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Respond to Review of Itadaki-Zen
by captain_sensible

Review: You probably wouldn't frequent an Indian restaurant run by an Irishman so why would you bother with a Japanese one owned by a Korean, Chinese (fairly common) or, as in this case an Italian? Sure, the kitchen did have some Japanese staff in there.... but after eating here you have to ask yourself - are they trained chefs, because if you are knowledgeable about this exquisitely prepared and uniquely tasting food you'd have to say possibly not. Cutting back on the salt levels and omitting the fish stock doesn't necessarily mean the food has to be tasteless as there are other sources of umami to be had to prevent the culinary disasters that was our misfortune to have encountered at Itadake Zen on the night we ate there. The Miso Nikomi Udon I ended up with bore no relation to the example on the menu - it was almost devoid of any shitake mushroom, Chinese cabbage OR miso flavour. I hate to say this as it sounds over the top but the udon was pretty much swimming in a bowl of hot water as far as flavour goes and that's plain sad. Note to kitchen staff - why not try seaweed stock where the recipe would usually require the fish variety? This would help add some much needed oomph to your dishes. The owners may indeed be bringing art and music into their restaurant environment but the world is full of well intentioned cafe owners who are doing it for some cause or other (and don't we know about it being vegetarians!) but forgetting to get the most important bit right - getting some tasty food on the plate. As I was working in Kings Cross and fancied Japanese it was a choice between one of my favourites - Aki (only 'veggie friendly', but magnificent - AND run by a Japanese chap incredibly) or the new 100% veggie place that we are talking about here. What a mistake I made..... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umami

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