A little expensive, but worth it
Posted on 01 / 09 / 2010
I am a massive fan of Japanese cuisine, so news that a vegan japanese restaurant had opened in London almost had me looking forward to visiting the city. My excuse came in early January, during the best snow in my lifetime. A short walk from King's Cross Thameslink, the space was light and serene. The menus were printed on handmade Japanese paper, and the napkin folded in a different way on each table. Ours were in the form of a lotus flower around a small bowl, and it seemed a shame to undo them.
To drink, we both went for one of their specialised "teas" - Itadaki Tea - a creamy, somewhat nutty soya milk concoction served in miso bowls. Just right for the cold, snowy weather.
I ordered the lunchtime sushi set, and my partner had Misinikomi Udon. My set arrived in a bento and included two spring rolls and a mashed potato salad, as well as two types of gunken (carrot and okra), two nigiri (nori tempura and inari) and a pair of matching rolls. The shouyu came in a small clear plastic dalek with instructions clearly printed on top: ここをプッシュシてくださ, it said. Fortunately, that's simple enough for me to read - "please push this", where "this" is the nipple the text surrounds.
The Udon were served in a miso broth with julienne strips of aburaage fried tofu), carrot and cabbage - another dish which really hit the spot.
We were impressed with the food and decided to have dessert - this is supposed to be an indulgent break, after all. The desserts were mostly kanten - agar-based jelly - and my partner opted for a sesame one. Feeling adventurous (I can make kanten at home!), I tried warabimochi - small mochi made from potato starch instead of rice and dusted with toasted soya flour. The latter proved very difficult to eat with the implement provided, but was considerably better than it looked. It wasn't too sweet, which suits my tastes.
At nearly Â£30 for lunch for two, it's not a particularly cheap place, but also not expensive by London standards. I'd like to go back in the evening to try one of their set meals, but have no time on this trip. It looks like I'm going to have to find an excuse to come back to London - at least Itadaki Zen will make it bearable.
sublime food, Japanese, lovely space
a tad expensive, not rib-sticking