always on the look out for japanese restaurants, i asked my japanese girlfriend for her tips, she came up with a few that i didnt know about. yuki has brilliant taste, hates to waste money, so i would take her recommendations really seriously.
there is a new noodle place in Frith Street called KOYA –
great noodles and casual but a nice environment.
another casual restaurant is SAKURA, they moved to Conduit Street from Hanover Square – always busy and full of japanese clients as well as the fashion journalists, as it used to be next to vogue house. i have been there lots, and its great for tempura, noodles, sushi – and well priced. unfortunately they dont take bookings, so go early to get a table for dinner.
a very good but upmarket one is called DINING. the chef used to work at NOBU and food is modern clean Japanese, bit of fusion, but i think its very expensive and only for special occasions.
another nice one that is typical japanese is Cocoro which is pleasant and moderately priced.
kulu kulu is a real japanese version of yo sushi – authentic, great tasting sushi that goes round on a conveyor belt, and inexpensive. its a lunchtime or quick eating place, rather than a sit down entertaining meal. i love it though.
some friends have taken us to kiku restaurant in mayfair, very good food, but quite pricey, best to go for the lunch box set , and of course there is jin kichi in hampstead, which has been there for years – i remember going there over 25 years ago just for the yakitori sticks.
my all time favourite for taste and value is asakusa, which happens to be round the corner from where i live – its not modern, or posh, nor atmospheric, just typical japanese cafe with outdated interior, but the food is just spectacular. try and ask for a table upstairs if you reserve – the sushi can take a while as they are always busy, but it is worth waiting for. it is also very inexpensive and you will always see japanese families there.