Saki II Japanese restaurant
53 Old Brompton Road, South Kensington
London, SW7 3JS
It was so windy and icy that we needed to stop and eat despite it being a very early time for dinner (it was about 6pm!). The closest restaurant around was the Japanese restaurant Saki II. That’s how we discovered it.
It is not very large inside, the decoration is sober with some frames explaining the different sorts of sushi on the wall. The tables are long canteen style so you will be probably sharing your table when it gets busy. We were the only people when we arrived.
We ordered the Age Dashi Tofu (deep fried tofu – £3), the Chicken Karaagi set (chicken marinated in soya sauce served with Miso soup, rice,salad, pickles and dessert – £7.80) and the Surf & Turf set (beef teriyaki and prawn tempura served with Miso soup, rice, salad, pickles and dessert – £14.80). As drinks we had a Kirin beer and a green tea.
Surf & Turf set
Beef teriyaki and prawn tempura
The beef teriyaki was good but on the small side. The prawn tempura were not good as they were undercooked unfortunately. Some of the prawns were a little on the raw side. As pickles it was a few slices of carrots and cucumber… I had expected “real” Japanese pickles instead.
Age dashi tofu
The age dashi tofu was decent, if a little lacking in flavour. There isn’t a great deal more that can be said about this dish, as it was generally inoffensive but equally uninspiring.
Chicken kara age set
The same cannot be said for the chicken kara age set, which was plain nasty. I have never had such a variation – the chicken (of which the portion was thankfully very small) was liberally coated in a dry, almost powdery batter that had the most peculiar and not very pleasant flavour. It was also very salty, suggesting it had been marinated in a very cheap soy sauce. This is a dish that should be moist and tender, made with decent sized bits of thigh meat. But it certainly wasn’t the case at Saki, where the chicken was difficult to spot inside the strange textured batter, and even more difficult to taste. Really, the strangest and nastiest variation I think I can recall ever having. The rest of the set wasn’t too good either – from a plain and uninspriring salad (bits of lettuce with a sprinkling of grated carrot a small slice of tomato on top), a small portion of non-sticky rice, and a few little sticks of vegetables, it really wasn’t a great meal and certainly not authentic japanese. The miso soup and orange were OK – but hardly enough to turn the overall meal around.
Cost and conclusion: it was £33.60 service charge included. It was “Japanese” food but it really did not feel authentic. I am not lucky lately trying new restaurants in London! It is like playing Russian roulette but with more than one chamber loaded. There is another “Japanese” restaurant also around South Kensington called Little Japan that I also do not recommend. If you are into Japanese food, I recommend Tokiya but it is near Clapham Junction. In the South Kensington area, the only restaurant I know and like is the French restaurant “La Bouchée” across the road.