Our friends and followers on social media and blog know by now our passion for sushi and London hoods where we hang out most. We also had few questions on on which Japanese restaurant in South Kensington: fresh sashimi, innovative cuisines, bottomless brunches, low seating or cool social scene, kids in tow or grown ups only – so here are our picks for various occasions.
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Tested with kids in tow:
1. Kiru – elegant but cosy, we went for an early name day celebration-dinner with our toddler. In Japanese Haiku poetry, kiru is a cutting word that delivers a deeper meaning through division and juxtaposition, greater than the sum of its parts. Meaning as beautiful as the dishes and service. The location is as good as it gets – Elystan Street by Sloane Avenue (my former hood). We read as well glorious reviews of Kiru’s bottomless brunches – for the exquisite dishes reasonably priced at £50pp for three courses plus bottomless drinks and £20pp for those aged 12-years and under plus soft drinks.
2. Maze Grill Park Walk – Gordon Ramsay needs little introduction. Maze Grill Park Walk also needs little introduction with our Chelsea friends – rare breed steaks and impeccable sushi in a casual chic setting with exposed bricks and filled with contemporary cool art. We loved our bottomless brunch couple of weeks ago and R indulged in so much sushi!
3. Yashin Ocean House. The sibling of Yashin without Soy sauce from Argyll street, a cute sushi bar with outstanding Japanese dishes that we fell in love with years ago.
4. Dozo, Brompton road. Low seating (zashiki style) and casual, great food. Gets very crowded at the weekend, so not a good place if you have 2 young kids in tow but totally feasible with just 1 civilised child (at least in our case). Dozo bills itself as a ‘Japanese fine dining restaurant’, though our lunches included strictly bento boxes and sushi sets, so we need to get back for dinner.
5. Sticks and sushi, Kings Road. The newly opened Sticks & sushi branch is spacey and cool, serving all the usual exquisite sushi plates with the Scandi twist.
6. Kulu kulu – no frills Japanese conveyor belt cafe just by South Ken station. It’s cosy and small but perfect for a quick lunch and sushi cravings after South Ken iconic museums.
7. Sakurado – Cafe and sweet shop rather than Japanese restaurant in South Kensington. The flowers and entrance are quite instagramable, the food on the average side. We popped in on a Saturday, despite an okish menu there was no sashimi or any kind of fresh fish to be had. We contented ourselves with cucumber rolls and average prawn tempura. Prosecco and champagne proved a tricky choice, they had to open a couple of bottles to get it right ( or to be more precise I had to help them open a couple of bottles). They may be the new kids on the block on Gloucester road, so let us know if you tested them and had a better outcome.
Grown ups mainly – which Japanese restaurant South Kensington?
1. Dinings SW3. The second Dinings in London, this is a quaint authentic Japanese, which goes well beyond the traditional sushi. We sat at the sushi counter with our friends and watched in awe the chefs labout of love translated into exquisite and mouthwatering little dishes. I loved the double baked aubergine, the tuna brushed vigorously with soya sauce, the black cod, the tacos with salmon and funky twists, the shrimp tempura. The menu is vast and amazing, from sea bass with fresh truffle to smoked eel with yuzu zest – inspiration straight from the traditional fare served in izakayas (informal Japanese pubs).
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2. E&O Kings Road : an establishment by now with its buzzing bar and fabulous pan-Asian menu, along with its sibling E&O Noting Hill. At World’s End end of Chelsea, Eight over Eight design is super-slick, black and white, and with an abundance of oriental lampshades. The wines are superb and reasonably priced – this is the place we keep on going back with various friends, it’s always a great night out and yum dinner.
3. Blakes below Kensington. A Kensington gem, in love with the bar and restaurant of this newly renovated Anoushka Kempel. Whilst this is not a Japanese restaurant South Kensington per se, one has few fresh Japanese options including sashimi platters, black cod, edamame, grilled avocado, yellow tail or tuna tartare and so much more !
Are you happy to go slightly further than South Ken for some outstanding sushi? Kensington street has some fine choices, glam and casual perfectly appropriate for dining with kids: Akira @ Japan House or Sushi & Robata by Genji?
Or should one find himself in Knightsbridge: Zuma needs no introduction – an institution with outstanding food as well as glam and fun social scene. I am still to take the young ones in here, I’ve been rather selfish and kept it to myself and friends!