Soy you think you’ve found your favourite spot to grab sushi? Think again. London is bursting with Japanese restaurants all specialising in their own techniques, styles and flavours, and to maki your decision a little easier, we’ve rounded up ten of our absolute favourites just for you.
Transporting the flavours of Japan across the globe and to the heart of the West End is ROBATA. Locked on Old Compton Street, the restaurant uses age old Japanese techniques to prepare, cook and serve, specialising in robata grilled charcoal cooking, a tradition first introduced by ancient fishermen who used boxes of hot coals with them on their adventures to warm their food as they gathered their catch of the day. A few of our favourites from the menu include: their braised short ribs stuffed inside a bao bun with lettuce, pickled daikon, cucumber and chipotle miso; kimchi gyozas stuffed with water chestnut, shitake, spring onion and chilli soy; and of course, their signature dish of wood flames Iberico pork pluma.
With Mayfair brimming with the city’s finest restaurants, it’s no surprise Sakagura is located on the stylish Heddon Street, offering a perfect spot to unwind after a tiresome ol’ week at work. The restaurant itself is inspired by old-style Japanese drinking houses and offers a wild range of Japanese soul food, refreshing beers, and of course, a sophisticated range of cocktails. If you’re after a boozy bottomless brunch, Sakagura has you covered with Japanese spin on the traditional Bloody Mary.
If you know anything about London’s Japanese cuisine scene, it’s that Ichiba is the place to be to grab yourself Japanese staples and kitchen essentials, as well as freshly prepared food. Well, it’s Europe’s largest Japanese food hall so what can you really expect… Nestled inside, you’ll find over 3,000 Japanese products that’ll inspire your cooking, hard to find confectionary and sake, fresh sushi (handmade, of course), noodles and curries. If you go for anything else, you need to ponder over to the dedicated Japanese bakery and cafe, and sample one (or ten) of their dorayaki pancakes. Trust us, they’re fluffy pillows of goodness.
Soy you think you hate tofu? Umu will certainly change you mind. This Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant prides itself on producing innovative Kyoto influenced dishes, and boy, do they succeed! Executive Chef Yoshinori Ishii has brought his 20 years of experience to produce delightfully elegant dishes that Umu is so wonderfully famed for.
Where: 14-16 Bruton Place, London, W1J 6LX, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Oxford Circus (0.5 miles)
One restaurant that needs little introduction is Sexy Fish locked in the heart of Mayfair. As the name suggests, the food takes its inspiration from the seas of Asia, with an emphasis on Japan. And, if whisky is your tipple, wander over to the bar as feast your eyes on the world’s largest Japanese whiskey collection – there’s a staggering 400 bottles (at least!). In terms of fishy wonders, the menu is brimming with the finest maki endeavours, golden gyozas and miso hits that score seriously high on the flavour front.
Where: Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square, London W1J 6BR, UK
Nearest station: Green Park (0.3 miles)
We know nothing would maki your day more than diving into a bucket load of sushi, and at Sumosan Twiga you can do just so. A visit will see you feasting on maki rolls in the form of smoked eel and rock shrimps, and tuna, O-toro, prawn and omelette where the sushi and sashimi is concerned.
When your name is SUSHISAMBA there’s a high chance some high class uramaki will make it onto your plate! Upon entry, you’re elevated to new heights, figuratively and literally, submerged in 360-degree city views that span across to Canary Wharf, the Shard and the Gherkin. The ornate bamboo ceiling itself is enough to draw in crowds. As for food, you’ll gladly strive headfirst into a new culinary inventive bridging Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian cuisine delicately together.
Escape from the bustling shopping hub of Oxford Street and wander over to ROKA Mayfair to enjoy a bite to eat before you hit up the mayhem of the city’s streets once more. At this timeless restaurant, you’ll become engulfed on a culinary journey as you waltz excitedly from robata to sushi, wagyu to tempura, and a wild selection of mochi for pud.
Waltz your way up to the fifth floor of the former Dickins & Jones building and you’ll find yourself encompassed by the glorious views from the Aqua Kyoto restaurant. It’s currently closed for a major refurb until late November but there’s no doubt the menu and aesthetics will leave you wanting to snap up a cheeky video for your Insta stories!
Yen London is a fine-dining Japanese resto that specialises in the beauty of soba (buckwheat) noodles. These wonderful strings of goodness are prepared freshly and served alongside sushi, sashimi, tempura, robata and other traditional Japanese dishes. All of the chefs are experts in the world of Japanese food and have trained across the world, many at Michelin-starred restaurants (so these aren’t any old noodles!).