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Tokiya Japanese restaurant Clapham Junction London
Dec 22nd, 2009 by Olivier

Japanese restaurant sushi bar Tokiya
74 Battersea Rise
London SW11 1EH

Tokiya

Tokiya is one of my favourite restaurants in London. The food has always been excellent, its atmoshere is relaxed and it is truly an authentic Japanese restaurant: the chef has over 30 years of experience as a Sushi chef and he was trained in Sapporo, Hokkaido.

We ordered the agedashi tofu (deep fried tofu with tempura sauce – £3.80),  the Prawn tempura roll (5 pieces of deep fried prawn tempura with mayonnaise – £5.00), the nabeyaki udon (white udon noodle with deep fried tempura on pot – £12.00) and the Tokiya special dinner box (assorted sushi, sashimi,spinach sesame,salmon teriyaki,chicken katsu, dobin mushi – £28).

Agedashi tofu

Agedashi tofu

Prawn tempura roll

Prawn tempura roll

The agedashi tofu was its usual high standard, with a lightly crispy outside and firm inner. The prawn tempura roll was also excellent. Tokiya is one of the few Japanese restaurants in London that cooks the prawn tempura fresh in order to make your sushi – nothing is pre-prepared here!  The end result is wonderfully fresh and flavoursome.

Tokiya Special Dinner Box

Tokiya Special Dinner Box

In details

In details

In details

The Tokiya Special Dinner Box is the most expensive of their set meal costing £28 which might appear expensive considering the location of the restaurant not far from Clapham Junction train station but actually you do get quite a lot for your money, and the quality was high. The assorted sushi and sashimi were very fresh and great. The salmon teriyaki was perfectly cooked and not overdone with teriyaki sauce as it happens often in “fake” Japanese restaurants, the chicken katsu was very nice too, crispy and light as made with real Japanese bread crumbs (panko). Really a nice set meal. I would gladly take it again despite the too large amount of food (even for me, and I am not a small eater).

The dobin mushi soup coming with the Dinner Box

Another view

Another view

The dobin mushi is a soup with mushroom, fish cake, spring onion and prawns as you can see on the photos above. It is part of that huge dinner box. It was delicious and very welcome with this icy forecast.

Nabeyaki Udon

The nabeyaki udon arrived steaming hot. This dish is fantastic for winter evenings and, thanks to the hot metal pot it arrives in, stays piping hot right to the finish. Along with tempura shrimps & vegetables, this dish has an egg poaching away inside it, which lets you choose how much to let it cook before eating.

The dessert

The dessert

Cost and conclusion: it was £53 with no “optional service charge” added to the bill which is nice and unusual in London. The service was nice, the meal excellent so a very good value for money. Certainly my favourite Japanese restaurant in London! Highly recommended.

Tokiya Sushi Bar on Urbanspoon

Saki II Japanese restaurant South Kensington London
Dec 18th, 2009 by Olivier

Saki II Japanese restaurant
53 Old Brompton Road, South Kensington
London, SW7 3JS

Japanese restaurant Saki II

Saki II

Saki II

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

Surf & Turf set

Beef teriyaki and prawn tempura

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

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

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.

Saki II on Urbanspoon

Chameleon Japanese Restaurant Singapore
Dec 5th, 2009 by Olivier

Chameleon Japanese Restaurant
11 Unity Street #01-17
Singapore 237995

Chameleon Japanese Restaurant

Chameleon Japanese restaurant

Chameleon Japanese restaurant

Chameleon Japanese restaurant

Chameleon Japanese restaurant

The Chameleon restaurant is located behind the Robertson Walk shopping complex, one of several restaurants on a large square that is also accessible from the river walk behind. The square is patrolled by marketers who do their best to draw you into the restaurants (be warned if you’re just browsing), but don’t seem to be affiliated to any particular one.

We chose this place for a restaurant mainly for speed and proximity to our hotel, and the Chameleon as its Japanese menu looked quite good.

Tori kara age

Tori kara age

Looking just for some quick food, I chose tori kara age and a grapefruit juice. As you can see from the picture, the serving was fairly generous and came with a slice of lemon on the side. The chicken pieces had a slightly spicy coating and were just a little bit too dry for my taste, but otherwise inoffensive. The grapefruit juice was very good – not too sweet and with a nice amount of ice.

Cost & Conclusion: I was not the one to pay the bill. The service was friendly and prompt. Overall I would say the food here was uninspiring, but generally inoffensive. An acceptable alternative if you’re in the area and want something quick.

Other photos:

The Park Hotel Clarke Quay located close to the restaurant

The Park Hotel Clarke Quay located close to the restaurant

Robertson Walk shopping complex - Fraser Place

Robertson Walk shopping complex - Fraser Place

Z’en Japanese Cuisine Singapore 238275
Dec 3rd, 2009 by Olivier

Z’en Japanese Cuisine
#01-75 UE Square
205 River Valley Road
Singapore 238275

Z’en Japanese Cuisine

Z'en Japanese Cuisine in Singapore

Z'en Japanese Cuisine in Singapore

Having arrived in Singapore in the morning, and spent the afternoon in business meetings, we decided to eat quickly at Z’en Japanese Cuisine restaurant that evening. In fact we chose this restaurant mainly for its proximity to our hotel, as we were quite tired by that point. The choice turned out to be quite a good one though. I ordered a plate of tempura shrimp and vegetables. As you can see from the picture, it was a very generous plate!

Tempura

Tempura

Close-up

Close-up

The tempura was very nicely done – crispy and not at all greasy. The vegetables were perhaps just a little undercooked though, being a bit too crunchy. Besides that small complaint, it was a decent meal and served quickly as hoped. To drink, I had a grapefruit juice which was served with a good amount of ice and, happily, was not over-sweet.

Cost & conclusion: I was not the one who paid the bill. The service was friendly and quick, and the surroundings quite pleasant (we ate outside on the terrace, enjoying the warm Singapore evening). Worth a try if you’re in the area.

Samourai Japanese restaurant rue Fossé-aux-loups 1000 Brussels
Oct 25th, 2009 by Olivier

Samourai Japanese restaurant
28 rue Fossé-aux-loups
1000 Brussels, Belgium
Open from 12:00 to 14:00 and from 19:00 to 21:00
Closed on Sunday lunch time and on Tuesday.

Samourai Japanese restaurant

Good green tea

Good green tea

Samourai is a Japanese restaurant located at 28 Fossé-aux-loups in Brussels. It is about 5 minutes walk from the Grand Place and the nearest metro station is de Brouckère. It is rated 16/20 and a heart at Gault Millau restaurant guide and has a good reputation amongst the Japanese community here. Well, Samourai has been here since 1975 so it is pretty well known. I had eaten there several times when I lived in Brussels so this is a kind of revisit after many years.

Bento box

Bento box

The decor inside has not really changed, everything is minimalist, sober but quite nice too. We ordered two Bento boxes with some green tea. The bento box was quite complete with sushi, sashimi, tempura, teriyaki chicken. It was nicely presented and the food was tasteful.

Cost and conclusion: it was 60 euros for two people. We enjoyed the meals which were excellent but I still feel it was overpriced despite the good quality. Could be because I got used to the good value for money in Japanese restaurants in London. Recommended if you are in the area and really want to eat Japanese food. If not, eat Japanese in London at Tokiya or Hazuki for example.


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