you. Continue reading

Lights, camera, action! Ippudo ramen hits town

Ippudo ramenIppudo is the latest ramen restaurant to open in London, as the ramen craze shows no sign of abating. Up until now we’ve mainly seen small, dedicated operations with a personal commitment to top class Hakata ramen, but Ippudo breaks new ground with a snazzy new 80-seat restaurant in the glitzy new glass skyscrapers of Central St Giles. So what’s it like? Continue reading

Noodle lover’s paradise on St Giles High St: Kanada-ya

Kanada-ya LondonThis autumn London’s love affair with ramen reaches a new intensity with two new ramen restaurants going head to head on St Giles High St. The first of them, Kanada-ya, opened this week and I went along to see what’s on offer. Continue reading

Izakaya Boris – What’s the story?

Izakaya BorisYou probably think of County Hall as a tourist hotspot, with the London Eye next door and classic views from the terrace across the river to the Houses of Parliament. Maybe you’ve been to the aquarium, or even remember when it used to be home to the Saatchi Gallery. But the story I’m going to tell you is different. It’s about Mayor Boris and a Japanese restaurant that bears his name. And why it makes more sense than you might think. Continue reading

Cool summer lunch at Tombo Deli and Cafe

Tombo Deli and Cafe I don’t know about you, but with the summer we’re having, my thoughts turn to light, healthy lunches in cool places. Something salad-focused with a bit of a difference to tempt a summer appetite. Well, I’ve found just the place. It’s in South Kensington, just around the corner from the V&A, but off the tourist track so it’s quiet and relaxed. It’s called Tombo and it serves healthy Japanese food. Continue reading

What I ate in Japan – a Japanese restaurant tour

Fried tofu at Suju Dining, ShibuyaI’ve just come back from a quick trip to Japan to do some research and fact finding for my new book, The Haiku Murder which is coming out in October. And also to see friends, take in a few shows and eat some genuine Japanese food. I thought I’d share with you some of the things I ate while I was there – all in everyday restaurants at under £15 a head. Continue reading

A convivial evening at Matsuri St James’s

Tempura at MatsuriI’ve had Matsuri listed on my Japanese Restaurants page ever since I started this blog. It’s one of the first Japanese restaurants in London I ever went to (back in the nineties) and I was taken there by people from the Japanese Embassy which is a good indicator of quality and authenticity. So when I was invited to a bloggers’ evening at the restaurant, which has just relaunched its sushi bar and appointed a new head chef, I jumped at the chance to go back and see how this old favourite was doing in a slightly newer guise. Continue reading